Chris Eubank Jr takes on Liam Smith this Saturday in a 12-round middleweight main event from Manchester, in a fight that has drifted into grudge match territory after a nasty press conference earlier this week in particular.
But the talking is done, basically, and now what remains is the fight. So who wins?
Scott Christ (3-2)
I’ve spoken a lot about how much respect I have for Liam Smith as a fighter, how I think he’s been just a good, solid pro for so long, a legitimate contender (and briefly a titleholder) at 154 lbs, has taken his cracks, has bounced back from losses and been the same good fighter. But I think he loses this fight, and clearly.
Basically, I think it’s just a rotten style matchup for Liam’s skill set. Eubank is a natural 160, he’s faster, longer, way more dynamic in what he can do, and I think his partnership with Roy Jones Jr has helped him settle just a bit. His biggest concern should be not getting complacent if he gets up in this fight, as we saw him do a bit against Liam Williams early last year, because Smith will keep grinding, and if Eubank, say, goes up 4-0 or 5-0 on the cards, then gets a little lackadaisical with it, yeah, Smith will scratch and claw his way into this fight.
I do expect Liam to at least wind up on the canvas at some point, if not get stopped. But he also might get stopped. Only Canelo has stopped him before, but “Beefy” is also 34 and fighting just a bit heavier than his best weight, too, and if Eubank is really looking to prove a point, he might just hammer his way into a referee stoppage if not a clean KO. But I’ll pick the distance. Eubank UD-12
Wil Esco (3-2)
Liam Smith is a fighter I’ve genuinely liked for some time now. He isn’t flashy or outspoken, but just goes about his business inside the ring and brings it every single time. There’s not much to dislike about Smith inside the ring as he loves to mix it up and will likely never get accused of running, but I just think he’s a bit outgunned here against the more athletic Chris Eubank Jr.
It sort of pains me to say because I actually like Smith much more than Eubank Jr, but I think Eubank Jr’s athletic ability is going to allow him to rattle off more punches before Smith can really respond, and I’m not convinced that Smith can really corner Eubank Jr for long periods of time where he can get to do his body work. One thing we know about Eubank Jr is that he’ll come into this fight in shape, so I don’t really see him fading to the degree that will benefit Smith getting the kind of fight he wants. I’m taking Eubank Jr by decision, but will certainly be rooting for Smith. Eubank UD-12
John Hansen (4-1)
Chris Eubank is twice lucky with respect to boxing lineage. First, that his famous father’s name gives him such a marketing advantage. Second, that he lives in an era where Julio Cesar Chavez Jr takes all the heat for a legitimately gifted Boxer Junior not making the most of substantial talent.
Plain talking, I think Chris Eubank Jr is a good boxer that’s never done particularly well for himself boxing. The DeGale win was a nice one, but it came against a man who was so ready for retirement, he went directly into it as soon as he left the ring. I believe Eubank is a more gifted fighter than George Groves or Billy Joe Saunders, but he rightfully lost to both men because they outworked and outpointed him.
Maybe Eubank will finally put all of his talent and skill on display from start to finish against a worthy opponent, and I’ll look silly saying all this. But, he’s 33 years old, and it hasn’t really happened yet. Now, he’s fighting a guy in Liam Smith that isn’t a natural middleweight, but who also doesn’t keep anything in reserve in terms of effort or focus. 70 combined fights have made very clear exactly who each of these men are. Chris Eubank probably ought to win, but Liam Smith probably will. Smith UD-12
Patrick Stumberg (4-1)
What’s so frustrating about Eubank’s directionless career is that he’s a genuinely talented fighter who, under the tutelage of Roy Jones, appears to be developing a genuine technical base. The man held his own against solid super middleweights almost exclusively via athleticism and conditioning, and transforming him from a “to whom it may concern” grenade to a focused claymore could produce a terror at 160.
This is a very long-winded way of saying he tools Smith. Even if they were the same weight, Eubank has the height and reach to give him fits, and it’s not like “Beefy” will have a speed advantage to make up for his unfortunate proportions. Smith isn’t going to break the will of a man who literally sprinted after George Groves, especially since we saw Eubank outclass another hard-nosed slugger in Liam Williams last time out. The only way Smith gets the phone booth brawl he needs to win is if Eubank gives it to him, and even then I wouldn’t fancy his chances.
I’d wager that the stoppage will be there if Eubank wants it, but pessimism says he’ll do what he did to Williams: put the fear of God in him with some heavy early damage and cruise from there. Eubank UD-12
Richard Riakporhe vs Krzysztof Glowacki
- Scott: Riakporhe TKO-6
- Wil: Riakporhe TKO-8
- John: Riakporhe TKO-9
- Patrick: Riakporhe KO-4
- DraftKings Odds: Riakporhe -1400, Glowacki +700
Joseph Parker vs Jack Massey
- Scott: Parker TKO-9
- Wil: Parker UD-10
- John: Parker TKO-8
- Patrick: Parker UD-10
- DraftKings Odds: Parker -1100, Massey +600
Ekow Essuman vs Chris Kongo
- Scott: Kongo UD-12
- Wil: Kongo UD-12
- John: Essuman UD-12
- Patrick: Essuman UD-12
- DraftKings Odds: Essuman -125, Kongo +100