Chris Eubank Jr has everything and nothing – a supreme athlete packaged up as a frustrating boxer.
What the 28-year-old possesses in raw athleticism, he negates entirely by lacking the boxing brain or strategy to apply his undoubted talent.
He has all the tools. Granite chin? Check. Blurring speed? For sure. Great engine? Absolutely.
Eubank should be a great boxer, not just a good one and yet whenever he steps up to the elite-level bracket, the result is the same – a vexatious failure.
Against George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series semi-final in Manchester on Saturday, Eubank was all trigger and no bullet as he fell to a convincing unanimous decision defeat.
Granted, Groves deserves tremendous credit for a virtuoso performance in defending his WBA super-middleweight strap.
It was arguably the 29-year-old’s most impressive display to date, his world-class jab and ring generalship outfoxing his former sparring partner. He anticipated every wild shot, so easy they were to read, Eubank may as well have sent his playbook the night before.
But Eubank, wasn’t outfought, far from it, he was simply out-thought. His shot selection was extremely finite as he loaded up on left-hooks and uppercuts and while Eubank’s head movement is excellent, it’s cancelled out by his awkward footwork which repeatedly left him off balance.
What he did well hardly penetrated his Brit rival’s defence and the power offered in return tested his fortitude with potential knockdowns missed by the referee in rounds two and 10.
Perhaps he is in the wrong weight class with Groves reportedly rehydrating to almost a stone heavier than Eubank.
But even if he does journey back down to middle, he should regardless consider finding the right trainer because the current set-up is as bizarre as it is ineffectual.
While he works under the watchful gaze of his father, Chris Sr, and Ronnie Davies, Eubank Jr is the man in charge, governed by his own ego.
The lack of direction is translating to the canvas and the only hope now is his skill won’t be wasted. Indeed, it’s a now-or-never situation to change either his mindset or coaching set-up and although he took the defeat like a man, at 28 and in his prime, it’s about time he grew up.
“He didn’t perform,” Eubank’s father said. “He’s a lot better than what you saw. He was just loading up, that’s the cold hard truth of it. He’s a good fighter but he didn’t show it.”
Eubank pointed to a gaping cut suffered from an accidental headbutt in the early rounds as reasoning for his wild night as he revealed: “I couldn’t see out of my right eye for pretty much most of the fight.
“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. I would just throw big punches.”
Fighting blind doesn’t necessarily account for fighting stupid, but his bravery can not be denied. The same can be said of Groves who was immobilised in the final session after reportedly dislocating his shoulder.
“I haven’t diagnosed it yet but it feels pretty sore,” Groves said in the ring afterwards.
“I wasn’t going to let anything beat me. I’ve boxed on with cuts, broken jaws, everything. Here, I wasn’t going to let any injury get me out. It was about who wanted it most I think and I obviously wanted it most.”
Groves, providing his injury doesn’t prevent him, will face either Callum Smith or Jurgen Brahmer in June’s final. Eubank on the other hand, is out of the tournament, has lost his IBO title and for a fighter who had everything in his grasp, now has nothing.
No venue was confirmed for the showdown on the Mexican “Cinco de Maio” holiday between Mexico’s Alvarez, 49-1 with two drawn and 34 knockouts, and Kazakstan’s unbeaten “Triple G”, 37-0 with one draw and 33 knockouts.
The sensational sequel puts Golovkin’s World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Council crowns up for grabs after judges rendered a split draw.
“This is the fight the world wants. This is the fight boxing deserves,” Golovkin said.
“I didn’t agree with some of the judges’ decisions in the first fight. This time there will be no doubt. I am leaving the ring as the middleweight champion of the world.”
The first fight, which attracted a record crowd for an indoor Las Vegas fight, also left Alvarez wanting more.
“This time, Golovkin won’t have any excuses regarding the judges because I’m coming to knock him out,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez, a 27-year-old from Guadalajara, captured two world super welterweight crowns and moved up to become a champion in the 160-pound division by beating Miguel Cotto in 2015.
“I’m delighted to once again participate in one of the most important boxing events in history,” Alvarez said. “This second fight is for the benefit and pleasure of all fans who desire to see the best fight the best.”
Golovkin, 35, dominated as an amateur and took Olympic silver before turning professional in 2006. He had a 23-fight knockout streak that ended last March with a unanimous decision win over Danny Jacobs.
“I am ready to battle Canelo again and am happy he took this fight again,” Golovkin said.
Provided by Press Association Sport
Errol Spence battered Lamont Peterson on the way to an eighth-round technical knockout on Saturday to retain his IBF welterweight world title.
Spence strengthened his reputation as one of the best of boxing’s rising stars, scoring his 10th straight win inside the distance as he improved to 23-0 with 20 knockouts.
Spence, making his first defence of the title he seized from Britain’s Kell Brook in May, dominated from the opening bell at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, pummelling Peterson with combinations to the head and body.
He sent former two-time world champion Peterson to the canvas in the fifth round with a combination that included a left hook to the head.
Both of Peterson’s eyes were swelling shut by the seventh round, and as the bell sounded to start the eighth Peterson’s trainer Barry Hunter called for it to be stopped by referee Harvey Dock.
Dock waved the fight off at one second into the eighth round.
23-0, 20 KO, #AndStill IBF welterweight champion. 2018 gonna be our year. Time to unify these 147 pound belts. They all know where to find me. Appreciate all the love & support !! #MANDOWN #StrapSeason pic.twitter.com/FiMsVmlEWd
— Errol Spence (@ErrolSpenceJr) January 21, 2018
“I want to thank Lamont Peterson,” Spence said. “A lot of guys did turn down the fight and he took it, like a real warrior. I commend him for that.”
While Spence has been tipped as a future pound-for-pound king, he says he’s got plenty of room for improvement.
“I still can improve a lot on my defence,” he said. “I just have to keep perfecting my skills and keep progressing. You’re going to see a better Errol Spence next time I get in the ring.”
Spence is hoping to showcase his improved skills against Keith Thurman, holder of two welterweight belts who has been sidelined since out-pointing Danny Garcia last March because of elbow surgery.
“Everybody knows I’ve been waiting on ‘Sometimes’ Thurman,” Spence said, a poke at Thurman’s “One Time” nickname. “Since I was 15-0 I’ve been calling this guy out and he keeps making excuses. Let’s get it on.”
On the undercard, IBF lightweight world champion Robert Easter Jr. remained unbeaten with a split-decision victory over Javier Fortuna.
Easter’s title wasn’t at stake after Fortuna failed to make weight on Friday. But Dominican southpaw Fortuna made things awkward for the 26-year-old champion with his counter-punching style.
Easter was largely unable to use his superior height and reach, but the point deducted from Fortuna early in the bout for repeated blows to the back of Easter’s head proved costly.
One ringside judge scored it 114-113 to Easter, another saw it 114-113 for Fortuna and a third made it 115-112 for Easter – who heard a few boos as the results were read out.
“The fans are booing because I didn’t get the knockout,” said Easter, who improved to 21-0 with 14 knockouts while Fortuna fell to 33-2 with one drawn and 23 knockouts.
“It was tough,” Easter said. “He was sitting back, trying to counter-punch. He really wasn’t throwing nothing. That made it difficult for me to keep chasing this guy around.
“But we got the ‘W’. That’s all that matters.”
Provided by AFP Sport