A Family Affair: Father and Son in Boxing
The recent Eubank vs Golovkin saga that eventually led to what initially looks like an opportunity lost for Chris Eubank Junior (23-1, 18 KO’s) has made us think deeper around the unique dynamics a father and son in boxing team gives, and look to other family pairings to further understand the decision to turn away from a potential seven figure pay day and the chance to gain the exposure granted by facing a pound for pound king.
We will never know the intricacies of the Eubank’s matchmaking process.
On the outside, it appears that the demands from the camp around who commentates, ticket prices and who fights on the undercard may have led to negotiations breaking down and that senior may have overplayed their hand, thus leading Eddie Hearn ever the businessman to swoop in and present Golovkin (35-0, 32 KO’s) with an attractive offer of a naturally smaller Brook (36-0, 25 KO’s).
An opportunity Brook drastically needed as the big names have been hard to come by.
But, and a big but, did the father-son dynamic in the Eubank camp intentionally throw away this opportunity? From a financial point of view, any manager or coach would take their cut of the supposed seven figure fight fee in a heart beat.
Such a large financial opportunity is too big too risk for trivial matters to stop the party.
However, from a tactical point of view with senior having such an obvious unwavering belief in the ability of his son and heir, perhaps it is he who has played the hand to perfection.
Junior is not quite at his peak yet and has a lot to learn, whilst that cannot be said about Golovkin who looks to be in the peak of his powers.
Perhaps it makes sense for Eubank Junior to sit this round out and let his stock grow whilst GGG beats Brook, resulting in reconvening the discussions for an opportunity in 9-12 months, where Junior’s margins of success will be a few marks higher.
If this strategy comes to fruition, it will be seen as a stroke of genius from the father-son team and an opportunity delivered out of emotion, rather than cold business.
The Calzaghe’s were another father-son team who delivered success, with father Enzo guiding his talented son to a perfect 46-0 career.
Joe seemed to be grounded by the tutelage of his father, choosing not to pursue the dazzling high risk pay days and favouring the sensible option through a long and flawless career.
Once again, perhaps a manager in a commercial relationship would of tempted Joe to chase the American fame and fortune at an earlier stage of his career, as opposed to the perfectly timed trips to fight Roy Jones Jr and Bernard Hopkins which resulted in fantastic victories for the Welshman – who left the business with his ‘0’ and his scruples.
Angel and Danny Garcia are another successful father and son team gunning for an unbeaten legacy.
Angel’s passion for his son’s abilities sometimes borders on insanity, however this unique relationship has steered Danny to a fantastic 32-0 record.
In a similar double act to the Eubank’s, Angel the father in the team, takes the limelight and pressure away from the fighter with his antics – leaving Danny Garcia to do what he does best.
Having the unwavering support and genuine belief that his son is unbeatable does wonders for Danny’s confidence and has proven to get him through tough tests that perhaps he would not have the appetite for if his father wasn’t by his side.
On the flip side of the positive relationships, there have also been horror stories.
We only have to look to the Mayweather dynasty, besieged with on line spats and apparent arguments mid-camp that would probably force a lesser man to crumble.
The Mayweather’s in a heated exchange on HBO’s 24/7:
Even more spectacular is the Roy Jones Junior-Senior combination that gave us one of the slickest boxers of all time, which is a tribute to Roy Senior training Roy on the fundamentals from such a young age.
However this did not make for a happy childhood, with Roy’s well documented issues outside of the ring being attributed to the pressures of his father and his particular brand of childcare.
Roy had his father in the corner for the third match against Antonio Tarver, when losing by a wide margin and looking a shadow of his former self.
Roy pretty much explained that he didn’t want his father to get the credit for a victory. Hence the loss.
It is difficult to say what side of the fence team Eubank will fall on in this long history of father-son boxing duos and time will tell whether the fatherly guidance will prove to build a legacy, or hold Chris Eubank Junior back.
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