Darren Barker believes Conor Benn is not only the stronger puncher but also, the better boxer than Chris Eubank Jr going into their fight next Saturday on October 8th, on DAZN pay-per-view.
It’s hard to imagine Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) being the better boxer than Eubank Jr (32-2, 23 KOs) because many of his fights have involved a lot of slugging, not much in the way of boxing.
If Benn had fought better opposition against fighters like Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, Errol Spence Jr, and Terence Crawford, we’d have seen him develop his boxing skills out of necessity.
But with Benn having been matched against fighters like Chris Algieri, Sebastian Formella, and Samuel Vargas, he hasn’t had to develop his skills to avoid getting knocked out.
Eubank Jr is one of the better middleweights, but not on the level of Jermall Charlo, Janibek Alimkhanuly, and Gennadiy Golovkin.
If Eubank Jr was on that level, it’s fair to say that Benn’s promoter Eddie Hearn wouldn’t let him anywhere near him because he would have no chance. The reason Hearn is letting Benn fight Eubank Jr is because he’s been an underachiever his entire career and has done nothing since his loss to George Groves in 2018.
“100%, the weight is crucial in this contest,” said Darren Barker to DAZN Boxing. “Like you said right there, it’s a fantasy fight, and a fight I can’t wait to watch.
“Can you imagine the atmosphere right before their ring walk? It’s going to be epic. I think it’s perfect timing for both. The weight is the only issue.
“For me, when you talk technically, I think Conor Benn is certainly the better boxer out of the two. The way he’s improved out of the early days. If you reference the hard fight, he had with Cedrick Peynaud.
“How much he’s improved under Tony Sims since then is incredible. There’s fault in his work. He’s always setting traps. He’s always trying to find openings, whereas, don’t get me wrong, Chris Eubank Jr has improved a lot under Roy Jones Jr.
“What we’re seeing is something we’ve never seen in all his precious fights other than [Liam] Williams fight perhaps before. He’s actually starting to throw the jab now. He knocked Williams down with a jab.
“I think that shot is crucial for Chris Eubank in this fight because we know that Conor Benn likes to throw the jab to the body. He’s always piercing that jab into the body, looking for a reaction.
“There’s a shot that they work on quite a lot in the Tony Sims gym. It’s called the ‘Roberto Duran.’ It’s a jab to the body, get the reaction, get the parry and then fire with the right hand.
“One thing I’ve noticed with Chris Eubank, even more so now, is how he’s adopted the Roy Jones rhythm. What that does is he has a low lead hand. So if you are going to work that Duran shot, which I’m sure Conor will, that jab to the body.
“You’ll get the reaction. The hand is going to stay low, and you come firing back with the right hand. That’s straightaway the shot Conor will look for in this contest. For me, Chris Eubank will be the bigger, but I wouldn’t say the more physically stronger because he’s a beast, Conor Benn.
“He needs to get that strength into the contest, that size into the contest. He finishes strong, Chris Eubank. I wouldn’t necessarily say a slow starter, but in a lot of fights against George Groves and a couple of others, he takes breaks. There’s a few and far between with the work that he does.
“I just feel in this contest that he may leave it a little later to see how that engine holds up. I don’t think he can afford to do that against Conor Benn, who is busy. He’s always looking to let his hands go.
“He’s sort of fearless about what’s coming back. He just wants to let his hands go. What that enables him to do is win rounds because he’s so busy.
“If you’re Chris Eubank and there is that little niggle where you’re worried about the weight. Before you know it, you’re in the tenth, eleventh rounds, and you’re thinking, ‘Hold on, I’m playing catch-up.’
“It’s a really interesting fight where I can see ways for both winning and losing this. This isn’t just a boxing fan’s fight. This is a sports fans’ fight. This is a crossover. People who are sports fans are going to see the news and remember that fight, and they’re going to tune in. This is going to be an event,” said Barker.