By Scott Gilfoid: Chris Eubank Jr. is targeting former IBF super middleweight champion James ‘Chunky’ DeGale for a possible opponent for his next fight following his embarrassingly substandard performance in losing a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision to WBA Super World super middleweight champion George Groves last Saturday night in the World Boxing Super Series semifinals at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Eubank Jr. said at the post-fight press conference that he will take any avenue that he must for him to win a world title at 168. He also said a move back down to the 160 lb. weight division is also a possibility for him. Eubank Jr. says there are good fights for him at middleweight. Indeed, there are some very good fights for Eubank Jr. at middleweight if he’s willing to take them against the likes of Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin, Saul Canelo Alvarez, Daniel Jacobs, Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Jermall Charlo. Those guys might be too seasoned for Eubank Jr., who looked quite amateurish last night. The top fighters at 160 know how to fight, and they would likely beat him even worse than Groves did. It could be career over if Eubank Jr. fights any of those guys.
Eubank Jr. says he wants to get a title shot any way he can, and he feels that the 32-year-old recently beaten DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) is his best bet for making that happen. Eubank Jr. might not have been keeping up on the news, but DeGale lost his IBF 168 lb. title to the heavy-handed American Caleb Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) by a 12 round majority decision on December 9 at the Copper Box Arena in London, England. After kicking around the idea of possibly retiring from boxing, DeGale decided he wants a rematch with Truax. DeGale has a rematch clause in his contract for the title defense against Traux, so he’s just waiting for that fight to take place. Eubank Jr. is not going to be getting a fight against DeGale anytime soon. In fact, DeGale called him a “hype job” last Saturday night after his loss to Groves.
Here’s what DeGale said about Eubank Jr. on his Twitter:
”You are the biggest hype job I’ve never known. You and your father (Chris Eubank Sr.) going around telling people you are a killer! You should be very embarrassed. Now go crawl back under your rock. @ChrisEubankJr @ChrisEubank. Even after my last performance, he doesn’t deserve to be in the ring. Hype job!”
Speaking about Groves’ win over Eubank Jr., DeGale said, ”Yes, good performance [from Groves], but who did he fight? An untested hype job!”
So, there it is. DeGale has branded the 28-year-old Eubank Jr. as an “untested hype job.” I’d like to make one correction on what DeGale says about Eubank Jr. being untested. He actually was tested against Billy Joe Saunders in 2014, and he came up wanting in losing a 12 round decision. So, Eubank Jr. WAS tested before his fight last Saturday night against Groves, and he came up a failure. The only thing Eubank Jr. did after that was pad his record against marginal opposition to give the appearance that he’d turned his career around, but the fact of the matter is he hadn’t.
Eubank Jr. beat these fighters after his loss to Saunders:
• Dmitri Chudinov
• Tony Jeter
• Gary O’Sullivan
• Nick Blackwell
• Tom Doran
• Renold Quinlan
• Arthur Abraham
• Avni Yildirim
Those are not the best fighters at 160 and 168. Abraham had been a champion at super middleweight, but he was past it by the time he fought Eubank Jr. As for the rest of those guys, they’re not quality fighters. O’Sullivan is probably the best of the bunch, but he’s not a top 5 talent at 160.
“I’m going to take whatever route I can take to win a world title,” Eubank Jr. ”The man who George beat – James DeGale – he’s out there. That’s a potential fight for me and there are some great fights out there at middleweight, so it’s just a case of which one we can get first.”
Eubank Jr. needs to be very, very selective for his next fight if he doesn’t want his boxing career to royally implode on him. Another loss for Eubank Jr. and it could be over with for him. We’re talking Jeff Lacy type of career end. Who can forget the hype that Jeff ‘Left Hook’ Lacy had with his career going into his fight with Joe Calzaghe in March 2006. Lacy’s career was never the same after he was schooled by Calzaghe in losing a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision. Eubank Jr. might be in the same boat if he loses his next fight to the likes of DeGale. Heck, Eubank Jr. might already be done as a fighter anyway. The loss to Groves was the equivalent of the job Calzaghe did on Lacy. If not for Groves dislocating his shoulder in the 12th, he would have likely finished the fight as strong as Calzaghe did against Lacy.
DeGale might agree to fight Eubank Jr. after he faces Truax in a rematch, but probably not before that. DeGale wants to avenge his loss to Truax first. He’s got to avenge the loss, because it’s not the type of defeat that DeGale can walk away from without trying to get even.
Eubank Jr. came into the Groves fight last Saturday on a high with him having recently destroyed little known Avni Yildirim in a 3rd round knockout in their quarterfinals match in the World Boxing Super Series October. Instead of the boxing public looking at Yildirim as a fighter who the WBC should have never ranked in the top 15 in the first place, they got on board the Eubank Jr. hype train and started viewing him as a guy that could win the WBSS tournament and rule the super middleweight division with an iron fist. It was only people like myself who saw how flawed Eubank Jr. was as a fighter and told the boxing fans that it was going to end badly for him against Groves. Sure enough, I was right. I hate to say it but I was right in my analysis of Eubank Jr. I’m not predicting his career will be over with if he tangles with any of the talents at middleweight like Golovkin, Canelo, Jacobs, Derevyanchenko or Charlo. If Eubank Jr. fights WBO champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, Callum Smith or Juergen Braehmer, I see him losing to them too. Eubank Jr. just isn’t good enough for that level. Eubank Jr. can beat the Yildirim type opponents, but not the fighters that have talent.
Here are some of the excuses Eubank Jr. made for losing to Groves last Saturday:
• “George head-butted me a lot in that fight and I don’t know how he didn’t get points taken away from him.”
• “I couldn’t see out of my right eye for pretty much all of the fight and that affected my style. I had to resort to loading up because every time he would move to my right I couldn’t see him.”
• “When you are fighting a man, who is over a stone heavier than you, you feel it. You feel it in the punches and in the clinches.”
It’s unfortunate that Eubank Jr. couldn’t give Groves, 29, credit for a job well done for beating him. Eubank Jr. sounded like a spoiled sport after the fight, complaining about head-butts that he initiated, and bellyaching about Groves being heavier than him. It was so sad, Eubank Jr. sounding like a poor sport.