Roy Jones Jr. isn’t a fan of unfinished business.
The Hall of Fame fighter and current trainer of British middleweight contender Chris Eubank Jr. made it clear he sorely wants his charge to revisit a fight with Liam Smith instead of entering into one with embattled welterweight Conor Benn.
Liverpool’s Smith knocked out Eubank in January in the fourth round in what was one of the more surprising boxing results of the year thus far.
Eubank subsequently activated his rematch clause but then also began entertaining a new offer to face Benn later this summer in Abu Dhabi.
Eubank was originally supposed to fight Benn in a highly anticipated 157-pound catchweight bout last October but the event was cancelled after Benn was discovered to have tested positive for a banned performance enhancing drug. It was revealed a few weeks later that Benn had tested positive for the same substance, in a separate test, earlier in the year.
Rumors circulated for the past few weeks that Eubank was on the verge of signing on to fight Benn, but those suggestions seemed to have cooled. Earlier this week, Smith seemed to insist Eubank would be pursuing a rematch with him.
That would be music to Jones’ ears.
“C’mon, man, Smith rematch,” Jones told iD Boxing when asked about which fight he prefers for Eubank. “C’mon, brother. I mean if you’re a winner you wanna win. You ain’t gonna take a loss and then go do something Else. Nah, that ain’t how it go. If you a winner you gotta [get revenge]. I’m old school, you forgot? Y’all must’ve forgot. If you lose you gotta get that back first then you go on. But you gotta try and get that back first."
If Jones has a say in Eubank's career, he would not want him to move forward with Smith until after he has hung two victories after the Liverpudlian.
“You don’t lose and then go ‘Oh, I lost, let’s go make the money,'" Jones continued. "No, no, no, no, no. Let’s go win first, then you gotta win again, because it’s now 1-1. …so no matter how it goes, we gotta do it a third time.
"And once we finish that then we can go talk about Conor Benn, that’s my opinion. That’s what I want to see happen. I wouldn’t want to see Conor Benn right away because if we took Conor Benn right away that looks like we admit to defeat to Liam Smith and we’re almost saying we can’t beat him so we’ll go fight Conor. And we’re not saying that. I don’t think.”
Added Jones, “When [Eubank] finally told me what’s next, he said we gon’ probably fight Liam Smith again in June. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. I didn’t want to hear all that other stuff because for me, like I said, that would’ve been kind of crazy for me. Why we fighting Conor when we haven’t finished this Smith situation yet?”
Sean Nam is the author of the forthcoming book Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.