CHRIS EUBANK SR cast doubt on whether his son can defeat James DeGale this weekend just two days before the British super-middleweight rivals collide at the O2 Arena.
DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr traded several barbs at Thursday’s heated press conference, regularly talking over one another.
But it was the former’s father who stole the headlines when he said he was “petrified of what the outcome could be”.
Rather than being fearful of his son taking sustained punishment, the former two-weight world champion’s comments seemed to reflect on DeGale’s ability to win and perhaps deprive Eubank Jr of pay-per-view status.
Saturday’s bout is being screened in the United Kingdom on ITV Box Office, a platform Eubank Sr says could rival established broadcasters Sky and BT in the future.
Eubank Sr said: “This is most certainly a 50-50 fight, and for the first time I am petrified of what the outcome could be.
“We have worked – and I’m talking about Team Eubank – two and a half years to stay on this channel, ITV. I have been the one pushing for this pay-per-view channel to come alive.
“We can actually bring that back to a channel, ITV, that is eight or nine times bigger than Sky.
“I’ve been staying in for the business and for my son to actually realise the benefits of the price I’ve paid for all these years. So I am petrified that he may not win this fight.”
Eubank Sr thinks his son has the physical edge but feels DeGale’s status as an Olympic gold medallist and former champion at 168lbs means he cannot be underestimated.
Asked whether he thought his son would win the bout for the lightly-regarded vacant IBO title, Eubank Sr added: “No I’m not convinced because James DeGale has pedigree.
“[DeGale has] the pedigree that is spoken about in terms of gold medallists and former world champions. Junior hasn’t.
“From a physical aspect, Junior has the upper hand but from a spiritual aspect and from a pedigree aspect, James may have the upper hand, so it’s a 50-50 fight and bigger than the IBO championship is a pay-per-view platform which is gargantuan.”
Eubank Jr has won 27 of his 29 professional contests but his two losses have come when he has stepped up a class in opposition – against Billy Joe Saunders in 2014 and George Groves last year.
DeGale, who has also lost to Groves and whose record stands at 25-2-1, thinks another defeat to a high-profile opponent will leave his foe with no choice but to retire.
Turning to address Eubank Jr, DeGale said: “You’re a deluded moron, you’re pathetic and on Saturday night I can’t wait to deal with you.
“It’s all dawned on him, the retirement fight is here. He’s finished, it’s his last fight, I promise you that. He’s going to get a schooling.
“I’m proven. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, I’ve won everything. You are an idiot, you’ve won nothing and I’m going to beat and retire you.”
Eubank Jr acknowledged the losing fighter would be left with nowhere to turn, saying: “We’re both at a stage where we can’t lose. That’s why this fight is so exciting to watch because it’s two fighters fighting for their careers.
“I’m just happy to be in a position where I know that he knows he’s not going to be able to bring the heat. He’s going into the ring thinking ‘Can I survive?’, and the answer is ‘Absolutely not!’”