Christopher Livingstone Eubank on Nigel Benn fights, Floyd Mayweather’s style, and ‘Simply the Best’

Chris Eubank on Benn dynamic

‘The fascinating thing is that Nigel Benn vs me was far from being a straight-ahead dynamic. Look closer and you will see contradictions. It was Benn, not myself, that ate with a silver spoon. Whilst Benn was being groomed for superstardom by a heavy promotion team, I was scrabbling in the grass for coppers. Whilst the army was turning Benn’s life around, I was falling deeper and deeper into a life of crime and poverty. When I finally took up boxing across the Atlantic in the Bronx, I had to sweep up to pay my gym fees.’

‘Seen with the right kind of eyes, this was nothing less than a triumph of the human spirit. My desperation to better myself won out over Benn’s hatred. Barry McGuigan called our first fight “our Hagler-Hearns.” I think it was something even more than that.’

Eubank Sr on Floyd Mayweather Jr

‘I’m very proud of Floyd. He’s a blueprint of myself in the ring. He’s the only fighter who has taken my principles and applied them to his game. My principles were to be complete and have all dimensions in an unreadable manner. You are to defend with movement of hand, foot, head and body, and to change pace, change direction, change height and change distance.

‘How can you be read when you can do it all? The more you make your opponent think, the more opportunity you have to hit him while he is thinking. Don’t stand still. Keep your chin hidden. Floyd uses my principles and pulls it off like I did in my prime. He’s a grandmaster and he won at least 10 rounds of the (Pacquiao) fight quite clearly.’

Eubank on his successful fight/career style/method

‘My trick was to bank six rounds and then elude exertion and extension, and keep fighting about every two months or less to keep my skills sharp. Michael Watson first fight: I won the first six rounds and then just got to the end of the 12th. Tony Thornton fight: I won the first six rounds and then just got to the end. Watson and Thornton took a lot of rounds from McCallum and Toney in the first six, two of the most traditionally skilled fighters of the modern era. Graciano Rocchigiani fight: I win the first six and then get to the end, and the same with both Carl Thompson fights, verty clearly and very easily.

‘So that was my trick and it worked beautifully against a fighter who planted his feet into flat positions and planted his gloves around his face, because I had the multi-directional foot movement and shot variety and punch placement to bamboozle them with my poetic motion, and I did it sensationally in the first round of the first Benn fight when I didn’t take a shot. Floyd does that.

‘It was only when I got away from my principles and flattened my feet that Benn blasted me in the second round and got into the fight in 1990, which was probably down to hypertension on my part with mine and my childrens lives on the line, literally. I also did this in the second Nigel fight because I was distracted by the mass of the crowd. As far as the second fight with Michael Watson goes, he stayed right on top of me right through and walked through huge shots without blinking, making him unbeatable in human terms.’

Eubank on his famous moniker

‘When I was STB, ‘Simply the Best’, I wasn’t referring to myself as a boxer. In fact, I never subcribed to the notion or called myself STB. It was Susan Hearn who picked me the Tina Turner song and the alias. My take on it was that as a person I was ‘Simply the Best’ because I had no vices, I was a calm gentleman who used his platform to portray goodness, and honoured truth above all else!

‘As a boxer, I may of been ‘Simply the Best’ but we don’t know because the fights with Michael Nunn in 1990-91 or James Toney in 1993 or Roy Jones in 1994-95 weren’t made. I suspect I may of lost each of those fights, but I can’t be sure because I was extremely good and would’ve put my beating heart on the line to win them.’