While it wasn’t the disaster or as one-sided as some will say, but for Chris Eubank Jr it was a major setback losing to George Groves on Saturday night in Manchester, so what did go wrong.
Simply he isn’t the fighter he thinks he is, at least not yet, and the sooner he admits that to himself the better. But I don’t think we should write Eubank Jr off just yet.
A move back down to middleweight would certainly help, by all accounts, Groves was a stone or heavier in the ring, in effect a light heavyweight fighting a middleweight. That wasn’t the reason why Eubank Jr lost, Groves was too good for him, but it certainly didn’t help his cause.
Groves at 29 is only a year older than Eubank Jr to the surprise of many, but in boxing terms, they are years apart. It might just be down to ability but I think it’s more to do with learning your craft, getting the basics right, being schooled properly.
It’s been said elsewhere, but it’s spot on, the flaws were apparent to even the untrained eye. No jab himself, he couldn’t handle Groves’s jab. Eubank Jr got in close by bulldozing his way in, rather than working his way into range, force rather than craft.
Overloading his punches, poor balance and footwork, and we could go on. Even though I picked Eubank Jr to win, after watching the Billy Joe Saunders fight again, I had forgotten about the flaws Eubank Jr showed in that fight, but I hoped they had been addressed, clearly, they haven’t.
The comments from Eubank Jr that he more or less ran his own training camp was a big concern. Football players don’t do their own training sessions, for example, all sports have coaches and trainers, they are there for a reason. It’s completely arrogant to think you know best.
What sparring was done, was there specific sparring partners of a similar style to Groves, Eubank Jr looked completely lost at times, he appeared to have little clue what to do.
Everyone should reflect and self-assess, work on their weaknesses, did Team Eubank do that after Saunders, and will they do it now.
Eubank Jr needs to accept that to progress, he needs to do something different, he needs a camp where he isn’t the main man, being a little fish in a big pond would help him. His father needs to let go, and say you need to go somewhere else to develop.
It won’t happen for a number of reasons, but imagine what a training camp in the Ingle Gym would do for him.
George Groves has overcome setbacks in his career, and it will be interesting to see how Eubank Jr deals with his loss on Saturday.
The story isn’t over just yet, but lessons need to be learned, otherwise, it soon will be.