Does Liam Smith stand a chance against GGG?
By Sam Volz: Liam Smith says he wants a title shot against IBF & WBA middleweight champion Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin after he faces Chris Eubank Jr in a rematch.
Eubank Jr still hasn’t exercised the rematch clause he has in the contract, so there’s the possibility that Liam (33-3-1, 20 KOs) could look to challenge Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KOs) for his two straps if he’s interested in accepting that challenge.
The question is, does Smith stand a chance against the still powerful and lethal Golovkin, or would he be biting off more than he can chew going up against the legend?
While it’s great that Smith knocked out the 33-year-old Eubank Jr (32-3, 23 KOs) last weekend, but he may be getting a little ahead of himself by thinking that just because he beat that unaccomplished fighter, he can do the same thing against GGG.
For Smith fans, they argue that Golovkin is turning 41 in April, and he’s looked old & slow in his fights in the last four years against Canelo Alvarez, Ryota Murata, Kamil Szeremeta, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and Steve Rolls.
If the version that we saw of Golovkin in his trilogy fight against Canelo last September shows up against the powerful Liam Smith, you can’t rule out a victory for the Brit.
If your Golovkin, this might be a good time to let Liam know that he’s got an invitation to fight him next because it’s a contest that will get a lot of publicity worldwide, particularly in the UK.
Golovkin could then face Liam’s brother Callum Smith if he comes out victorious, thus setting up a ‘revenge of the brother’ scenario.
Liam Smith in great position at 160
“I fought Chris Eubank at Chris’ weight. 160 is Chris Jr’s best weight. Not 159, not 158, not 157,” said Liam Smith to the DAZN Boxing Show. “I stepped up to Chris’ weight. No catchweight fight, it was a middleweight fight, and I think that was the only reason why he was the favorite, and also, people looked into my age a little bit too much.
“Look, I know the gray hair doesn’t help me, but people are looking into my age a little bit too much. I’m 34, and Chris is 33. I think if you looked into it properly, I’m 34 with very, very good momentum at the moment. I always knew that would play a big part.
“Yeah, that’ll put me at a good position at 160. Also, I always said before, if I beat Chris Eubank Jr, it leaves me in a very good position, where it’s 154 or 160. If I beat Chris Eubank, it’s not going to harm my reputation. It’s not going to make me drop in the rankings.
“So, I thought if I beat Chris that leaves me in a very good position and I have even more options to gain. We know all the titles are tied up at the moment. [Jermell] Charlo holds all four of them, and he’s out injured at the moment. It just leaves me with good options now.
“I’m being told that I’m the best now,” said Liam when asked if he’s the best fighter in the Smith family. “When Callum fights in March, Callum will be the best again. It just adds to our story.
“Paul was the first national champion in the amateurs, and then Stephen was. It all went in line. Stephen was a special fighter. Stephen was the cleverest fighter out of all of us and probably still is. He was just unfortunate that he came up against two world champions, who put in career-best performances against himself.
“We know that Callum is a special fighter, who punches really, really hard. We just keep getting better,” said Liam.
Did Smith hurt Eubank Jr with his elbow?
“I just want to know which one was it, Chris? Was it the left uppercut that was the ‘Once in a lifetime’ or the left hook that I put you down? It was even five or six,” said Smith when told that Eubank Jr said that he landed a ‘Once in a lifetime’ punch that hurt him in round four.
“That’s why I feel going forward, that’s going to be a big decision for Chris. He has three or four weeks left to exercise that rematch clause,” said Liam when told that Eubank Jr’s ego took a hit with his embarrassing knockout defeat against him last Saturday night.
“Now for the ego and pride of the man. He sets the store on him being invincible; he’s got an invincible chin. Now he’s got to go watch that fight, be dropped, get up, stumble, and be stopped. That’s a big thing to do for a proud man who has never been hurt.
“He said before the fight, ‘I’ve never been hurt, dropped, standing count.’ He said he’s never done any of those things. Well, they all happened the other night, and he has to sit and take that in and decide what he wants to do in the rematch.
“I thought, ‘It won’t surprise me if he tries to come for me early and prove he’s the big 160.’ Then I always knew having Roy Jones over and going from his last performance against Liam Williams, he probably believed that he’s this really good, slick boxer now.
“He dropped Williams on his back foot a couple of times with his jab. So he probably took that into his own mind and thought, ‘I’m very good at this’ and though, ‘Liam is going to come for me with his hands high. I’ll do the same to him.’
“I was really expecting both and prepared for both. That’s why I had a short, stocky sparring partner. I think he’s 21-0.
Unfair criticism for Chris’ coach
“It’s a little bit unfair because your coach can only do so many things. You’re in the ring. Your coach can tell you one thing, and it might not work,” said Liam when told that Eddie Hearn said that Eubank Jr tried a little too hard to fight like his trainer Roy Jones Jr, and it didn’t work.
“You can work on a game plan for six weeks that might not work when you get in there. The fighter has got to revert. It was hard for Chris to do that. I feel Roy is getting a little too much unfair criticism. It doesn’t make Roy a bad coach.
“I feel Roy is a little bit better than this because Roy is getting stick. I saw a post that Roy put out the other day where he’s blaming an elbow. An elbow started this. A couple of posts where put out saying that I basically rocked Chris with an elbow first.
“There’s one, Johnny Nelson,” said Liam about one of the people that he wants to tell them that they got it wrong by choosing against him. “Johnny Nelson goes against the Smith every time. He always has, he always will. Johnny Nelson is one that I want to say, ‘You learn your lesson, mate because you get it wrong every time.’
Liam wants Golovkin fight
“I want to see how far I can go. This is probably the Autumn, and this is me final crack because I don’t need to stay in,” said Liam when asked what does he want to do before retiring. “I’m in it now because I want to, and there’s a couple of now that I want to accomplish. That was one of them.
“It was a huge fight with a sold-out arena. I just want to be involved in fights that people are talking about and capture the imagination of fans. I also want another crack at a world title. I’d like to become the first two-time world champion.
“I’d probably prefer 160 because then I’m a two-time, two-weight world champion. I think it adds to the legacy and the story. I can [eat more in camp].
“It felt nice at 160. I’m not going to lie, I felt great, and the energy levels on fight week were a lot better and a lot more than they were at 154. So I have a decision to make myself also.
“Not really. I’m not going to sit here and call Conor Benn out. Even after the Eubank Jr loss, he made fun of Eubank losing. He didn’t really mention fighting myself. I saw a lot of people Tweeting on social media ‘What about Benn against Liam Smith now?’ It might make sense, but we’ll see.
“My next three opponents would be Chris Eubank Jr at Anfield, GGG for the WBA & IBF titles, and then maybe a swan song in Liverpool, a bow out as champion,” said Smith.
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