The Chris Eubank Snr Story!
Dubai’s greatest fighting resident gives us a look back through his boxing history, as Chris Eubank Snr, ‘just call me Sargent!’ he says, seems to hint that Eddie Hearn might be to blame for the mess that is Dillian Whyte’s boxing career with some cryptic messages.
Sargent on Eddie Hearn’s fathers’ influence:
My story is I spent 85% of the 80s in New York learning my trade. The best teachers of the art are in America. Then made my way over the Atlantic to London – the home of boxing – and turned down the whole Cartel, both Franks, Mr Eastwood and a few others before employing Barry Hearn to work on my behalf. Finding the right promoter is a key to a keyhole.
If your promoter isn’t capable of landing you one world title fight, then your promoter is exposed as a talker; a fly-by-night. And as they said in the East End – the loud ones never last; the Essex Boys, the pretty boys, the fly-by-nights.
Barry Hearn got me the Benn fight in less than 18 months total, and I wasn’t even mandatory contender. That’s a man you can’t fault. I was making £8,000 a fight under Barry Hearn before the world championship fight, which was dream money to me. They say old school is the best school, don’t they? But you never stop practicing your craft right through your career, so you’re never out of fighting shape.
Benn is on the front cover of ‘The Bible of Boxing’ as ‘Boxing’s Baddest Bad Boy’ and I take him out as it’s hitting the shelves on either side of the Atlantic. American TV turn the fight down because they assume it is just another 90-second blow-out for Benn back in England.
So I do my own thing in the rest of the world for 85% of the 90s – 24 world championship contests; live up in Canada, live in Africa, live in Asia, live across Europe and live in front of around 15 to 20 million in the United Kingdom about five times a year. That’s the Chris Eubank story.
The Barry Hearn story? I mean this is the man. Did Herbie Hide win an Olympic gold medal? No, Herbie came from nowhere, Barry had the eye for him and we got him to the pinnacle against Bowe. That’s the crack. That’s proper.
Sargent Eubank on the infamous first Nigel Benn fight:
In the Benn-Eubank 1990 contest we are using 8oz gloves that are made from horse hair mixed with foam cell. Benn’s long run of knockouts and his one-round wins were the most barbaric the sport had seen. And I was the one man he despised.
My hands were swelled up for days after the fight, my jaw and ribs were tender and bruised for a few weeks, my tongue was ripped apart and my internal organs had been badly damaged. My lip was hanging for a week or so, there is like a dent in my skull for a bit.
Ronnie had to wash me in the shower after, and carry me out of bed the next day to face the press – every word I spoke to the press, and there were many, was excruciatingly painful because my jaw was swollen and my tongue stitched.
And this wasn’t even my hardest fight! That tells you about the Watson II fight. Just that alone. I fought Watson at his very best in June 1991 and it was easy, and three months later he is somehow four times that and wipes the floor with me.
Sargent on the WBO and Lennox Lewis:
The fighter maketh the belt. It didn’t matter which one of the four governing bodies you held, if you were the longest reigning world champion then you were the man. If you had the longest unbeaten record in boxing, it doesn’t actually matter which of the four sanctioning bodies you represent; you’re making that belt. If you fight the mandatory challenger, you’re legit.
And if belt maketh the fighter, then WBC is the premiere belt, and I at least proved I was equal best in the best division if that’s the case. But it’s not. Fighters maketh belts, not the other way round.
Look at Lennox Lewis – the last great heavyweight we might ever see – nobody is saying he’s not undisputed heavyweight champion for not holding the WBO, because he’s Lennox Lewis.
He’s beating all the big names – Frank Brunos, Tommy Morrisons, Klitschkos, Tysons, Razor Ruddocks, Holyfields, Bowes, everyone. Not the very best pound-for-pound fighters, only because they’re at middle and super-middle, but anyone they put in front of Lennie he’s taking out – so he’s the man.
When I say we won’t see his ilk again, that’s across the board from middle to heavy and it’s because a lot of the NBA, NFL, MMA, rugby, Crossfit or wrestling participants you see today – or even PTs – would have been in the boxing gym in 1980 or 1990 or 2000; hungry, boxing.
PPV has taken boxing from mainstream, so the standard has dipped substantially over the past 20 years. They aren’t skillsters today – they are bodybuilders, weightlifters and decathletes. They are masters of calisthenics, not masters of counter-punching or combination-punching. I don’t see the skill sets that I saw in the 80s and 90s.
Sargent on his experience and knowledge:
Nobody knows boxing like me. I’ll tell you for why – I knew my craft, I knew my art. If you take a cross between Ali and Pernell Whitaker, I’m not beating that. Nobody is. That’s Michael Nunn, that’s Herol Graham. I couldn’t gamble that they’d be offensive against me, like when they lost. If they box defensive you can’t beat them. The mindless will think they can beat them.
If you asked Mike Tyson in his peak if he’d beat a cross between Ali and Pernell Whitaker, he’d laugh and tell you he wouldn’t stand a chance. Mike knows the game, one of very few.
I’m very good at math. Roy Jones could throw four left hooks in the time it took me to throw one. Do you understand? I fought to win when I was champion.
I learned from the very best – Mickey Duff, Don King and the like. They’ll lie to you, they’ll take advantage, they’ll tie you in, they’ll play dirty. But I always had the last laugh, because you can’t actually defeat integrity. And my knowledge of the past I try to pass on to any fighter since who cares to listen.