By Samuel Lee
Long before Jr, Naseem Hamed, and Floyd Mayweather Jr, there was a certain boxing peacock and English gent by the name of Christopher Livingstone Eubank who rose to heights in the early nineties that had been hardly imaginable. From humble beginnings, Eubank turned pro in ’85 and simply kept winning, and winning, and winning!
Apart from his out-of-ring notoriety in England, the man could box, too!
Chris Sr talks to us of early memories of future opponents:
‘I remember in the gym in New York – the Jerome Boxing Club – there would be magazines, boxing magazines, on the desk. You would flick through them.
‘I was maybe 16, 17 and just starting out learning to box and I remember they were trying to hype up a kid named Ron Essett. They ran a story on him in Bert Sugar’s Boxing Illustrated, and his people claimed he was the biggest hitting amateur out there.
‘Another time in about 1987, I read an article about a fighter called Tony Thornton, who was described as being the best middleweight prospect and having a right hand harder than any other than Thomas Hearns.
‘I also recall after I fought Anthony Logan, I looked at the WBC ratings and number one at the top of the list was Lindell Holmes, and I was living in a box room on a sofabed, and four years later I am owning a Tudor Mansion while defending the world championship against him.
‘Thorntons, Essetts; I fought them all, years after reading about all their hype of how they were going to win championships. All the top American contenders, I fought them all.
‘I didn’t manage to get in the ring with Michael Nunn, James Toney or Roy Jones, all the top pound-for-pound American champions – with Pernell Whitaker – because we were all champion of our own right.’
He believes his rematch with Nigel Benn has yet to be surpassed in a British ring:
‘Carl Froch-George Groves II was watched by hundreds of thousands of people. Chris Eubank-Nigel Benn II was watched by hundreds of millions of people. It’s night and day, there’s no comparison.
‘And the ticket touts must’ve lost a fortune for that Froch-Groves is what I will say.’
Champions are made away from the bright lights, as Chris explained:
‘I trained harder than just about anyone, right from the start, and I never wasted perspiration. I had to improve every punch, every move and every combination constantly, frequently. It all started with delicacy in the toes.
‘I was never satisfied with a particular shot for instance – it had to be shorter and shorter. It all had to be down to a tee. I was obsessed, literally, with perfection. And I didn’t taste a drop of alcohol from February 1983 to December 1995.’
And those that accused him of laziness in the ring are told to re-examine his career!
‘People say I never threw punches or I posed too much. But watch the fights. Watch the Benn 2, the Lindell Holmes, the Graciano Rocchighiani and I outwork and outpunch all of them. I’m throw countless combinations really in the Benn 1 and Wharton fight; far more than Michael had against Benn and far more than Nigel had against Henry.’
But just when was Chris Eubank Sr at the peak of his powers?!
‘It’s Berlin, Germany – it’s 1994, it’s Graciano Rocchigiani. I am a black Englishman. It’s Europe’s first-ever pay-per-view fight. Their guy was supposed to be unbeatable; because his guard covered all the vulnerable areas, and because every punch he threw was timed perfectly and straight to the point, and he was a huge southpaw.
‘I goad the crowd, give it the Full Monty and beat him hands down; sweeping the rounds under my belt with treble and quadruple jabs to keep his hands up, followed rapidly by dynamite body shots placed precisely around and behind the elbows, or succulently moving in with a dynamite uppercut placed through the glove-sized gap to his chin with not a warning whatsoever.
‘A beautiful, poetic performance from arena entry to finish. That was the original at his peak.’