Liam Smith faces Sam Eggington tonight on DAZN, wants Munguia rematch
By Scott Gilfoid: Still smarting from his loss to WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia last July, the gray-haired Liam Smith (26-2-1, 14 KOs) is taking a stay busy/confidence booster type fight tonight against struggling Sam Eggington (24-5, 14 KOs) in the main event on DAZN and Sky Sports at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
Eggington has lost two out of his last five fights, and is coming into tonight’s contest having recently been blown out in two rounds by Hassan Mwakinyo last September. Despite all that, Eddie Hearn still thinks Eggington is a swell opponent for Smith to headline against. Hearn could be right. Eggington is an all action fighter, who is catching the aging Smith off the back of a hard fight against the powerful Munguia. The reason Smith lost to Munguia was because of the fast pace the Mexican fighter set. Eggington fights in the same way Munguia does in throwing a lot of punches, and not letting his opponents rest. Eggington doesn’t posses the same power and size as Munguia obviously, but he’s still more than a handful for a guy like Smith. If Smith can’t get Eggington out of there early the way Mwakinyo did, we might see an upset tonight. If that happens, Smith will be pining away for a rematch not just against Munguia, but also Eggington.
Smith wants to avenge his loss to Munguia in the worst way, as he believes he has more talent than him, and he feels that that he can fix the mistakes he made in that fight by facing the young 22-year-old Golden Boy fighter in a rematch if possible. It’s to the point now where Smith is sounding obsessed with trying to avenge the loss to Munguia.
With Smith looking passed the Eggington fight towards a rematch with Munguia that he badly wants, there’s a chance he could lose tonight. Eggnington doesn’t have the same mental baggage that he’s carrying around from his own recent losses to Hassan Mwakinyo and Mohamed Mimoune. Eggington seems to have shrugged his shoulders after those losses, and has moved on without looking back. In contrast, Smith is clearly troubled by his loss to Munguia. He doesn’t seem to realize that he just didn’t have the youth or the punch resistance to take the withering fire from the young Munguia. That’s the whole reason Smith lost to Munguia. He just didn’t posses the the youth and ability to take the heavy shots to the body that he kept getting hit with the entire fight without fading from the effects of those blows. Munguia is a major puncher. Unless you’ve got first class power of a talent like Jarrett Hurd or Jermell Charlo that you can throw back at him to discourage his attacks, you’re going to wind up losing the way Smith did.
Smith didn’t take his loss to Saul Canelo Alvarez nearly as hard as he is his defeat at the hands of the young Munguia. Perhaps it’s the age of Munguia that is bugging Smith so much. He lost to a guy that is just barely old enough to drink alcohol, and it was a fight that he had could have won had he come into the contest with a better engine.
“I’ll be honest straight up, I can’t get the Jaime Munguia loss out my system no matter how hard I try,” said Smith to skysports.com in talking about his loss to Munguia from his last fight. “I’ve watched the fight back and there’s no way that I can say that he’s a better fighter than me. He won fair and square but going into the fight…I’d fought Liam Williams the previous November and then I had to wait for nine months for the fight with Munguia. He was fighting quite regularly and I think that extra bit of preparation gave him a big advantage,” Smith said in trying to make sense out of his loss to Munguia, and coming up with some ideas for what went wrong.
If Smith, #13 WBO, had other options to win a world title at 154, he could go after one of the other champions in the division. However, the other champions at junior middleweight, Jarrett Hurd [IBF/WBA] and Tony Harrison [WBC] are arguably better fighters than Munguia, and would be much tougher guys for Smith to try and dethrone. As such, Smith is completely fixated on Munguia, replaying the loss in his head, and thinking what could have been what could be in the future if he makes adjustments in his game.
It sounds like Smith isn’t willing to admit that he lost to the better man in the Munguia on the night. In looking back at that fight, it’s pretty easy to see what went wrong for Liam. The fight was competitive in the first five rounds, but once the heavy-handed Munguia started hitting Smith in the break basket with power shots with both hands, he ran out of gas quickly and took punishment. Smith hit the deck in the sixth round after taking a hard body shot from Munguia. From that point on, Smith went on hasty retreat that looked like he was scrambled out of sorts. Watching Smith retreat around the ring in the second half of the contest with Munguia, it reminded this writer of an old car breaking apart with pieces of the machine falling onto the roadway as it labored up a steep hill. Smith had noting left in the last half of the fight, and he was battered by the young Munguia. If there’s a way that Smith can improve enough to beat Munguia in a rematch, he’s going to have to show that he has the conditioning needed for him to handle the fast pace that the Mexican talent likes to fight at. It’s more than that though. Smith will need to handle the body shots that the huge 5’11” Munguia will be hitting him with the entire fight, because he’s not going to be able to block them. Munguia will his way though the guard of Smith, and he’ll force him to take those shots. Since Smith isn’t a mover, he’ll need to beat Munguia in a war of attrition, which won’t be easy to do because he’s not as young or as powerful as him.
Smith’s two grueling wars with Liam Williams, as well as his loss to Canelo Alvarez took a lot out of him. Going into the Munguia fight, this wasn’t the same Smith that had defeated John Thompson, ‘Jimmy’ Kilrain Kelly and Predrag Radosevic in consecutive fights. Smith was at his best in those fights, as he dominated guys that were clearly a level below him in the talent department. After those three defeats, Smith was at the zenith of his career going into hi fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez in September 2016. Unfortunately for Smith, he couldn’t handle the fast pace that he’d used as his game plan to beat Canelo. The game plan was an excellent one by Smith, but he didn’t have the engine to carry out the plan, and he wound up getting hammered by Smith from the fifth round until the bitter end in the ninth.
A better fight for Smith than him waiting on a rematch with Munguia, that might not ever come about, would be a fight against fellow Matchroom Boxing stable fighter Kell Brook. Promoter Eddie Hearn has spoken of wanting to put the two together. However, Brook is still waiting for the Amir Khan fight, so he’s not going to want to take a potentially risky contest against Liam before he faces him. Brook will likely take soft fights for as long as he has to so that he doesn’t get beaten again before he gets the Khan fight. However, once those two face each other in a year or two, Smith will likely get his chance to fight Brook.
“I want to be looking at a massive fight against one of the world champions or even maybe a big domestic fight with Kell Brook,” Smith said.