Britain’s Chris Eubank (Sr) was maybe boxing’s greatest success story of the 80s and 90s. A literal rags to riches one-off. We delve into some of his big fights and his thoughts on certain decisions in his famed career.
Before that defeat to (Steve) Collins the day after St Patrick’s day in Ireland, did you think that you were invincible?
Yes. I did. I always won no matter what.
I fought Dan Schommer in South Africa and he out-boxed me all night and punched my teeth down my throat. I still won.
I was the most powerful man in boxing, including Don King. So yes I felt invincible.
How did Collins beat you?
Well if you’re asking me, he didn’t. I am the champion and I knock you down two times – twice, clean, down; one to the temple and one to point of the chin – and you don’t remotely come close to dominating me in any fashion in any minute of any round?
You can’t be given the decision. It shouldn’t of been possible. It’s never been known before in the history of boxing.
What was the best win of your boxing career?
When has the champion ever travelled to Germany to face an unbeaten former and future world champion in his backyard? The champion! When? Ever in boxing history?
I didn’t just win the fight. I dominated, sweeping the first four or five rounds and throwing a volume of power shots to the final bell. It had to of been dominant because they couldn’t give him a draw, in Germany, so that’s merely an objective observation.
That and the first Benn and second Watson fights, where I was beaten to within an inch of my life on both occasions.
Your reign as WBO world middleweight champion was controversial. Many feel Canada’s Dan Sherry and Michael Watson were hard done by…
Only Lord God is perfect. So when I dress immaculately and speak the queens English in front of the nation, I am still not perfect because only Lord God can claim this.
What it maybe did was put me on a pedestal where you expect me to be ‘picture perfect’ at all times in the boxing ring doing my work.
Mr Sherry didn’t land one punch of any significance in 10 rounds, (and) rarely held his feet for more than a nanosecond which suggests he knew he was thoroughly out-classed and would have to act like a thief in the night – to quote a holy book – if he wanted to take the crown.
Watch Watson I without sound. Study it. I win the first five rounds in third gear, in the seventh the material around his glove doesn’t touch my outer layer of skin. Now I’m the champion. In most of the remaining rounds he’s on the ropes or hurt. Bare in mind I’m the champion.
Had I stayed in third gear I’d of just won each round I believe, but I wanted to stop him a few rounds faster than (Mike) McCallum to make a statement and I couldn’t do this having done the weight wrong. That’s my truth.
Most important quality a fighter can have?
Versatility. As champion of the world, I once faced another world champion who didn’t stop bobbing and weaving for a nanosecond that he wasn’t punching and then another world champion in my next fight who didn’t drop his gloves from his head for a nanosecond that he wasn’t punching.
I used uppercuts and fast hooks on the first opponent – namely Benn at Old Trafford – and hard body shots and volume on the second, which was Graciano Rocchigiani in Berlin. I came through. I always came through in the end, by any means necessary.
You started in New York. Very few realise…
South Bronx my friend. 1982. When it really was South Bronx. I was one of few who didn’t carry a gun. I was the only Englishman I know was there. Arson had previously hit and crack cocaine was hitting.
I had the keys to a local boxing gym, worked as cleaner and caretaker to pay my way and learned my trade on the hoof. I hid from the world outside in that beaten down gymnasium and mastered my craft over what was maybe five years. Every intricate detail I wanted perfected, every deft foot movement or deft weight transfer for instance. So yes….
You lost your last three fights but were never stopped during an active round and never quit in the ring despite some hellacious fights…
You know, when I faced Carl Thompson the second time, it was beamed to the United States via satellite so I knew Maximo Pierret one of my first trainers would be watching.
As an 18 year old schoolboy all I wanted was Maximo in the gym to give me a simple ‘OK’ finger gesture. In my 30s, with 20 world title wins, a wife and children all I wanted was to impress Maximo via satellite in that fight.
Every punch and move was thought out accordingly with him in mind. All I ever wanted was approval. It’s a strong driving force when you never had any from anyone growing up.
It was the first time I was heart-feelingly cheered by the fans that night, and before the fight I’m holding back tears because I knew there and then it was over after that one because that’s actually what I was fighting for, over money.
For eight years, 50 million people had derated me through misconception. I had to win them over before I hung them up.