By Jake Tiernan: Chris Eubank Jr. says Liam Smith’s mind tricks aren’t working to get under his skin ahead of their rematch this Saturday, September 2nd, at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Eubank Jr. has a new trainer, Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntyre, but he hasn’t had enough time to work with him to make huge improvements in his game. If Chris is going to win this fight, he’ll need to do it based on what he’s learned from his past coaches.
The Smith vs. Eubank Jr. ‘Repeat or Revenge?’ card will be shown on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on ESPN+ in the U.S. The U.S. start time for the event is at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT.
Smith (33-3-11, 20 KOs) has been reminding Eubank Jr. (32-3, 23 KOs) about what happened last January when he knocked Chris out in the fourth round, and he’s letting him know what’s in store for him on Saturday night in their headliner.
There’s a lot of speculation about why Eubank Jr fell apart last time they fought in a contest that he was expected to win against the 35-year-old Smith, who had lost to lesser fighters than him in the past.
“The boxing community knows that you can’t dent, you can’t get under my skin. I’ve been through too much. The skin is too thick,” said Chris Eubank Jr. to BOXXER about Liam Smith trying to mentally throw him off his game ahead of their rematch this Saturday night in Manchester, England.
Eubank Jr. still unproven on world level
“First off, you can’t discredit Liam Smith. He’s going to bring you what he brings you,” said Paulie Malignaggi to Boxing King Media about whether Liam Smith’s victory over Chris Eubank Jr. last January was aided by an elbow to the head that started it all off in round four.
“I don’t think it’s a shock when Liam brings that kind of intensity and that kind of a fight to you. I like to call Liam Smith a ‘meat & potatoes’ kind of guy. He has average skills, but he’s a high-level meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. He’s good steak. He’s not just an average meat & potatoes.
“He’s not going to wow you with super speed or superpower. He has respectable power, he’s got good respectable speed, and he’s got good fundamentals in terms of knowing when to put the combinations together. He knows how to physically wear you down and beat you up. You’re always going to get that out of Liam Smith.
“Sometimes, when guys are more special, they’re able to work their way around that. It was expected that Eubank, especially at this point in his career, and Liam is at this point in his career, it was expected to be a changing of the guard type of fight where Eubank uses Liam Smith’s name to kind of elevate himself.
“Eubank has had himself a good career, but he’s been a bigger name in the UK than on the world scene. He hasn’t quite gotten that big world-level win yet. Liam could have given him the opportunity to have that because Liam has been a big name in the UK and has been a big name on the world scene because he’s been a world champion,” said Malignaggi.
How could Smith hurt Eubank Jr?
“I think it was an opportunity at the right time. Liam’s best weight was 154, and now he’s at 160,” Malignaggi said. “It was the right time to make this fight and for Eubank to elevate himself off the name of a Bonefide ex-world champion, and it didn’t work out that way.
“Sometimes the ex-world champions have a little bit left in the tank. I don’t think Smith surprises what he brought. I think what was so shocking was Eubank getting hurt so randomly and not recovering.
“I seen Eubank throughout his career, and he’s always had a very good chin and been a durable guy whether he won or lost. So he’s always going to make you work for the win if you get it.
“He [Eubank Jr.] was doing really well in the fight, and then it turned upside down on him and imploded. I’ve never seen him get hurt like that and not be able to recover.
“Then you start the speculation because Liam Smith has never shown that kind of power for anybody else. He’s shown respectable power, but it’s never been that kind of power where you’re rocking a guy who has never hurt like that. So you’ve got to look beyond that.
“We’re not trying to take credit way from Liam Smith’s knockout, but we’re trying to figure out. Liam has never done that at that level in terms of that kind of knockout, and Eubank Jr. has never been hurt like that at that level. Maybe he’s come up short at that level against Billy Joe Saunders [and George Groves].
“You start to think, ‘What could have caused this? What could have caused him to get hurt?’ Was it the elbow? Was it the draining to make weight for the Conor Benn fight? Who knows? We’re working in imaginary figures; we’re working in what-ifs. We don’t know for sure,” said Paulie.
Is Eubank Jr. the faded guy?
“I’ve heard different scenarios, but that’s why you kind of needed this rematch,” said Malignaggi. “Does Eubank have enough flair and enough things besides the flair? Does he have enough consistency besides the flair?
“Eubank has shown power in his career but hasn’t been able to be that constant. Liam Smith hasn’t shown the wow factor, but he’s been so consistent that he’s been able to win a world championship.
“We were talking about Liam being the faded guy. Now we’re going into the second fight, wondering if Eubank is faded. There are a lot of storylines you’re talking about in this fight.
“If it was the making weight for the Conor Benn fight, or if it was the elbow that Liam Smith hit him with, then I don’t think Roy [Jones Jr] has a fault in this because now you’re talking about things that have nothing to do with Roy. So there’s no reason to change trainers.
“Having said that. Eubank has been the type of guy who has been all over his career as far as running around with different trainers. I think with his confidence going into the fight, he is going to want to have a gay at the level of BoMac, who has been so successful and has had the best fighter in the world pound-for-pound.
“He can breathe in that confidence and energy from that gym and that training camp. I think he would want that. I don’t know given how much time they’ve had whether it will have an effect on him. We’ll see,” said Malignaggni about Eubank Jr. and his new coach BoMac.