Roy Jones Jr. – former head trainer of middleweight contender Chris Eubank Jr. – believes his former charge was severely weight drained for the canceled fight with Conor Benn.
Eubank was set to face Benn at a catchweight of 157-pounds last October, but the contest was called off during fight week when news broke that Benn had tested positive for a banned substance.
After the fight was canceled, Eubank would eventually reach a deal to face former junior middleweight champion Liam Smith in January.
In a stunner, Smith knocked Eubank out in four rounds. The rematch takes place later today in Manchester.
Jones believes the tough weight cut for Benn, and back to back training camps, had affected Eubank in the fight with Smith.
“The weight cut that Eubank went through for Conor Benn was very, very draining for him. I don’t think it was the total weight cut that was the problem, but it was just the last few pounds. Because when Chris jumped into the ring with Smith, I thought his legs looked very unstable, so I was a bit worried about it, because of the way he took the last few pounds, to me, it wasn’t very good for him. I didn’t like the way he looked, he looked fine in camp up to that point,” Jones said.
“The last few pounds caused him a lot of trouble, he had not been down there in a while, but that fight never took place, so we don’t know how he would have performed. But sometimes you don’t look good and still do ok.
“The weight cut could have affected it [punch resistance against Smith] but he also caught an elbow right before he got caught with the right hand. The elbow caused the eye to swell up bad, it was not the right hand. The elbow definitely had an impact on what happened after that. It wasn’t intentional but it made it tough, without the elbow he would have taken the right hand better.
“He wasn’t necessarily hollow against Smith, but he had been through an extensive training camp for Benn and I think he didn’t get a chance to take a proper break between camps and I think that wore on him a little bit. And it wore on him a way that he could save himself for the fight, but maybe he saved himself a little too much.”