Eubank Sr on Collins: Hard to beat a man willing to give his life

British boxing great Chris Eubank discussed his career in a special programme on Sky Sports this week as his son Chris Jr prepared to make his network debut against Tony Jeter.

Speaking about some of his past glories and legendary fights against the likes of Michael Watson, Nigel Benn and Carl Thompson, the 49 year-old also made a striking admission about old foe Steve Collins.

Collins became the first man to defeat Eubank as the Brighton boxer was 44-0 and seemingly invincible when the pair clashed at the Green Glens Arena in Ireland for the WBO super middleweight title twenty years ago.

Eubank admitted that rugged puncher Collins got inside his head, but also that a single incident at a pre-fight press conference determined the outcome of the encounter before a single glove had been landed in anger.

“I went to Dublin to have this press conference with him,” Eubank told Johnny Nelson and Adam Smith on the Sky Sports Eubank Special.

“I’m the champion of the world and I go to Dublin in his backyard. He turns up and hour and a half late, he then speaks in Gaelic for the next half an hour. I said to myself; ‘It doesn’t matter he’s still just Steve.’

“In my head, I’m still thinking the fight can only go one way. This is my view, but then he starts speaking in English and buttering me up (with compliments). Then he said; ‘I’m an Irishman and I do for the Irish people. I support the Irish people. You’re not really an Englishman, you’re an African so what do you do for the Africans?’ – And I lost the fight at that moment.

“The fight was a mere formality, but I lost it at that moment with those words. He got me and once he had got my mind on him, I wanted to hurt him and that’s where I lost my first professional fight after 19 world championship wins on the strength of that because I wasn’t looking at the target.”

Eubank was then asked about the second defeat to Collins which followed six months later in Cork, to which he replied: “My mind was strong for the second fight, but he beat me on merit.

“He is a man that I didn’t realise was willing to give his life in a fight, which is really what it takes. I didn’t know Steve Collins had that grain. It’s easy to be a guy who cares about his looks, but a guy who doesn’t care about his life? – Very, very tough,” he added.