''This was about a man who had.... balls'' - Chris Eubank recalls rivalry with Steve Collins

The Dublin man beat Eubank twice in 1995

''This was about a man who had.... balls'' - Chris Eubank recalls rivalry with Steve Collins

© Billy Stickland/INPHO

Twenty-one years have passed since Chris Eubank suffered twice under the paw of Steve Collins and lost his grip of the WBO World Super Middleweight title forever.

And to this day, Eubank can accept that Collins was the winner but when it comes to the technical definition of whether or not Collins beat him in the first fight, Eubank remains sceptical.

In an interview with Johnny Watterson of the Irish Times, Eubank says:

“Collins beat me. Did he win it? I dropped him in the first round. I dropped him in the 10th round. Can’t lose a fight like that. But I understand. I’m sure there are three fights in my career I shouldn’t have won but I did.''

The preface to the first Eubank v Collins title fight back in 1995 was laced with colour. After 43 unbeaten fights, Eubank was an established champion, albeit an unpopular one due to his arrogance. Collins on the other hand was the challenger with the public on his side.

But more importantly, the Dublin fighter had one decisive tool in his fighting arsenal.

Collins employed the services of hypnotist Tony Quinn who allegedly trained Collins to ignore pain so he could outlast Eubank in the ring. And it was the prospect of fighting against someone who had mystical fighting methods beyond his comprehension, that spooked Eubank.

At the time of the fight, Eubank famously said:

''For the 43 fights I’ve had in the past I’ve always known what I was going in to. I don’t know what I’m dealing with tonight. I’m fighting someone that has been mechanically altered and that’s an unknown area. I shouldn’t be put into this situation.” 

But aside from those mild protestations, Eubank did agree to fight and this is how he summarises their rivalry 21 years on.

“This is the point. It wasn’t about Steve Collins. It wasn’t about an Irishman being the first to beat Chris Eubank. This was about the man who was champion of the world, who had . . .Balls, the balls to come to Ireland on St Patrick’s Day weekend and fight another Irishman when I didn’t need to. I came here twice. This is not about winning or losing. This is about balls. This is about defiance. Ireland. St Patrick’s Day. This is about spirit.''

And how does the result of the second fight sit with him?

“The second fight I should tell you . . . Collins didn’t have what it took to beat me. In truth, I was by far the superior fighter. By far. That second fight, no mind games, he beat me comprehensively. Not with skill. Not with strategic measures. Here is a man fighting with everything heroic about the spirit of the human.''

An interview with Chris Eubank will be played on Off The Ball this coming weekend, stay tuned to 106-108FM.