SAINT George Groves looks a little vulnerable when you look at him eye to eye.

He has a wide open face and a moon-like eyebrows which frame his pale blue eyes and his mouth rests in a natural smile.

However, when he turns to the side his profile shows what he is. A fighter, his nose is flattened and he looks like he has had frying pan smashed into his face on a daily basis.

He obviously is a tough guy and like Marlon Brando, James Dean and Robert De Niro he has that very rare quality – a hard man who can at a moment can seem vulnerable.

Out of his depth even. Perhaps that is why, despite an outstanding amateur career, he has always been underestimated by boxing's big names in and out the ring.

Frank Warren signed him up so his star fighter James DeGale could wipe the floor with him on the way to a world title.

However, Groves did not read the script and set about upsetting the apple cart. Groves was painted as the arrogant wind up merchant and DeGale the Rolls-Royce nice guy, anyone who has met both men will tell you it's the other way round (the same with Froch too).

In one of the fights of the year he beat the gold medallist.

A defeat at which DeGale has never recovered.

History repeated itself when Eddie Hearn signed him up for a few fights so his premier charge Carl Froch would have an easy world title bout as he wound his career down whilst avoiding Andre Ward.

Groves would be an easy pay day for Eddie and Carl. But Groves is not one for other people's best laid plans. At the weigh-in before the Froch fight everyone laughed at the Londoner's prediction of putting the champion down in the first round. Without a manager, a promoter whose deal had days left, and without Adam Booth, his trainer for years, Groves looked all alone. It was him against the world.

The press had written him off and the crowd booed him into the ring.

However, that first round tag which floored Froch changed everything. Suddenly the big mouth had big balls, he then set about schooling the champion. His footwork made Froch look like a slugger from a bygone era. He was fighting in straight lines.

Groves was fighting diagonally.

Again and again speed wrong footed the champion who had written him as an upstart not fit to share the ring with him.

The crowd sided with Groves as it became apparent he was fighting two people in the ring. Froch and the ref Howard Foster. Froch was allowed to foul, over and over again.

Punching after the break, attempting low blows, Froch was hanging on but then Groves began to make mistakes, a showboat to many and the champion began to connect.

Then in one of the worst decisions ever in a British ring Howard Foster gave Groves a headlock and stopped the fight, and robbed everyone the chance of seeing its natural conclusion.

Speaking at an event in Birmingham George's quiet rage over that decision was clear to see.

He said: "In the build up Froch was painted as this unbelievable warrior who comes strong at the end of the fight and I was George with a glass chin, and unfortunately the referee bought into that."

The behind the scenes horse trading before and after the fight demonstrates how Groves and his mercurial trainer Paddy Fitzgerald were facing an uphill struggle. Before the fight they had flagged up Froch's propensity to foul if in trouble and the importance of not believing the hype. It came to nothing.

After the fight the battle for a rematch was on. And it took a trip to New York to get it.

George said: "I had to do so much research into the psychology of big decisions in sport as we had to put our case to the IBF that the referee got it totally wrong.

"After the interview we sat down with three international referees and they pressed play on the video all of them sat back and said: "WHOA!"

"They said straight away it was not the way you referee and world championship fight, perhaps Howard had a terrible night or something else but it was a massive relief to see the IBF's reaction, they demanded a rematch straight away."

So George got his rematch, and the fight is now being billed as the biggest fight in British boxing history. 80,000 people will see the two men battle it out for both belts again.

Just as the calm Londoner got under Froch's skin the first time he has been at it again. Solving a Rubik cube as the Nottingham man spoke during a press conference was a sneaky psychological punch telling Froch and the world - "I'm cleverer than this man, and he knows it."

In his corner is Irishman Paddy Fitzpatrick. He of the hats. He always looks the smartest man in the press conferences.

After leaving friend and mentor Adam Booth due to the trainers inability to commit to Groves timetable and attention Paddy was brought in.

The trainer and the charge have quickly forged a great relationship.

Paddy said: "I enjoy his company, we discuss things, I have no interest in the whole celebrity thing.

“Some people were born to be great, and some people were born to help other people be great, I am here to help George be great."

And his star man has fitted in with the rest of his gym.

He said: “There is no hoopla about it, he doesn't demand any hoopla when he walks in, he trains with the kids.”

When asked about tactics about the second fight Paddy said without a smile: "No-one believes me but it will be like Hagler v Hearns all over again."

As if the fight was not mouthwatering enough.

George has been on the radar of boxing fans for years but the Froch fight, and its injustice propelled him to a different level of stardom.

Letting out a goofy grin he said: "After the Degale fight I got a lot of recognition but after the Froch fight it was a different level. It went crazy, women as well as men now are asking for pictures.

"I was in John Lewis buying a frying pan, guy came up about my age and asked for a picture, and then his wife came and asked for one too."

George, who lives with is schoolteacher wife, is learning that the public want a piece of him.

"It is nice being recognised, it can be awkward at times, a packed journey on the Piccadilly Line can be a difficult."

And then there is social media, Groves generation of sportsmen and women are the first to have grown up with the internet.

He said: "I use Twitter but you can't as a professional sportsman take it too seriously, you post one thing and within five minutes there are people calling you an idiot and saying they hope you get knocked out.

"None of these people have even got in a ring so it can't be taken seriously."

With age on his side Groves knows the world is his oyster, he has eyes on global domination, but he would not put it that way.

He simply says: "I will be world champion after the Froch fight and then I don't plan on not being world champion."