Chris Eubank Jr: The Time for Talk Is Over
By Ben Sutherland – The Eubanks have always been a unique, quirky and controversial duo. Eubank Sr in particular, who is never afraid to make his feelings known, has always been very strongly opinionated. This propensity to talk hasn’t been backed up.
They called out Golovkin. There was some interest from Golovkin and his team who until recently had been very much avoided. However, after contracts were drawn up, Eubank lost his pen. The Eubanks, despite blatantly being the B side in negotiations claimed “they weren’t yes men” and wanted a fair shake. Clearly if they had genuinely wanted to fight Golovkin “the funny business” in the contracts wouldn’t have been a problem for Eubank Jr who would’ve seen his largest pay day ever and by far and away his highest profile fight. They decided to forgo this opportunity and instead decided to defend the British title against the much lesser known Tom Doran.
They claimed their “corner doesn’t own towels” following Kell Brook stopping prematurely in the Golovkin fight due to a fractured eye socket – a potentially blinding and career ending injury. This was the same fighter that then pulled out of a standard British title defense with what was essentially tennis elbow. Not to mention that the inappropriate comments came just months after Nick Blackwell had received life-threatening damage to his brain during their encounter which had been drawn out longer than necessary.
Eubank Sr claims his son is the next Floyd Mayweather. Enjoying to talk are where the Mayweather comparisons end. Senior also claimed his son would “wreck” Andre Ward. The evidence for this outlandish claim is pretty non-existent. A loss against Billy Joe Saunders has been his only real high profile fight. Saunders wasn’t a world champion at the time and since winning his WBO title, he has hardly been a stellar champion, also ducking the Golovkin fight and looking pretty poor in his last outing against Arthur Akavov whom he fought in a Scottish leisure center.
Junior parades around his IBO title that he won against Renold Quinlan as though he is the unified super middle-weight champion of the world. In what was arguably the least worthy pay per view fight of 2017 thus far, it took Eubank far too long to stop the no name 11-1 Australian. He then claimed his newly won title was the ticket to the other big names out there, namely Golovkin, Canelo, Saunders, Degale and Groves.
It is becoming abundantly clear that the Eubanks are targeting the casual boxing fan, especially ITV’s viewership. To some, including promoter Frank Warren, they are “conning the public”. Their attempt to convince the public that the IBO world title is legitimate and a ticket to the big leagues is proof enough.
Senior’s constant insistence that his own boxing career and his fighting mindset have been paramount in building Junior into a “world beater” is hardly compelling evidence of Junior’s potential to top the world rankings any time soon. Senior was a good fighter but he was far from unbeatable: losing twice to Steve Collins, twice to Carl Thompson and also losing by unanimous decision to Joe Calzaghe. He perhaps looks back on his career through rose tinted glasses. He recently claimed Junior’s development is finished and he is going to step back. This new proclamation comes amidst criticisms that Senior is too involved in his son’s career and it is starting to have a detrimental effect.
In fairness, their next move in fighting Arthur Abraham is a smart one. Abraham is 37 and running out of gas but carries with him a world class reputation. The three-time two weight world champion no longer carries the punching power he once did when he stepped into the ring with the likes of Carl Froch, Jermaine Taylor and Andre Ward. Therefore, he still offers a high profile name without the accompanying risk.
In the latest fanfare, boxing purists cringed as Mark Pougatch presided over one of the shoddiest press conferences we have seen for some time. ITV is clearly still in the early stages of their foray into boxing and its showing. Senior once again played a far too significant part in proceedings whilst Junior made bold predictions about knocking Abraham out. Despite Senior’s claims that this is a pay per view fight, it most certainly isn’t. Eddie Hearn took criticism for Joshua v Whyte with an undercard featuring Eubank being pay per view worthy, and this pales in comparison.
Despite all this, I like Junior. His aggressive fighting style and high volume punch combinations make him an exciting fighter to watch. He is talented, he can talk and has the added cache and storyline of his surname. But this talk has to start being backed up. He can’t afford to alienate the boxing purists any more than he already has. If he comes through Abraham unscathed then he needs a big fight next. Degale seems like the obvious choice but he could be set for a possible unification clash with Groves. Khurtsidze just had to pull out of the Billy Joe Saunders, freeing Saunders up for a high profile rematch. Jamie Cox is another option, he is less of a name but the mouth waters at the possibility of a domestic dust up with the 22-0 up and comer. Callum Smith presents another possibility but Hearn has gone on record saying he is probably pursuing the WBC route.
The Eubanks have arrived at a pivotal point. The talk has given them a platform and significant publicity. It is time to cash that in with some fights worthy of the hype. Controversy and being disliked don’t matter. Boxing needs characters like this and at the end of the day, the villains still get paid. Eubank has developed a lot over the last couple of years but the apprenticeship is now over. If he comes through Abraham on July 15th, which I think he will, I want to see him finally step up rather than just talking about it. Is he the real deal? Only time will tell. But there is no doubt he is capable of winning a legitimate world title.