By Scott Gilfoid: Chris Eubank Jr. (23-1, 18 KOs) is coming into tonight’s title challenge against IBO super middleweight champion Renold Quinlan (11-1, 7 KOs) with a nice little five-fight winning streak against weak opposition when the two of them face each other on ITV pay-per-view at the Olympian in London, England.
In the co-feature, former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion David Price (21-3, 18 KOs) will be taking a risky fight against fringe contender Christian Hammer (20-4, 11 KOs) in a 12 round fight. Hammer will be defending his WBO European heavyweight title. I guess that’s something that the 33-year-old Price was hoping would be on the line, as it might help push him up in the World Boxing Organization’s rankings if he can win the WBO European strap.
Price is currently rated No.5 by the WBO after beating little known 2nd tier fighters Vaclav Pejsar and Ivica Perkovic. Based off those two wins over lower level opposition, you can argue that the 6’8” Price shouldn’t even be rated in the top 15 by the WBO, and yet here they have him at No.5 and the untested an inexperienced Hughie Fury at No.2. It’s just really wacky rankings by the WBO in my opinion.
This is the moment of truth for Price. He’s been knocked out three times in his short eight-year pro career. If Hammer knocks him out tonight, which I believe will likely happen then it’s probably time for him to retire from boxing and look for some other line of work.
I’m not sure what kind of backup career plan Price has going for him, but he might want to start working on that. You don’t want to see Price drag on for too much longer in boxing if he doesn’t have the ability to go anywhere. What’s the point? I do see the potential for Price to get a tremendous payday against IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua if he can beat Hammer and perhaps one or two other fringe contenders.
Price would get life changing money if he can get a title shot against Joshua. The problem is that Price will need to get past Hammer and whoever else comes after him while he waits for Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn to throw him a bone. Just fighting WBO champion Joseph Parker won’t likely give Price the kind of cash that he can retire off of.
I think Price needs the Joshua fight for him to get wads of cash to live the rest of his days without having to work. Getting past Hammer tonight will be a tough task for Price though, because Hammer can punch a little and he’s coming off of an impressive win over Erkan Teper.
This is the same Teper that knocked Price out in the 2nd round in 2015. Teper wasn’t as sharp against Hammer as he was against Price, but he still had some good power and Hammer took his shots without any problems. Hammer is going to be looking to take Price out with every punch he throws tonight. He’s definitely going to be head-hunting in this fight, because he knows he’ll get a knockout if he can land something big enough to the chin of Price.
That’s why it’s in Price’s best interest to swing for the fences from round one to try and get Hammer out of there before he lands one of his own big shots. I see this as a 50-50 fight. If Price was a good fighter, he’d likely destroy Hammer the way that Tyson Fury did in 2015 in his 8th round knockout win. Price just isn’t that good of a fighter though.
For a tall guy, Price doesn’t use his height and reach very well. He doesn’t seem to have much of a jab. He stands too close when he throws his jabs, and he lacks any real snap with that punch. The only thing that Price does well is he punches with a lot of power.
Price used to go after his opponents immediately when he first turned pro, and he very good from 2009 to 2013. However, after Price was knocked out twice by Tony Thompson in 2013, he became timid, and he stopped attacking his opponents right off the bat like he’d been doing previously.
This slower approach to fighting was arguably the reason why Price was knocked out by Teper in the 2nd round in 2015. If Price had gone after Teper straightaway, he probably would have knocked him out because Teper isn’t that good of a fighter. He’s vulnerable, but Price gave him his only chance of winning by fighting timidly at the start of the fight and enabling him to tee off with his punches without worrying about anything coming back.
Eubank Jr. should win his fight tonight against the 27-year-old Quinlan, because this isn’t a super talented fighter he’s facing. However, Eubank Jr. is a badly flawed fighter, as we saw in his 12 round split decision loss to Billy Joe Saunders in 2014. Eubank Jr. says he’s improved since then, but I don’t see any improvement in his game.
Eubank Jr. is still just as one-dimensional as he was in his loss to Saunders. He still has a bad habit of throwing uppercuts one after another, as if he lacks the versatility to think up different punch variations. You don’t like to see fighters getting dialed into one type of punch, especially when it comes to uppercuts.
Throwing those shots over and over again leaves a fighter vulnerable. Only the mediocre fighters are poor enough to get hit with uppercuts when they’re thrown repeatedly by a fighter. I’m hoping that Eubank Jr. shows more variety in his punches tonight against Quinlan, because he can’t just keep using his uppercut as his main weapon that he throws 90 percent of the time if he wants to be able to beat the better fighters at 168 and 160.
The problem that Eubank Jr. has is he’s been matched against such awful opposition during his pro career. He hasn’t had to learn to throw different types of punches. With him facing 2nd and 3rd tier fodder all the time, he’s been allowed to get away with throwing uppercuts all the time without getting his bell rung with an overhand right while he’s dipping down to throw his uppercuts. As such, Eubank Jr. is stuck on uppercuts as being his main weapon in his fights. He likes to throw them one after another, sometimes four times in a row. That tells you awful Eubank Jr’s opposition is. If Eubank Jr. tried throwing four straight uppercuts against a talent like Golovkin, he’d get his head taken off at the shoulders. Eubank Jr. can’t come into a fight against someone good with his one-dimensional punch variety. He’s got to have some other ideas when it comes to throwing punches. Quinlan is probably poor enough for Eubank Jr. to continue to throw nothing but uppercuts, but we’ll see tonight.