Chris Eubank Jr has had a strange career. He’s got the last name that in theory could make things easy, but his fighting style doesn’t always do that when in against better opposition, and at the age of 30, he’s just never quite totally broken through on that top level.
Yes, he beat James DeGale in Feb. 2019, maybe a career-best win, but DeGale was on his way out of the sport, too. He beat Matt Korobov in December, but that came on a fluky injury after Eubank lost the first round.
One issue has consistently been that Eubank is inconsistent about his training, at times even training himself, basically, and hopping around frequently otherwise. He’s now working with Roy Jones Jr in Florida, and while history suggests it may not last long, Eubank has had nothing but good things to say about the experience:
“Being with Roy now is the right move, for where I’m at in my career. He can guide and help but I have to do the work. I have to apply the teachings and win these fights. But with Roy there? The extra knowledge and expertise adds extra ammo to my arsenal. I’m excited to see what we can do.”
On paper, it’s a good fit, but it’s worth noting that while Jones was absolutely a great fighter — a true legend in the sport — he’s had no really notable success as a trainer. And simply having been a great fighter, particularly one with the insane natural athletic ability of Jones, is far from any guarantee of being successful as a coach at a high level. Sports history is littered with great players/fighters who weren’t near being great coaches, and less-than-great players/fighters who made for excellent coaches. Someone may well fully understand how something should be done, and just not have the gifts to do it themselves.
In modern boxing, we have Freddie Roach, for example. Roach was a pretty decent fighter, not a world title contender sort of guy, but has become a great trainer. Robert Garcia was a better fighter than Roach, won a world title, but wasn’t a guy like Jones, wasn’t a legend type, an elite type, and he has also become a great trainer.
There’s also the fact that Roach and Garcia for years have had big stables of fighters in their gyms, so they’re constantly working as trainers and have honed their own skills in that regard. Jones pops in to train now and then with specific fighters. He’s worked with Jean Pascal and a bit with Devon Alexander, and the results weren’t much to write home about, but we’re also talking two veteran fighters who were past their primes (though Pascal continues trying to defy that idea, and rather successfully at that).
I’m not saying Jones can’t have success, but as a trainer he seems more like a mercenary hire thus far than someone out there trying to put together a stable and really focus on training. That has to make a difference.
Frankly, history suggests that the Eubank-Jones partnership won’t last long. Some fighters just tend to bounce around a lot — we’ve seen it notably from Oscar De La Hoya, and also from Chad Dawson in recent years. World title-level fighters for sure, De La Hoya’s a Hall of Famer, but it’s usually sort of a red flag when a fighter does this. There’s definitely something to be said for getting a different set of eyes and ears at various points in a fighter’s career, but true trainer-hopping can lead to a lot of inconsistency in performance, and the risk of a constant state of making “tweaks” making for a fighter that doesn’t always fight to their strengths.
Eubank (29-2, 22 KO) will likely be in the ring soon enough, and we’ll see what the work with Jones has done for him. He’s been in the mix to possibly face WBC middleweight titleholder Jermall Charlo, but that doesn’t look like it will come next.