By Eóin Kennedy: The dust has now settled on Liam Smith’s emphatic and unexpected knockout win over Chris Eubank Jr, and amid some of the silliness and confusion regarding an appeal from Eubank over an alleged elbow from Smith, one thing has never been more certain, and that’s that Liam Smith has never been sitting prettier in his fifteen-year professional career.
It’s well documented that the Liverpudlian has been a world champion already and has even shared the ring with boxing’s current star attraction, Saul Canelo Alvarez, so Smith is no stranger to big nights, but this victory felt like a coming out party for a fighter that’s seen so much of the game already.
There were murmurings last week that Eubank Jr’s team would be lodging an official appeal to the British Boxing Board of Control due to the now infamous alleged elbow of Smith to the head of Eubank.
It looked innocuous, and the consensus has been that an appeal would be thrown out, so there is no one getting overly excited about this development just yet. The most intriguing post-fight plot to come out of this fight is what decisions the two protagonists will make.
Will Eubank exercise the rematch clause and face Smith in his beloved Anfield Stadium? Or will Eubank opt for a rebuilding fight to regain his confidence? Will he stick with the legendary Roy Jones Jr as his trainer? That pairing seems to have been universally ridiculed since its inception. There’s a reason why. Eubank has looked like he’s become a novice all over again trying to implement Jones’ own style, a style that he will never be able to master. More questions than answers for Eubank.
What about Smith? Well, if Eubank does opt to trigger that rematch clause, he has no choice to make. He will be obliged to fight him, but Smith won’t mind that given that he just obliterated Eubank, and this fight would give him the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of fighting at Liverpool Football Club’s stadium.
If Eubank opts to rebuild, well, then Smith has what once would have seemed an outrageous option, and that option is a world title fight with Gennadiy Golovkin at middleweight. Once upon a time, this proposition would have been classified as Smith being a proverbial lamb to the slaughter, but not now.
Golovkin has slowed down considerably, and with Smith currently moving with great momentum, this fight may go down as Smith catching a once-great champion at the perfect time. Smith also has options at light-middleweight, where he is still highly ranked. Therefore, after a long career, he can put his feet up for because whatever happens next, promoters are going to be calling Liam Smith. And he is going to get paid.