George Groves believes that Brian McIntyre is a “great” appointment as Chris Eubank Jr’s new trainer – as long as it is not too late for the middleweight to change his ways.
Groves convincingly outboxed Eubank Jr in 2018, for an occasion on which his opponent’s preparations were relatively amateurish, and Eubank Jr has since repeatedly changed trainer, most recently turning to McIntyre after his separation from Roy Jones Jr.
McIntyre, the trainer of the great Terence Crawford, will lead Eubank Jr into Saturday’s rematch with Liam Smith as he attempts to recover from losing for the first time via stoppage, but as another fighter who changed trainers with mixed success Groves recognises that McIntyre is being asked to do too much in too little time.
“Eubank's been guilty of having a lot of people around him who are not old-school boxing heads, but Brian knows his stuff, so it’s a great hook-up,” Groves, speaking on behalf of Genting Casino, told ProBox TV. “But I don’t know whether it's enough time for him to actually make a difference.
“He's got to be 34 [Eubank is actually 33] now. You kind of get stuck in your ways. You can make some subtle adjustments, but you need time for that. You would need to have been in the gym for four or five months for those subtle adjustments to come out. I don't think we're going to see too much of a different Eubank, but if he's got an experienced quality team in the corner and they’ve got Eubank's ear, then that will help on fight night to guide him in the right direction.”
Eubank Jr had started to prepare for the 35-year-old Smith with the assistance of Jones Jr and David Haye, Groves’ former stablemate. That he has since recruited McIntyre is a reflection of the sense of chaos that has often characterised his career,
“The first fight [with Smith] was bizarre,” Groves continued. “Eubank has lots of good attributes. But there is something missing and he’d always fall short at the very top level against a good fighter. And I thought that was a bit of a bizarre fight for him to fight Liam Smith. When the fight was made, I was talking to some of the people that take care of Eubank and I was like, ‘Not sure that's the right way to go’.
“I don't see him beating Smith. I think Smith is a good, well-rounded fighter. He's big enough at middleweight to not get bullied off the pot. He's smart enough and patient enough to get Eubank at some point. I don't think he'll just catch him and blow him away like he did last time, unless Eubank has now lost all his punch resistance. Or maybe he was tight at the weight, or he had an infection or something going into that last fight that sort of threw him off; you assume that there must have been something.
“And Smith must be preparing for something totally different this time around. But I think he still beats him. I think Eubank's best days have probably passed him now. He was probably at his peak when he fought me, which was six years ago now, so time has moved on quite a lot and you've had inactivity through Covid and a bunch of other problems and he's had this high-profile knockout loss against Smith.”