Vasquez reacts to Eubank Jr. training with Virgil Hunter
By Trevor McIntyre: Nate Vasquez, the recent trainer that worked Chris Eubank Jr’s corner for his victory over James DeGale last February, thinks it’s a bad idea for him to be switching trainers frequently, and he doesn’t know if it’s going to be a good fit for him to be training with Virgil Hunter in the United States.
Eubank Jr. (28-2, 21 KOs) is reportedly training with Hunter in Hayward, California for a 2-week trial basis to see if he gel with him to possibly have him as his new trainer. Hunter is the guy that trained former two-division world champion and Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward his entire career. Hunter is a trainer that a lot of fighters have sought out. Vasquez thinks that it won’t work for Eubank Jr. to try and make big changes to his natural fighting style at this point in his career. He’s almost 30, and he’s been a pressure fighter since he turned pro in 2011. Vasquez has been trying to improve Eubank Jr’s defense, and get him to use his jab more and throw combinations, which he did quite effectively in his 12 round unanimous decision win over former IBF super middleweight champion Jame DeGale on February 23 in their fight at the O2 Arena, in London, England. Eubank Jr. won that fight by the scores 114-111, 115-111 and 117-108.
“I don’t know if jumping trainers will help him,” Vasquez said to skysports.com. “You can’t learn if you’re jumping trainers from time to time. If you go from trainer to trainer to trainer, it’s not good…I don’t think Virgil Hunter will leave California. is style isn’t meant to be a boxer like Roy Jones Jr or Andre Ward.”
You can argue that it would be a good change for Eubank Jr. to be with a guy like Virgil Hunter. It would take Eubank Jr. out England for his training camps, and put him in an environment in the Bay Area in California where he could dedicate himself to learning from Hunter. It would be a good change. There would be a lot for Eubank Jr. to soak up in terms of boxing knowledge that he would need to learn from Hunter. Ward was with Hunter since he was a teenager. He had a lot of years to learn from him, and a massive amount of determination to help find success. To get the most out of training with Hunter, Eubank Jr. would need tunnel vision, and total dedication. Whether that’s possible for him to do at this point is unclear.
Hunter had the perfect pupil in Ward all those years. He was teaching him stuff, and Ward was listening and following his instructions. Eubank Jr. would need to be just as good a pupil, if not better, than Ward for him to get the most out of being with Hunter. What’s working against Eubank Jr. is his age. He’s got a lot to learn in a short period of time for him to raise his game high enough for him to be able to compete with the elite level fighters at super middleweight like Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders, David Benavidez and Caleb Plant. Those fighters all have a good foundation, unlike Eubank Jr., who is still very raw at this point in his career.
It’s not going to work for Eubank Jr. if he thinks he’s going to be able to get Hunter to leave his gym in Hayward to come to England to train him each time. Hunter has too many other fighters that he needs to train year round, and he can’t leave his gym each time Eubank Jr. wants to get ready for a fight. That kind of situation might not even work if Eubank Jr. had the kind of money Floyd Mayweather Jr. possessed. Hunter has other fighters that he’s not going to ignore and go off to England for two to three months two to three times per year to get Eubank Jr. ready for his fights. If Eubank Jr. isn’t willing to come over to the United States to train with Hunter in the Bay Area in California each time he fights, then it’s not going to work.
If Eubank Jr’s dad, Chris Eubank Sr., comes over to the U.S for all of his training camps with Hunter, that might not work either. Hunter won’t be able to train Eubank Jr. if his father Eubank Sr. is there giving his input and making things difficult for Virgil to do his job correctly. Vasquez says Eubank Sr. was there during the DeGale fight, trying to give advice in between rounds while he was giving instructions. “On the night he squeezed into the corner. He was trying to tell Chris Jr stuff but Chris Jr said, ‘Quiet, I’m listening to Nate,'” Vasquez said about Eubank Sr. trying to give advice during the DeGale fight. Hunter would need to make it clear what he expects out of Eubank Jr. during training camp and during the fights for him to avoid having to compete with his father when it comes to giving instructions to him.
Eubank Jr. has won his last two fights since losing to George Groves in the final of the World Boxing Super Series final last year in February. Groves beat Eubank Jr. on skill rather on size and power. Eubank Jr. didn’t have the boxing ability to compete with the better schooled Groves in that fight. Since then, Eubank Jr. has beaten JJ McDonagh and DeGale. Neither of those fighters are anywhere near the elite in the super middleweight division. For Eubank Jr. to beat the top level fighters at 168, like Benavidez, Callum Smith, Plant, Saunders and Saul Canelo Alvarez, he’s got to improve his game to the point where he can box these guys instead of brawling. Eubank Jr. likely won’t do well in going to war with sluggers like Benavidez and Callum. Those fighters are just so big and powerful. It would be a bad idea for Eubank Jr. to try and beat them in the same way he did DeGale, McDonagh and Avni Yildirim.