It was all going to plan - and then in the eighth round - bang!
George Groves’s hopes of a world title crumbled to the canvas with a devastating blow from Carl Froch, just as the Hammersmith challenger was starting to dominate the world title fight at Wembley.
A devastating right hand buckled Groves as his legs folded underneath him.
Most boxers would have stayed where they were, hurt and done for. The tough west Londoner attempted to struggle to his feet, but referee Charlie Fitch wasn’t even counting. He held Groves in his arms, but just long enough to tell him it was all over.
It was a sad way to end an incredible journey to the biggest pay day of his career.
Over the previous two rounds, Groves had regained early momentum and was clearly the better boxer.
The first round was a cagey affair in contrast to last November’s sensational first-round put down by Groves.
But the second was more like the promised war as the two got in a headlock and Froch palmed the west Londoner to the canvas. The referee told both off. Froch for the obvious; and Groves for punches to the back of the head.
The third was the best to date.
Froch and Groves exchanged telling head blows before the Hammersmith hammer dented Froch’s jaw.
Body shots from the Nottingham champion got a reply from a Groves right to the side of the face in the fourth, but a flurry of blows in the fifth needed all the skills of the former Dale Youth fighter to escape and fight on.
Groves had a better sixth, but a worrying nick appeared under his left eye.
However, the left in the seventh that rocked Froch back on his heels was the challenger’s best of the fight so far. Another crashing exchange seconds later had 80,000 on their feet.
Groves was still taking it to the champion, but it only needs one blow - and Froch’s iron fist means the wait for a first global west London champion in 53 years goes on.