Interview with Sheriff and Boxing Legend Chris Eubank Sr.
Chris Eubank Sr answered ‘no comment’ regarding his thoughts on who his son’s (Chris Jr) next opponent might be and also Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder III, however he did delight in talking us through his wisdom gained from life experience.
What made the 16-year-old Chris Eubank choose boxing?
Boxing is the only vocation where you can rise from the bottom to the top.
I arrived in the South Bronx in the early eighties with nothing. I looked over at Manhattan in the distance and said, ‘I want to shop there one day. I want it to be nothing for me to go there and buy whatever I fancy on weekends.’
The only option was boxing. So I started from scratch and vowed to master it, using words of encouragement from the lyrics of Bob Marley.
In less than 10 years I would be casually Concording to Manhattan with my then-wife on Saturdays.
Boxing, boxing, boxing.
What impression do you believe you made on the sport?
In a fight you cannot win, stay in there. Get up. Take more.
In life terms, Karma. It’s real. If you’re done wrong by somebody, then do good to them, or it will only come back again.
I should know. I’ve been from the bottom to the top and back to the bottom, back to the top and back to the bottom, over and again more than anyone.
I am now at my happy medium.
What caused your plummets do you believe?
Like I said, the Karmic wheel of the universe. Only give out goodness and practice humility and you’re good to go. Though that is easier said than done. It took me 50 years to realise and master.
I was locked in a cell on a concrete bed in isolation at 13 in a secure unit, wandering how I was going to be somebody. By 15 I’m making £900 a week selling Versace, Armani and Rayban and wearing Burberry, when the average wage packet was £60.
At 16 I’m in the burnt-out Bronx; graffiti-ville during the crack cocaine epidemic. My dinner was rotten bananas. My breakfast was raw eggs. I’m the caretaker/cleaner of a boxing gym falling apart. I’m on my own because my mother is working as a live-in nurse.
How am I going to be somebody? At 18 I’ve clawed my way to boxing at the Garden as an amateur. I can’t win so what do I do? I bite my opponents shoulder. A despicable act.
At 21 I’m sleeping on my brothers couch in Brighton and all the leading London promoters have rejected me. By 1990 I’ve beaten Nigel Benn for the title in a war of attrition.
By 25 I’m in torment and despair at having left Michael Watson in a coma and a very unfortunate road accident shortly after. Crying myself to sleep at night.
By 1993, 1994 Michael Watson is out of a coma and progressing. I’m fighting at Old Trafford and signing eight-figure TV deals.
By ’96, I’m out of retirement and every UK broadcaster has rejected me.
After I fought Carl Thompson in Manchester, I’m a National Hero in my beloved United Kingdom. In the mid-2000s, I’m bankrupt. By 2010, the only possession in the world I have left is a Peterbilt US truck. And so and so forth.
I’ve come to understand that you embrace wrongness done towards you because goodness will come from it if you respond in kind.
I spent £2million of my own money – closer to £10million in today’s rate – building 69 flats for the homeless in the mid-90s. Within six months they were graffiti-filled crack dens. I left the project to rot – I shouldn’t of done that.
Do you believe there are too many belts today?
Yeah, the only way you can distinguish yourself if politics won’t allow uniting them all together is to keep winning and prove yourself a complete fighter by beating all styles in the overall top 10 world contenders.
Many can pick up a belt of some kind. But 10 defences of the title proves you are genuine world class. 15 world title wins is another level, and history suggests that 20 world title wins is elite.
Can the fighters of today compete with fighters of yesteryear?
I see fitness, I see nutrition. I see physical strength and jumping jacks. I don’t see the technical ability that I saw Roberto Duran, Mike Tyson, Mike McCallum and James Toney possess.
I don’t see the ring generalship of Roy Jones Jr from these Crawfords or Spences.
I wasn’t doing push ups or weightlifting or sprint the 100 metres, I was concerned with a good few hours straight each day of drilling boxing techniques when I was coming up. Trying to get the pivots right, the balance, the side stepping, the weaving, the combination punching, the angles, the footwork….
I would spar at 100% contact. Not tap spar. These were genuine fights. That’s why I could catch a jab without thinking about it, slip a punch without prior thought and actually counter-punch without prior movement and without blocking.
That’s why I could absorb a punch without telegraphing pain.
I don’t think fighters today are doing this. I have to be careful what I say…. What I will say is that elders are not respected and parents are not honoured in this generation. To detriment.
Why do you think Chris Eubank never got a tattoo? That was right up my street. I always remember my mother telling me as a child not to write things on my hands with pens, which I had a habit of.