Ahead of Roy Jones Jr’s star-studded showdown with Mike Tyson on Saturday, Chris Eubank Jr exclusively tells Sportsmail why he’s backing his trainer to win…
It is fight week and we are staying at a hotel close to the Staples Center.
I haven’t seen Mike Tyson and if he is in this hotel, I’d be very surprised. Putting fighters in the same hotel is just a bad idea and they definitely wouldn’t do it for this.
There’s a 10:00 PM curfew and everything in LA is shutting down. I’ve got my Xbox, my books, I play a bit of online poker and we’ve been out to the shopping malls because the Black Friday sales are on.
Chris Eubank Jr has spoken about life in Roy Jones Jr’s camp before his bout with Mike Tyson
Jones Jr (pictured) will face Tyson on Saturday and Eubank Jr has helped the veteran prepare
It was Thanksgiving on Wednesday and one of the guys in Roy’s team is friends with Chris Brown’s mum… we went over there for Thanksgiving dinner. Very random!
But we’re here to do a job.
Roy has never left the gym life. If he wasn’t boxing, he was playing basketball, if he wasn’t playing basketball, he was teaching.
He lives in Pensacola with a big farm, his gym and his family. And that’s what he enjoys – it’s just him, his people, and all his animals: chickens, peacocks, dogs and ducks.
Jones Jr, 51, has trained five or six days a week and done eight two-minute rounds comfortably
The legendary fighter is Eubank Jr’s trainer and both are working hard ahead of the showdown
It’s taken me quite a lot of getting used to. Most days you’ll see a cockerel or a chicken just run through the middle of the gym.
But even though this is an ‘exhibition’, Roy has been training five or six days a week. He’s doing eight two-minute rounds comfortably and he still has energy to go and hit the bags and do some pad work. That says it all.
I don’t think Mike has eight rounds in him. The life he’s led over the last 15 years – the drinking, the drugs… to then turn around and say: I’m going to do eight rounds with Roy Jones? That sounds like Mission Impossible to me.
Yeah, you look great in your 20-30 second Instagram clips. But that’s not eight rounds of boxing. And I’ve heard he’s still smoking… so how are you going to have the lung capacity?
It’s going to come down to the first few rounds – Mike’s going to throw big shots and as long as Roy doesn’t get caught with anything crazy, he’s got it in the bag.
Eubank Jr doubts whether Tyson can withstand eight rounds and labels it ‘Mission Impossible’
This week in training I’ve been emulating Mike’s body movements. Swaying the head from side to side, the pressure – I would just come at Roy. He’s moving around, getting used to what Mike is going to do. I’d grab him, wrestle with him and clinch because we think that’s what Mike’s going to do: use his weight and presence to try and bully Roy.
They say power is the last thing to go as you get older, so that’s going to work in Mike’s favour. I haven’t tested Roy’s chin but he has been having full-contact spars with some big boys and I haven’t seen him get hurt in this whole camp.
For a while we trained in Pittsburgh, in this cabin in a forest in the middle of nowhere. Complete isolation, which is what he says he likes and needs before a fight. He’s been there for quite a few of his fights and there is nothing there. You can’t even order Ubers, Uber eats. Nothing.
That was a big problem for me because I don’t cook and the hotel I stayed in had shut down their restaurant because of Covid. I had to drive into Pittsburgh and buy a load of meals and put them the fridge.
Eubank Jr has been training with Jones Jr (above) in complete isolation in the fight’s build-up
What else can you do? You watch movies, you talk, you relax. Most of the time I just gave Roy his own space. I brought my Xbox so I had something to do.
The training itself wasn’t any different. But the way he trains, the way he thinks is what sets him apart – his knowledge of this game, which is obviously what he’s been teaching me over the last year.
People always say he was such an incredible athlete but a lot of it comes down to his boxing IQ. The most eye-opening thing was definitely his thought process – how to bait and trick an opponent into doing things, how to paint pictures and then deviate from that. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s gold.
Come Saturday night, I’m going to try and be in the corner – even if I’m passing up water, I’m happy with that!
IDENTITY OF NEXT OPPONENT REVEALED SOON
I’ve been told that within the next week I will find out who I’m going to fight and a date.
I haven’t fought since December 2019 against Mat Korobov and that went one round. But at this stage I’ll take whatever.
With this pandemic, you can’t really be picky. Beating James DeGale last February was a great win, a big win. But we need more. We need to get these titles at middleweight. And if not, at super-middleweight.
There’s so much more left in the tank, I’m 31, so I don’t want to – and I can’t – wait around.
Eubank Jr expects to be told the identity of his next opponent and the date in the near future
CANELO WILL DOMINATE CALLUM SMITH BOUT
Next month, Callum Smith faces Canelo Alvarez.
Smith’s performance against John Ryder was very lacklustre and exposed a lot of weaknesses. Canelo is just a superior, more advanced version of Ryder, so I don’t see how Smith has much of a chance.
He can punch, he’s got heavy hands but Canelo has a good chin, so I don’t see that being much of a fight. Canelo will be very dominant.
MY HIT LIST FOR 2021
1. Canelo Alvarez
2. Gennady Golovkin
3. Jermall Charlo