Chris Eubank Snr has been hailed as a hero for telling his son, Chris Eubank Jr, to take it easy on Nick Blackwell after the 8th round of Saturday’s British middleweight title fight.
A video emerged of the former boxer telling his son to aim for Blackwell’s body, rather than the head, in order to prevent him from suffering a potentially serious injury.
Blackwell, 25, still ended up suffering a bleed on the brain and remains in an induced coma in hospital - and Nelson, the former WBO cruiserweight champion and current boxing pundit, feels Eubank Snr was simply offering his son tactical tips.
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"What Chris said was, 'the only way you are going to stop him is throwing shots to the body'. It wasn't out of concern [for Nick Blackwell] that Chris was saying don't go to the face,” Nelson told talkSPORT.
"He was saying the only way you are going to stop this guy is by going to the body. That's what he was saying.
"Let's not get silly and jump on this bandwagon and say Chris saw something we didn't see. If Chris could have got Junior to knock him out, he would have got him to knock him out.
"He knew Nick Blackwell was very strong and he was trying to get him stopped to the body. Obviously it is a concern but it was not his major concern."
"Chris would have seen one or two things and thought this kid is tough but nobody at any stage until Nick Blackwell was taken out on a stretcher saw it at all."
Eubank Snr insists he was protecting Blackwell
This is at odds with what Eubank Snr told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.
The 49-year-old insisted he feared for his son’s opponent’s health and wanted to protect the fighter from Junior’s “powerful and dangerous” punches.
"Even in sparring, I tell Junior to stay away from the head because his punching is fast, powerful and dangerous, so most certainly I was saying this to protect the fighter," he was quoted as saying by the Mirror. "He had the fight won. This is a dangerous sport and we are real."
Eubank Jr. confirms he took it easy on Blackwell
Eubank Jr. also confirmed that he was taking it easy on Blackwell, fearing the Trowbridge pugilist was struggling and needed the referee to intervene.
“I had spared my uppercuts,” the 26-year-old was quoted as saying by the Guardian. “I thought this guy is hurt. I took it down a notch. I was playing.
“I’d won the fight, so I thought let’s put on a little bit of a show because people are still watching. I wasn’t throwing as many punches.”
Was Chris Eubank Snr protecting Nick Blackwell - or is Johnny Nelson speaking the truth? Have your say by leaving a comment below.