Chris Eubank Jr looked superb in his revenge victory over Liam Smith on Saturday. The tenth-round TKO victory has put the Eubank train back on the trails after the four-round shellacking he took in their first bout. The natural inclination might be to expect a third bout between the pair and that is certainly possible. After all, Eubank and Smith have delivered two exciting fight nights in packed arenas thus far and a third would surely hold the public’s interest.
But Eubank had a different view on his future when asked post-fight. The 33-year-old named three boxers he would like to step in the ring with. The Sportsman analyses these potential opponents and their value to Eubank at this stage in his career.
The Legend: Gennady Golovkin
Eubank has long sought out a fight with future Hall of Famer Gennady Golovkin. The multi-time middleweight champion vacated his IBF and WBA straps earlier this year due to having no interest in facing his mandatory challengers. But ‘GGG’ has not officially retired yet.
Golovkin was last seen in September 2022 losing to great rival Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their trilogy fight. His powers may be on the wane but a bumper payday in the UK before he rides off into the sunset must be tempting. His knockout win over Ryoto Murata in April of last year shows the old power is still in tow and surely the mighty middleweight would back himself to use it on Eubank.
This fight is probably the most attractive out there for Eubank from a prestige point of view. While ‘GGG’ lacks the nostalgia element of a Conor Benn fight, he is a big name to UK fans for his victories over Kell Brook, Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray. The fact Golovkin has achieved more in boxing than anyone else on this list makes his the most exciting proposition.
The Retiree: Kell Brook
Despite the fact he retired after beating Amir Khan in February of last year, fighters cannot stop calling out Kell Brook. You can see why they fancy it too. ‘Special K’ is a proven ticket seller and a former world champion. As the gargantuan numbers for the Khan fight proved, Brook is a proven draw.
On the flipside, he is 37 years of age and, given how shopworn the now-retired Khan looked, he hasn’t beaten a world level foe in years. The last time he fought one was in November 2020, when Terence Crawford poleaxed him.
Brook was a career welterweight apart from an ill-advised middleweight title challenge where Golovkin knocked him out in five rounds. Coming out of retirement to take on a world-ranked middleweight who has fought as high as super middleweight seems like a needless risk. The fight would sell given the names involved but in the ring it wouldn’t be pretty. However, Brook isn’t the only welterweight willing to take the risk.
The Tainted Rival: Conor Benn
There won’t be a promoter in Britain who hasn’t dreamed of Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr facing off. Given the truly groundbreaking rivalry their fathers shared in the 1990s, the two younger men have been on a collision course almost since they turned pro. So much so that everyone seemed willing to ignore the fact Benn was a welterweight and Eubank was a big middleweight.
The dream turned into a nightmare when the fight was signed. Benn was busted for banned substance clomifene as he tried to make the 157lb catchweight. Commercial gain had trumped common sense. On paper, Eubank Jr and Benn fired the nostalgia neurons. But realistically, fighters of such different sizes shouldn’t have been programmed just because of their famous surnames.
And yet, this fight just won’t go away. Eubank, despite the career-stalling late cancellation last time, still called Benn’s name after beating Smith. It is a lucrative outing for him if it gets as far as the ring. But that’s all it is, with Benn’s name tainted by the scandal and the fact Eubank would essentially be beating up a man two weightclasses beneath him.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change