Liam Smith fears his brothers will tell him to quit boxing if he loses against Chris Eubank Jr… with the build-up to the Manchester Arena clash overshadowed by the Merseysider’s homophobic comments
- Liam Smith fears his brothers may tell him to quit boxing if he loses on Saturday
- Smith faces Chris Eubank Jr in a Sky Sports PPV fight at the Manchester Arena
- It has been overshadowed by Smith’s homophobic comments in the build-up
The predominantly Mersey crowd in the Manchester Arena will not care one jot that their hero Liam Smith has subjected Chris Eubank Jr to false homophobic insinuations before Saturday’s watershed fight for both of them.
Nor that his opponent was finally goaded by c-word insults into responding by accusing the third eldest of Liverpool’s beloved fighting Smith brothers of marital infidelity.
They will be behind Smith to a man and woman regardless of how that totally unnecessary outburst might reflect on the proud scouse fraternity.
Liam Smith’s supporters will back him at the Manchester Arena despite his poor comments
So let us set aside the foul mouthed rant into which he was urged by the PR men and TV announcers looking to boost Sky pay-per-view sales – and tune into the real Liam.
The warrior whose biggest fear is that a bad defeat here and now will consign him to a coffee table meeting at which his siblings will advise him to seriously consider whether he wants to carry on boxing.
‘That’s what I dread most of all,’ he says about the possibility of the other three fighting Smith brothers calling a Sunday summit.
‘We did that with Paul,’ the 34 year old Liam recalls of the collective family decision for the eldest of these close-knit boxers to retire.
Chris Eubank Jr (L) wore a rainbow armband in support of the LGBT+ community in the build-up
‘He lost to an opponent who would never have beaten him even a few months earlier So we sat him down and asked him to give real thought about what would be best for his future.
‘We are all very supportive of each other. That has been a big factor in our success. That is a bond of strength which Eubank doesn’t have.
‘If the going gets tough we can turn to each other. It makes for a very different life style from Chris.
‘I have driven myself over from Liverpool. I’m sure Chris was chauffeured up to Manchester in a big fancy car. We live a clean life. Never smoked. Rarely take a drink. Work hard.’
Smith is coming up a division to middleweight as he prepares to face Eubank Jr in Manchester
To be fair Eubank Jr also embodies those virtues. As he proved when slaving down to the lowest weight of his professional career to face Conor Benn, albeit in vain when son of Nigel was exposed for failing two drugs tests.
There has been no such drastic weight cutting here.
Although Smith is coming up a division to middleweight he was heavier than Eubank at a pre-weigh in visit to the scales.
Even so Junior will still be the bigger man coming to the ring on Saturday.
Eubank Jr is marginal favourite in Saturday’s fight, which could lead to world title challenges
As such he starts as the marginal favourite in a fight likely to launch the winner towards world title challenges and spell the virtual end for the loser.
Eubank says: ‘The popular view seems to be that I have more to lose because Liam already has a couple of major world titles on his record and I do not.
‘But although that puts some stress on me I think he is under the most pressure. He has the people of Liverpool relying on him to give them a lift in these difficult economic times.’
Most excitingly at stake for Eubank is a potential mega millions title fight with Mexican idol Canelo Alvarez.
Even if he loses he can trigger a rematch clause for a second fight with Smith. With another money spinner in the bank if and when Benn is free to fight again.
The pair may even be set for a rematch if it is a close encounter in the Sky Sports pay-per-view
Smith’s agenda is less certain if he is defeated. Although he insists: ‘I’m as hungry for winning a world title in a second weight division as I was for my first championship fight.’
Says Eubank: ‘My time is coming. By knock out.’
He is probably right. But as a safeguard in case Smith takes him the distance he would be wise to build a winning lead in the first eight rounds as a cushion against a tendency to fade a little late in a fight.
Eubank Jr v Smith will be televised live this Saturday night on Sky Sports Box Office, at £19.95
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