British legend Nigel Benn believes Chris Eubank Jr. has to build up to the very best fighters in his weight class or head to the United States to get the respect he craves.
Eubank is currently eyeing up his next move after claiming the IBO super-middleweight title against Renold Quinlan, with a defence against John Ryder said to be one of the main possibilities for the Brighton man.
Benn says the 27 year-old is at a crossroads in his career though as the ‘Dark Destroyer’ was himself a two-weight world champion at that age and Eubank now needs makes moves towards the top operators at either 160 or 168.
“I saw Chris fight against Quinlan, and it was ok but nothing to write home about,” Benn exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I’m not knocking Junior as I’ve always like him regardless of me and his dad, but should he be calling out James DeGale, who I believe is a true road warrior who went abroad and fought everyone in front of him in their back garden to come back champion of the world. He’s someone who learned his trade the hard way, so I don’t believe so.
“If they fought, I believe James is too experienced for him, and because of the bad mouthing (DeGale would get from the Eubank camp), it would be a good fight and that’s when you will see the best of James.
“Now, if Junior really wants to get that respect, he has to leave England like DeGale did, or Amir Khan, Kell Brook, Carl Froch, Carl Frampton, Lennox Lewis, Naseem Hamed, Ricky ‘Hitman’ Hatton and I think I’m forgetting someone? – Yes, I remember, ‘ME’ – we all did.
“If he doesn’t do that then I would like to see him challenge Callum Smith (if he wins the WBC title), now that someone I believe can be special,” added Benn.
The more likely scenario for Eubank, who has recently signed a deal with ITV Box Office, would be to make a couple of defences of his belt in the UK before then moving up the super-middleweight ladder.
As it stands, Eubank could still operate at 160 pounds – if needed, so may head back to the lower limit for the right offer before fully concentrating on fighting at 168 pounds in the future.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay