BOXING: Eubank follows victory with dose of the verbals

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The Independent Online


reports from Belfast

Chris Eubank's sharp jabs and solid head left Bruno Godoy weeping blood from two wounds in less than one round, and the fighter's malevolent tendencies continued at the post-fight analysis at the King's Hall here on Saturday night.

Godoy's questionable resistance was not put to the test, and instead a split on the bridge of his nose and a gash above his left eye led to his predictable downfall. It was all over in 2.45sec of the first round, but the fight was always destined to be little more than a physical preamble to Eubank's vicious thoughts on his rematch with Steve Collins.

In March Eubank lost his unbeaten record and his World Boxing Organisation super-middleweight title to Collins, the calculating Dubliner. It was a bad- tempered, highly entertaining fight and Collins employed a series of dubious tactics which angered Eubank but brought a smile to many at ringside that night.

"If Collins is a true champion then I urge him not to gouge my face, not to trip me up and not to use a hypnotist when we meet again," said Eubank, who promised to knock Collins out at a press conference if there was any funny business. It was gloriously naive stuff.

"He should fight me fair and square. It doesn't matter if he brings the devil into the ring with him because I will annihilate him," he went on. "He is a cheat, who is not worthy of the support of the Irish people. I have contempt for the man and I will bang him out next time."

Before their last fight the British Boxing Board of Control were concerned at alleged racist comments by Collins and an ugly quip by Eubank that the fight would be to the death. Collins, a fighter blessed with an advanced sense of humour, has been grinning ever since. But the men who control the sport were not amused then and are unlikely to be amused by the tone of Eubank's latest comments.

"I never used a hypnotist. I was just getting Eubank at it because I know he doesn't like the crack," Collins said at the time. The ruse flustered Eubank, and as the hard sell for their rematch started in earnest on Saturday night, in a room next to the one where Godoy's eye and nose were being repaired, it was clear that the self-confessed dandy from Hove is still smarting.

There is also intrigue surrounding financial details of the rematch. Collins has asked his promoter, Barry Hearn, who also promotes Eubank, to put the fight out to purse offers, and the WBO will reveal the highest bid on Wednesday.

Frank Warren is rumoured to be interested in staging the fight, and Hearn could barely contain his truculence when his rival's name was mentioned. "Frank Warren has not won it yet," he replied. "Anyway, I would still get my percentage if he does win it."

Eubank finally left to catch a private jet. "The pressure is off me," he said. "I have lost but I'm not a loser." It was impossible to deduce from Saturday's brief fling if Eubank is still capable of beating decent fighters like Collins.