Chris Eubank was entering the ring for his first fight with Nigel Benn in 1990 when he was caught by a crushing blow he didn’t expect.

Eubank was in the final minutes before the biggest fight of his life and the first of 24 world title fights, waiting to hear his Tina Turner opening song “Simply the best.”

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But Eubank’s attention was interrupted when someone – at the behest of team member Benn – turned off the sound system at the NEC in Birmingham, England.

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Without his usual opening song, which became part of watching Eubank’s fights as his mid-fight posturing, Eubank entered the ring with no music and mostly taunts.

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Eubank may have been familiar and comfortable in the heel role, but being the victim of such a prank by Benn’s team was an unwelcome departure from his pre-fight routine. But this was typical of the animosity between Eubank and Benn, which contributed to good publicity and compulsive viewing.

No matter how tumultuous the pre-fight events are this week leading up to Saturday’s fight, the relationship between Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr will seem amicable compared to how their fathers interacted with each other in the 1990s. Conor poking fun at Chris Jr.’s self-imposed ban on sex and Chris Jr posting videos of him eating fast food on social media are tame compared to the militancy and despite Eubank’s insistence that he never hated Nigel Benn, they had an extreme hatred for each other.

“I find this man intolerable,” Eubank said 32 years ago. “He has no class as I see it.”

“Personally, I hate him,” Benn said, and repeated it as he sat next to Eubank and signed for their first fight in 1990.

The couple’s identities and biography became known to millions of people across the UK who enjoyed their public disputes.

Besides the fact that the rivalry has become less intense, this weekend’s fight does not have the same scale as Benn-Eubank did three decades ago. When Benn and Eubank fought their second fight in 1993 in front of 42,000 spectators at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s home stadium, it was watched by 16.5 million people on free-to-air television across the UK.

Conor vs. Chris Jr. will generate a lot of interest, but will fight in front of a net with less than half the crowd that was at Benn Eubank II, and the streaming channel for boxing fans will see little viewership. a faction compared to the TV viewers, who tuned in to their fathers’ last tinderbox fight.

Benn and Eubank were among the most famous sports stars in the early 1990s in the UK, at a time when boxing was shown on free-to-air television. Eubank’s ridiculous posture, shameless arrogance and eccentric behavior outraged and amused the audience. Benn, like the Brighton boxer’s other opponents, was furious at Eubank’s claim that boxing was “a fool’s game”.

“It’s like two minds that are far apart, the street brain and the public brain,” Eubank said of his rival.

East Londoner Benn, who served five years in the British Army before turning pro in 1987, overcame an early loss to Michael Watson before winning the WBO middleweight title and then stopped Iran Barkley in Las Vegas in first defense.

Eubank, originally from south London, moved to New York as a child where he learned to box before returning to England to live in Brighton. From there, Eubank became a household name, aided by his pomp, ring jumps, fashion sense, and bizarre antics.

Benn had a late fight to gain weight before the first fight but got off to a good start with body attacks slowing down Eubank, who bit his tongue when he was caught with an uppercut in the fourth round. However, Eubank recovered bravely and landed several hard punches to cover one of Benn’s eyes due to swelling, and crushed Benn with a flurry of unanswered shots in the ninth round.

“I peed blood for two or three days,” Eubank said after the fight.

There was supposed to be a rematch, but Eubank kept Benn waiting. He fought twice and defeated Michael Watson, who suffered fatal injuries after the second fight. Eubank was followed by several easy matches until a 1993 rematch with Benn. This time, Eubank’s participation in the fight for unification of the super middleweight titles went without problems.

Known as the “Dark Destroyer”, Benn scored a point for a low blow and in close quarters Benn had a strong final round to end another classic encounter. It ended in a draw, which infuriated Benn, but many could not separate them. Was set for a third fight, but it never happened. Benn fought Gerald McClellan, an American who was paralyzed and blinded by injuries sustained in a stoppage loss to Benn and ended his career in 1996 after his second of two losses to Ireland’s Steve Collins. Eubank also lost twice to Collins and his career finally ended in 1998 after losing three in a row to young Joe Calzaghe and twice to Carl Thompson in the heavyweight division.

Benn and Eubank both won world titles in two weight classes, participating in several epic meetings – it is unlikely that their sons could repeat this feat.

Even after their boxing careers, when they both appeared on a TV show called Gladiator in 2003, the pair clashed on set and had to be separated after the bout threatened to escalate into Benn Eubank III.

Despite their family history, a resurgence of one of boxing’s greatest rivalries for Benn-Eubank III was not inevitable.

When their sons entered the boxing profession, a match seemed unlikely as Chris Jr. fights at middleweight (and at one time super middleweight) and Conor is two divisions down at welterweight. 26-year-old Conor (21-0, 14 KOs) is also seven years younger than Chris Jr. (33-2, 23 KOs). Their careers seemed to be far apart until a couple of months ago.

Benn’s low form, lack of current opportunities for him at welterweight, and Gennady Golovkin fighting other contenders than Eubank at middleweight combine to make Eubank-Benn III a shot without any of the initial bullshit or anyone calling to fight.

Luckily, we never saw Benn, 58, and Eubank, 56, meet for the third time in recent years – it’s been talked about – but an intriguing and high-quality brawl between their elite-level sons lets us recall one of the most spectacular fights ever. in boxing history.