Just as ticket buyers were breathing a sigh of relief, Chris Eubank Sr has doubled down on his appeal to cancel the fight between his son and Conor Benn.
The event, set for October 8 in London, was recently confirmed by Chris Eubank Jr as still on. It appears now that he made that decision without his father’s blessing, as the elder Eubank spoke directly to Nigel Benn and pleaded with him to join his mission in getting their sons’ fight pulled.
In an exclusive interview with the Evening Standard, Eubank Sr expressed fears that his son will be hurt in the ring following a drastic weight cut. To make his point, he referenced past heartbreak.
“This is insane, it can’t happen. I’ve already lost one son. When I lost him, I cried, I bawled in private. The love I have for Sebastian is the same for Christopher. I am the father and I say this fight cannot happen.”
“This is life and death. Gerald McClellan is real, Nigel you did that to him. I did that to Michael Watson, I didn’t want to do that. You can’t do this to my son.”
In 1991, Eubank Sr stopped Michael Watson in the twelfth. Following the fight, Watson spent 40 days in a coma. When conscious, a year in intensive care was followed by six months of wheelchair use as he slowly regained the ability to speak.
Gerald McClellan moved up in weight to face Nigel Benn in 1995. Following a brutal fight, Benn won by knockout in round 10. In the aftermath, McClellan collapsed. He was rendered blind, partially deaf and requires a wheelchair. The fight had been billed ‘Sudden Impact.’
Nigel Benn and Eubank would go on to face each other twice. One a KO victory for Eubank, and the other a split-draw. It was that rivalry that has birthed this fight and the drama surrounding it.
Later in the conversation, Benn reminded Eubank Sr of the situation as he knew it.
“We’re in the fight business. It was your son that made the decision, stop blaming everyone else. Your son made the decision, he’s 32 years old. You say it’s life and death, but it’s also a sport and we all chose it to give us a good life and status. I’m not going in there to maim the guy, but it is a contact sport. The fight’s been made and the contract signed.”
In a final, emotional request, Eubank Sr addressed his old rival directly.
“The love I have for you is beyond the measure of your thinking … Protect my son, my king, let him go and have his career.”