Expert view: Chris Eubank Jnr vs Liam Smith

Midfield contender Marcus Morrison and top coach Joe Gallagher met Chris Eubank Jnr and Liam Smith at close range, giving them unparalleled insight into this weekend’s game. Morrison, a former rival of Eubank Jnr and a former partner of Smith’s, saw and felt both punches, while Gallagher, Smith’s longtime former coach and former penalist, also penalized. opponent’s corner in the match against Eubank Jnr, formulated game plans involving both men.

Question: Is Eubank vs Smith better than Eubank vs Benn?

Marcus Morrison: There’s a lot of hype surrounding the fight between Benn and Eubank Jnr but that’s just because of the fathers and the history between them. In terms of actual combat, I feel like Benn would go in there expecting to win but would be too small; The size difference will be huge. While here, with Liam, you have a world-class seasoned light middleweight bout against Eubank Jnr, who isn’t the biggest middleweight in the world. I was surprised to find out when I played him (in 2021). People keep saying Eubank Jnr will be the greater one against Smith, but I really don’t think he will.

Joe Gallagher: It’s a 100% better fight. I think what makes the Eubank Jnr vs. Benn becomes interesting is the history between the two fathers. But Liam Smith is actually more like Nigel Benn than Nigel Benn’s own son, in terms of fighting against Chris Eubank Jnr. If you look at the first match between Eubank and Benn, it was between two very tough, proud men, both of whom have competed at world level. However, for Conor Benn, the match against Eubank Jnr was a leap in class and weight. The fight between Eubank Jnr and Smith is a much better one. In addition, the fact that neither of them could stand the thought of losing to the others echoed what Benn and Eubank had faced before their first battle.

Q: In what areas does Eubank Jnr have advantages?

Marcus Morrison: People see hand speed and they see that he can punch a little bit and that’s why he carries his reputation. I can understand why people watch this fight and love him. But it’s not until you get in there with a boxer like Liam Smith that you realize what makes him so effective. Eubank Jnr’s qualities are more obvious but that doesn’t mean he has more. With Eubank Jnr, it’s mostly hand speed that surprises you. I wouldn’t even say he’s a great puncher. I’ve fought a lot of bigger fighters. But his hand speed is plenty to deal with. Also, at mid-range, he’s dangerous. There, he focuses on you and lets his hand go. It’s hard to solve.

I can see this fight being similar to the one Smith had with Anthony Fowler (in 2021). Eubank Jnr can be successful early on, in the first four or five innings, but Liam is a tough guy. He can be nasty and vindictive, and I think you’ll see his nasty side in this fight. If you don’t solve him, you’ll have to spend a hard night’s work. I really don’t believe Eubank Jnr is a tough enough man to do that to Liam. But I do believes he might have some success soon.

Joe Gallagher: I was standing next to him when he fought George Groves (in 2018) and that night I thought to myself, You are a tough man, friend. You can really fight. He was caught by a couple of heavy hits from Groves early on and was still spinning in the final rounds. I’m surprised he never started from there and challenged for world titles. He was good enough and he had nothing to fear after that fight. His hand speed is unbelievable. When Marcus (Morrison) fights him, he says it’s the main thing he notices. And he’s also a puncher. You just have to look at the performance against Avni Yildirim (in 2017) to see that. Knocking out Liam Williams four times (in 2022) shows it too.

Q: In what areas does Smith have an advantage?

Marcus Morrison: Liam is underrated; he is a world class executive. However, I can figure it out if you look at Liam from the outside. he looks like a fighter that is easy to defeat. He’s not a monstrous puncher with one punch power. He doesn’t have super fast hands. But what he do There are good times and unbelievable shot options.

From long range, I think Liam will get past Eubank Jnr and I don’t think it won’t be long before Eubank Jnr wants to get close and use his hand speed. At that point, I think Liam will get even closer and beat Eubank Jnr with tighter punches to the inside. I think he will injure Eubank Jnr in the mid-rounds and this will affect the course of the game. Then later Liam will have most of his fun.

Joe Gallagher: I think Liam is one of the most underrated British boxers out there. He was never really recognized for his boxing IQ – the way he cut through the ring, the way he waited for his chance, his cool head under pressure. You’ve seen all of that in Liam Williams’ two games and even on the big stage with “Canelo” Alvarez (2016). He acquitted Canelo and didn’t go in there to survive. He even had some good moments in that fight. Trouble was he finished the body shots because he didn’t participate in fencing; His body wasn’t used to it. However, against Eubank Jnr, his boxing IQ, patience, shot selection and defense are all important.

Q: To beat Smith, what would you say to Eubank Jnr?

Marcus Morrison: Knowing both, I don’t think Eubank Jnr is a boxer technical enough to surpass Liam. Then if it doesn’t get there, you have to stick with what you’re good at and Eubank Jnr is a very good fighter. He’s not a good fighter but he’s very good fighter. I felt like I outdid him from the very beginning in our fight but when he used what he was good at, he was so much more successful. He needs to turn this Saturday’s fight into a brawl and use his hand speed. That’s the only way I see him win. He had to seriously injure Liam very early on.

Joe Gallagher: Well, he must be healthy. He must complete 12 rounds. In other battles, he can walk and move around, but he won’t get that chance with Liam. We know he can throw powerful shots in 12 innings and still do it in the last, so that will give him the edge. I think his hand speed will also be important. There’s no disrespect to Liam, but if you look at his fight with Anthony Fowler, there were times from the start where Fowler regularly got good shots. I think Liam was probably in the airbag a lot that night. But Liam always knew it was going to be a long fight and he would have to sacrifice rounds before he could catch up to Fowler. And that’s what he did. Can Liam afford to do it this time? I’m not sure. Eubank Jnr can be a boxer who goes a few laps and then, when you put your foot on the floor, he fights you and follows you.

Q: To beat Eubank Jnr, what would you say to Smith?

Marcus Morrison: From the very beginning, try to win as many rounds as possible by outboxing Eubank Jnr. Keep him working. Make him think constantly. What Liam also does well is that he pressures you as you’re constantly moving and looking for a way out. That becomes very tiring. To do that in 12 rounds is very hard. If Liam can win the first few innings and get through what I think will be an early storm, then he’ll comfortably win this fight. My main concern for him is getting through the first four or five laps without getting hurt. But Liam certainly has the strength to do it. Later in the fight, he can begin to separate Eubank Jnr from his body.

Joe Gallagher: Back to two Williams matches. In the first battle, he confronted him, fought with him, and bullied the bully. Liam was growling and spitting that night. It’s Liam Smith at his best. In the rematch, he then went out and beat Liam Williams and never got in. No one realizes he has it in his closet.

Now, if you look at Eubank Jnr’s performance against Billy-Joe Saunders, when Billy-Joe was boxing, he won the rounds with ease. However, when he stood and fought Eubank, it became Eubank Jnr’s fighting style.

Liam has to be cute, judge the distance well, not go in and get caught and do a lot of fake moves. Maybe ask Eubank Jnr to come to him. Chris will throw, but if you don’t stand in front of him, he won’t throw. He needs you on the line to unload. Either that or he wants you to go after him. Will Liam do it? I know Liam can box with his hind legs and has a very good boxing IQ. He can put Eubank Jnr on hits and do a counter attack if he wants to.

Q: How important will the game mind be in this war?

Marcus Morrison: I don’t think that will work for Eubank Jnr. Liam has been around too long to fall into that trap and struggle emotionally. He will have a game plan and he is usually very good at following that plan. If anything, it might bring some discomfort in Liam. He’s going to really want to hurt him anyway, but if you piss him off first, it could make him even more vindictive that night. However, both have been around for a long time, so they know the score. I’m sure both will handle needles and all emotions during the night.

Joe Gallagher: Liam is very good at taking what is said and putting it in his back pocket. He’s not emotionally drained, obsessive or in his head about it. He is very optimistic. You saw it when he fought in the ring in front of 50,000 people in America (against Alvarez). He kept a cool head in the hot atmosphere and was steadfast in his game plan. Eubank Jnr in Manchester before 20,000 was nothing to Liam. In fact, both fighters fought on the big stage. Eubank Jnr’s fight with George Groves was a big one in a packed arena, and Liam Smith’s fight with Canelo was even bigger. On both of those nights, they were short-lived but were very well acquitted.

Q: How do you see the game playing out next weekend?

Marcus Morrison: I think that will be a point Liam Smith wins. But if I had to put money on it, I’d go see Liam Smith. I think he injured Eubank Jnr in the middle innings and then he caught up with him and finished him late.

Joe Gallagher: Liam wins and ends up getting credit for his boxing IQ – more than just getting credit for his bravery. I feel that if this fight has to stop it might be due to the cuts and maybe Eubank Jnr will win. But on points, Liam Smith won. I don’t think Eubank Jnr will be able to deal with Liam once he gets in. The referee has to let him do the work: punches, ups and downs, and everything else. When Eubank walks or rests, Liam will follow him and allow no rest. If it goes for 12 rounds, I expect it to be very close on the cards.

Marcus Morrison trades with Chris Eubank Jnr during their match on May 1, 2021 (Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing)


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