IF Sam Eggington had an old overcoat and Jon Pegg owned a fedora, they would look like the last two fighting dandies on the street.

In their Fifties clobber, they could very well have just left the offices and basement gym in Soho of Jack Solomons. In every picture ever taken of fight people in the Fifties they are always protected against the coldest storm in history; hat, gloves, scarf, overcoat the size of a medium Persian rug. And a giant, smouldering cigar. Pegg and Eggington would fit right in.

In their ancient costumes, Pegg and Eggington could make their way to a coffee shop in Soho to discuss an offer of 50 guineas to fight a kid from South Africa at Harringay Arena. They are not just throwbacks; they are genuine men from boxing history. It seems like they have spent over 10 years talking about offers.

We often use words like ducker, diver, survivor, hustler and fixer in boxing like they are insults, a description to make you wary. Forget that interpretation, in every decade of the modern game, being a ducker, a diver, a survivor, a hustler and a fixer should be a compliment. And that goes for men and women on both sides of the ropes. It particularly applies to the most successful men in our business. The very wealthiest have found ways to survive, to outlast the fighters and overcome massive setbacks.

Sam Eggington has fought 42 times since his debut as a teenager in 2012, won 34 and lost eight times. He started off way down the bill, nicking about a grand in cash for a fight on the road one night in Swansea against an unbeaten local fighter. Jon Pegg was the same when he boxed. No glamour. Pegg walked away after eight fights. Eggington continued to fight in the shadows. They are a team, the odd couple.

Eggington and Pegg fit the description several times over of boxing survivors. No chance at the start, hard fights, defeats, often dismissed by boxing clowns, great wins against the odds, humility and constant learning. It is all real stuff, success against the form and the house fighter. And paydays that they could have only dreamed about that long, long night when they drove back from Swansea.

“Sam has beaten eight unbeaten men,” said Pegg. “Not many fighters have beaten that many unbeaten men. Take a look – it’s just part of the story.” Pegg is right, by the way.

Eggington lost in [i]Prizefighter[i] in his fourth fight. He was still a kid; it was 2014 and seven fights and 15 months later, he was the British welterweight champion, and he was still only 21. Nobody saw that coming. He added the European – the real European, not a can of soup version – in 2017. Also, think about how many bold and stupid and boring claims there are that some promising but over-protected fighter is going to win a British and world title by the time he is 20 or 21. Sam and Peggy just got on with it; no hype, just fight, could be their mantra.

“They were great days,” said Eggington. “It was all happening so fast, and I was still learning.” Then, between 2017 and 2019, there were three losses in six fights in a short period. There was misguided talk that the hard apprenticeship had taken a toll and that he was, at just 24 or 25, finished. No, as he said, he was still learning.

Since losing to Liam Smith in 2019, Eggington has been on a great run. He has lost two wafer-thin decisions, won a few belts and has looked better each time he steps into the ring. He has also been in a couple of fight-of-the-year contenders. “My fights are not as hard as people think – I do what I want,” Eggington told me.

A few weeks ago in Bournemouth, after the win over Joe Pigford, Eggington got back to the hotel after the fight, went to his room, got his stuff and drove home to Birmingham. It was the act of a road warrior. “I just wanted to get back to my family,” Eggington said last week in Cannock. “That’s just Sam – no party, no celebration. He fights, he leaves. That’s it and it has always been that way,” added Pegg.

In the Pigford fight, Eggington looked like a different kid to the boy/man he so often was in some of his thrilling wins and losses. He has matured, he has adapted and right now he might just be at his very best. The truth is that many thought his best was a few years and a few losses ago. That is surviving and thriving in the harshest of sports. Eggington is getting better at a time when many thought he would no longer be a contender. That career trajectory must be just about the oldest of old-school moves; nobody else in British boxing is quite like Eggington. Some have fought more often, lost more, won more, but Eggington had that harsh start and just two fights ago he was boxing on the inaugural dinner show at Scott Murray’s Excelsior Club. The Excelsior even sounds like something Jack Solomon’s dreamed up.

“So, in a Sam Eggington dream world, who would you like to fight?” I asked him last week. “Antonio Margarito. I hear he’s coming back – that would be a great fight if he needs an opponent,” he told me. I never saw that one coming. If they ever have fights in five-foot square rings, I think we might have found the first classic.

“There are a lot offers right now,” said Pegg. “We are looking – there is no rush, Sam is just getting started.” It might just be true; even Jack Solomons would be proud. Now, where is my tit-for-tat and my Cuban lah-di-dah.