Liam Smith on opponent Chris Eubank Jr.: ‘I don’t think he’s the cleverest’

Liam Smith is a live 2½-1 underdog going into his fight with Chris Eubank Jr. on Saturday at AO Arena in Manchester, England (DAZN).

The former 154-pound champ fell short against Mexican stars Canelo Alvarez and Jaime Munguia. And he lost to rising junior middleweight contender Magomed Kurbanov in May 2021, which seemed to signal the end of his tenure as an elite fighter.

However, the 34-year-old then reeled off three consecutive victories – including a 10th-round knockout of Jessie Vargas last April – to reestablish his credentials.

And now he has a chance to take another giant step forward against his fellow Englishman in a 160-pound fight on home soil.

“It’s a huge fight domestically,” Smith told RingTV.com. “[It’s] a big fight to be involved in, a fight I’m happy with and I’ve called for. It’s one I’m looking forward to.”

Especially because he believes he has a good chance to have his hand raised.

Eubank (32-2, 23 KOs) also is on an impressive run, with six consecutive victories since he lost on points to George Groves in 2018. That includes decisions over James DeGale in 2019 and Liam Williams in his most-recent fight, last February.

However, Eubank still has doubters. Smith seems to among that group.

“When I strip it down and back, how good do I think he is ability wise? I think he’s OK,” Smith said. “I just don’t rate his boxing ability, his boxing IQ, I don’t think he’s the cleverest. I don’t think he’s a world-class middleweight in that sense.”

Smith (32-3-1, 19 KOs) was critical of Eubank’s performance against Williams even though Eubank scored four knockdowns in the one-sided fight.

“He dropped Liam Williams four times and didn’t get him out of there,” Smith said. “I don’t know if he can do the rounds anymore as good as he used to because if I dropped someone four times in a fight, I’d bet every penny I own they don’t see the final bell.”

Smith has trained in his hometown of Liverpool for the upcoming fight, which means he was with his family for the holidays. Still, he had to make sacrifices he normally wouldn’t make that time of year.

And he’s OK with that.

“I knew I was going to have to have a disciplined Christmas,” he said, “but when I beat Chris Eubank Jr. on January 21st I’ll reap the rewards of being disciplined over Christmas.”

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Chris Eubank Jr. puts Liam Williams down four times, wins wide decision

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