By Samuel Lee
Former WBO middle and super-middle champion Chris Eubank believes today’s fighters have it too easy, and that his resume of opponents has yet to be beaten.
“Objectively, I fought seven fights against multiple-time world champions. I also fought Michael Watson twice, who in our second fight was tenfold-improved and won seven rounds straight going into the 11th.
“I also fought Lindell Holmes – who knocked out Michael Spinks in one round in the amateurs and was beating Herol Graham on points in Sheffield before eye damage – a naturally gifted 35 year old former champion of the world who was refused by the other three world champions. I knew if anyone could box and punch, it was this guy!”
He also pays homage to Graciano ‘Rocky’ Rocchigiani, the under appreciated European tough guy superstar of the 80s and 90s, whos ‘0’ was taken by Eubank.
“And Graciano Rocchigiani, who subjectively looked to have bettered Maske, Michalczewski and Nunn and was already the 35-0 former champion of the world in his hostile German backyard,” he said of the 6ft2 southpaw.
Chris questions the activity level of today’s champions.
“When I was champion, we defended the title every two months or less. Today, they’re allowed to take half a year off because the subscription television channels need that long to build them up and advertise them.
“The reason today’s champions aren’t marketable is because they don’t entertain. They don’t take that step back when they have an opponent on the hook to draw a response from the crowd, both ringside and arm-chaired. It takes cajones and confidence,” he reckons.
Opportunity was also taken to ask Chris who his favorite boxers were when coming up as a young fighter.
“When coming up as a young fighter, who were my favorite boxers? My favorite boxers in terms of who had certain attributes that I greatly admired, then they were; Thomas Hearns, for his creatively effective jabbing; Pernell Whitaker, for his poetic defensive maneuvering, and Mike Tyson, for the power of his countering combinations in the middle of range.”
And also, what were his weak points as a young boxer that he needed to fix to fight at world title level?
“My best asset until I met my martial arts tutor Walter Johnson in 1986 – the tall slender figure at many of my future world title fights – was offensive footwork. By that I mean closing distances between myself and the opposing fighter with inching fast steps that never crossed and on my feet balls.
“Then I changed my style entirely where I would distribute 97.5% of my bodyweight to my rear leg at all times that I was inches out of distance, to purify myself as an escape artist, and this style saw me through my highly successful career.”
And his weakest asset?
“I am structured with a short torso, which means I have high hips. So a low centre of gravity I do not have. So learning the correct punching technique to a tee on each one of the dozens of shots, which all start from the toe, could be very, very frustrating at times.
“Simply put, it took me many, many years of daily exhaustion to master all the punches and moves. But master them, I most certainly did!”
I can’t argue with that.