By Trevor McIntyre: Chris Eubank Jr. says he wants the “big names” at middleweight and super middleweight following his conclusive 12 round unanimous decision win over former IBF 168 lb champion James ‘Chunky’ DeGale last Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, UK. Eubank Jr. won the IBO super middleweight title with the victory. He now wants to win world titles.
The biggest money fight out there for Eubank Jr. would be against superstar Saul Canelo Alvarez, who holds world titles at 160 and 168 at this time. However, Canelo is already scheduled for a unification fight on May 4 against Danny Jacobs, and after that, he could be facing Gennady Golovkin. If Eubank Jr. wants to fight one of the middleweight champions, he would need to face either WBA ‘regular’ champion Rob Brant or WBO champion Demetrius Andrade.
Despite the 33-year-old DeGale (25-3-1, 15 KOs) looking far past the prime of his career the entire 12-round contest, Eubank Jr. (28-2, 21 KOs) is calling the win his “career” best victory.
Eubank Jr. might be right about that, though, considering that the next best win for Eubank Jr. on his eight-year resume is a victory over 37-year-old Arthur Abraham in 2017, who was nowhere near the prime of his career when that bout took place.
“This was the career-defining fight for me. This was make or break, do or die like I said in the build-up,” Eubank Jr. said to Fighthub. “I had to win, I had to make a statement.”
Eubank Jr. came out ahead on the scorecards by the scores 114-112, 115-112 and 117-109. Eubank Jr. knocked DeGale down twice in the fight in canvasing him in rounds 2 and 10. Eubank Jr. made a mental error that cost him a point in the 11th round when he picked DeGale up and flipped him on the canvas. It was lucky DeGale wasn’t injured with that wrestling throw, otherwise Eubank Jr. might have been disqualified.
“A little break and then straight back on it,” Eubank Jr. said. “I want to challenge for world titles, I want to fight the big names, whether that’s in the middleweight or super middleweight division, I’m not really too bothered. I can make both weights. So it’s kind of whatever’s put in front of me, whatever the best route is I will take,” Eubank Jr. said.
It was unquestionably a mistake for Eubank Jr. to move out of the middleweight division when he did in 2017 in moving up in weight to challenge International Boxing Organization super middleweight champion Renold Quinlan for his belt. Eubank Jr. beat Quinlan by a 10th round knockout, but it wasn’t a big name opponent that he needed to take his career to the next level. Had Eubank Jr. stayed at middleweight, he could have challenged IBF/WBA/WBO champion Gennady Golovkin for his titles or he could have fought Daniel Jacobs. Those were both fights that were available to him, which he never took. Since moving up to super middleweight, Eubank Jr. has fought these fighters: Renold Quinlan, Arthur Abraham, George Groves, Avni Yildirim, JJ McDonagh and James DeGale.
If Eubank Jr. chooses to stay at super middleweight, his options for potential big fights are against these guys:
– Saul Canelo Alvarez
– Anthony Dirrell
– Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez
– Caleb Plant
Only the fight against Canelo Alvarez would be considered to be a big fight. Plant would be a decent level fight, but there would scant interest in a match between Eubank Jr. and Dirrell or Ramirez.
These are the options for Eubank Jr. if he moves back down to middleweight:
– Gennady Golovkin
– Saul Canelo Alvarez
– Rob Plant
– Demetrius Andrade
– Jermall Charlo