Who’s the Man? Mutual foe Liam Williams analyzes Chris Eubank Jr.-Liam Smith
No one is better placed to analyze and break down the upcoming middleweight clash on Saturday, January 21, between Chris Eubank Jr. and Liam Smith than former opponent Liam Williams.
Williams lost a contentious ninth-round stoppage to Smith in April 2017. The two met in a rematch in November of the same year and Smith edged matters by 12-round majority decision. Last February, Williams fought Eubank Jr. but was greatly hampered by three knockdowns in the first four rounds and lost a wide 12-round unanimous decision.
The 30-year-old Welsh former title challenger expects a good fight between his two old adversaries.
Williams feels that for Eubank to win, he has to fight to his strengths and not get drawn into a fight with the more experienced former 154-pound titlist.
“I think [Eubank] has to be smart; I don’t think he can go all guns blazing with Smith, although I think he can compete with him,” Williams told The Ring. “His best bet in the fight is pretty much doing what he did against me: Box clever, go on the move and use nice sharp counters.”
Conversely Williams feels that Smith needs to make Eubank fight three minutes of every round and take him out of his comfort zone.
“Smith is smarter than people give him credit for,” he said. “I think Smith will have the better inside work. I think he might have too much work rate for Eubank. We haven’t really seen that massive work rate in any of Eubank’s recent performances.”
Williams was keen to explain the circumstances around what amounted to a strange performance on the face of things against Eubank.
“With Eubank, I was all over the place. I couldn’t get my feet in right place, I was off-balance all the time. I was taking shots and going down,” he said. “I lost 13 pounds in eight hours before the weigh-in, which totally fucked me, and four weeks before the fight, I had a concussion from sparring. I had an elbow in the head. Not to make it about myself but that’s the reason I couldn’t get into range with Eubank.”
Williams broke down each fighter in 10 key categories:
Eubank: Smith has a pretty good jab but I think Eubank has the slightly sharper and rangier jab but that’s not to say Smith doesn’t have a good jab because he’s very well-schooled and he comes forward, throwing that jab with a nice defense as well.
Smith: I would say Smith has a better defense. He does take a lot on the arms and gloves but, in terms of taking them clean, that doesn’t happen very often. Eubank had a good defense but I wouldn’t say it was his defense, in terms of his guard. He was better with his feet and buying himself a bit of space and getting out of range that way. It’s defense but in different ways.
Eubank: You’d have to say Eubank, just about, not by a massive margin.
Eubank: Liam Smith is very well-balanced but in terms of footwork and movement, getting out or range and danger, you’d say Eubank.
Smith: Smith is the better schooled. In general, I think he’s got a better boxing brain and sets up the attack more.
Smith: I think Smith. Don’t get me wrong, I think Eubank is very strong but Liam Smith really has that presence about him. He’s in your face all the time, not willing to take a backward step.
I boxed Smith and didn’t get put down, which I did against Eubank. On paper, it would have to be Eubank but I don’t really think that’s a true view of it. I think they’re probably on a par.
Eubank: It’s a tough one because they’re both every tough with good chins. That is a very difficult question to answer. Smith has been put over by Canelo [Alvarez] and [Jaime] Munguia. Going off the stats, you’d have to go with Eubank because I don’t think he’s been put down. That’s the only reason I’d pick him.
BETTER BOXING SKILLS
Smith: I think Eubank has a really good jab and movement but Smith is better schooled and all-round boxing brain. He sets everything up very well. I’d have to say Smith.
Smith: The first fight was questionable; I had a bad cut from a clash of heads. The second one, he beat me over 12-rounds. I think, at my best, I would have beat Eubank, so Smith.
When Williams is asked who he feels will win, he can see a way either can emerge victorious. However he feels the more tried and tested Smith is the better bet.
“It’s hard for me to say how the fights going because it depends what Eubank is going to turn up but you always know what you’re going to get with Smith,” he reasoned. “[Smith’s] never going to be in a boring fight.
“I feel [Smith is] going to put pressure on; he’s got a good engine and work rate. I think it’s going to be [won on] points, Eubank’s too tough [to get stopped] and I don’t think he’s going to get pushed around. I think it’s going to be a bit of give-and-take. I think it’s going to be close, very small margins.”
Eubank Jr.-Smith plus full supporting undercard will be broadcast on DAZN at 2:00 pm ET/ 11:00 am PT and on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK at 7:00 p.m. GMT