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Talking Boxing

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February 6, 2017

The Monday after: Not a believer anymore

Chris Eubank Jr, Renald Quinlan, Gennady Golovkin, Billy Joe Saunders

Eubank Jr may be fun to watch but his style is becoming predictable and will get found out at a higher level.

by Shaun Brown

I used to think that Chris Eubank Jr was capable of giving Gennady Golovkin one of the toughest fights of his career.

Stop sniggering.

I also thought Frank Bruno would beat Mike Tyson in their 1996 rematch, and I also thought Ricky Hatton would beat Floyd Mayweather in 2007. On those two occasions I was 16 with a fluffy upper lip, flock of seagulls haircut and then 28 with more hair on my face than on my head.

Two predictions that were as bad as the appearance of the man who gave them.

Into my thirties, everything going grey, a belt size going up yearly and until Saturday night a belief that the all-action style of Chris Eubank Jr could unsettle and upset a Kazakh Terminator named Golovkin.

I don't know, I'm a sucker for hyperbole sometimes. I buy into hype, particularly if I can see something that has/had tons of potential.

And I saw that in Eubank Jr against an overly matched Stepan Horvath at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle in 2014. A night where Eubank Sr would stand and look at his son in between the five completed rounds. Nothing would be said; just daft, unnecessary attention seeking. But his son was building a name for himself and displaying a repertoire of performances that television networks would love to get involved with.

Against Billy Joe Saunders five months later, he started too slow but came away with his reputation enhanced in defeat. But we were still seeing the wildness of a man who loves nothing more than to throw a booming uppercut and a destructive right hand. One that misses as often as it lands early on in a fight, before it has hit its target long enough for them to become as hittable as a piece of apparatus in the gym.

Eubank Jr had fun and gained more fans against Dmitrii Chudinov in February 2015 in his first fight since losing to Saunders, but then took one or two steps back against Tony Jeter eight months later because a competitive sparring session would have been more beneficial. The Brit with the bragadoccio then loaded up the ammunition of his machine gun style against Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan and Nick Blackwell respectively, running out a conclusive winner on each occasion.

Five fighters where only one was elusive, slippery and had the ability and want to slip a shot, frustrate his opponent and show that skill not will beats Chris Eubank Jr. Billy Joe Saunders deservedly won their November 2014 encounter, but if the Eubanks had really thought their man was on the wrong end of a decision, and had the tools to right the wrong in their eyes, then over 26 months later that fight would have happened by now.

Gennady Golovkin, the world's best middleweight, has - since Eubank lost to Saunders - beat Martin Murray, Willie Monroe Jr, David Lemieux, Dominic Wade and Kell Brook. Some fights benefitted his career, some benefitted his bank balance. But I always thought GGG's style, one that is embedded into him, could be the type that Eubank Jr would lap up and happily engage with. But that would only happen if Chris Eubank Jr would evolve as a fighter. And that brings me to Saturday night past against Renold Quinlan.

Make no bones about it, you would have been hard pushed to find a boxing fan who thought the 27-year-old Australian would still be standing at the beginning of round 10. This pay-per-view headline attraction, which had been backed by a solid, entertaining undercard was expected to be over in the first half of the fight. One thing you can't predict sometimes is the size of a fighter's heart, however. It's too easy to say that a boxer will do anything but quit. We all have our limits, our breaking point... and there have been examples in the past where a fighter has thrown in the towel himself.

Quinlan belonged in the category of stubborness, sheer Aussie bloody mindedness providing a 168lbs wall that Eubank Jr was not able to punch holes in as expected.

In the end it was a dominant performance from the Brit. But this should have been over much earlier, especially if you were to buy into the great of Eubank Jr and the not so great of Quinlan.

What I watched was an entertaining, network friendly fighter who is very marketable, fan friendly and pleasing on the eye. Dig beneath that and you can see an individual that is in dire need of ring tactics, the words of an experienced trainer and a plan b and plan c should the plan a of blunt force trauma not pay off.

The work-rate, the intensity, the uppercuts, the big right hands have gotten him this far. They've given Chris Eubank a tiny piece of the super middleweight cake, nowhere near the slice they believe or would have you believe. And in the wake of it all there is still talk about Golovkin, as well as chasing a fight with IBF 168lbs champion James DeGale.

It's highly doubtful you will see that calibre of opponent in his next fight, an all-British affair it might be, but it won't scream 'Well after this he's definitely ready for Golovkin'. As it stands Eubank Jr is banging out performances that are repetitive, and will have a solid shelf life until someone like a Billy Joe Saunders, minimum, comes along.

It's already the Greatest Hits of Chris Eubank Jr, and he hasn't even had a top ten success yet.

I once gave him a shot against Gennady Golovkin, but until the wildness of his fighting stops, the calibre of opponent dramatically improves he will be nothing more than another piece of cannon fodder for Golovkin that will look good in his own Greatest Hits collection.

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If David Price is to call it a day after Saturday's loss to Christian Hammer then he does so in memorable fashion.

The 33-year-old Liverpudlian heavyweight was in a sink or swim fight against the 29-year-old, and had to win at all costs.

Price took his lumps and gave plenty back including a cracking uppercut which put the Romanian-born former Tyson Fury opponent on his backside in round five.

It became a shoot-out, Hammer looking to get in close and swing with everything while Price who spent too long on the ropes having to fight fire with fire. It was enthralling to watch but must have been tough to endure for Price's corner, family and friends.

Whatever your thoughts on Price's performance, or as others have commented on; his stamina and conditioning, the record books will always show him to be an Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist as well as British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion. The ambition was obviously far greater in the pro ranks, at least, but they are achievements that should be looked upon with pride and a degree of satisfaction.

The coming days will be tough for Price and his team. I for one hope that he walks away from the sport and can find even more success elsewhere in boxing or in something else outside the sport. He's a lovely guy and doesn't need any more hard nights at the office.