Carl Froch considers how Chris Eubank Jr matches up with Liam Smith, whether he can win a middleweight world title and what’s at stake in his fight on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
This fight could go either way. Chris Eubank Jr is naturally bigger and naturally stronger and usually in boxing that’s the deciding factor, but Liam Smith’s experience is not to be downplayed or underestimated at all.
He’s talking all the talk, about sautéing his steak and seasoning it and tenderising it, like he’s just going to be able to do what he wants with Liam Smith. That’s not going to be the case. Liam Smith’s too good for that.
Eubank Jr’s got relentless work-rate and he’s tough, but Smith’s a very good all-round fighter. He’s a great boxer, he can fight up close, he’s tough, he can punch a bit, he’s got bags of experience.
Smith’s not really there to be hit. He’s got great defence, good head movement, nice tight guard, he looks for the counter-punch. He’s got good footwork and is a real, real good all-rounder.
Chris Eubank’s a little bit wild. He likes to try and box and move and tries to keep on that back foot, especially as he’s got Roy Jones training him now. I think he tries to probably be a little bit cleverer than he actually is. I think if you try to overdo the Roy Jones elusiveness, handspeed and skill, you can come unstuck against someone like Liam Smith. Because they’ll time you.
They’ll time your work as you come in. They’ll be looking for the counter-punch. Smith’s got the experience to cut the ring off, to close Eubank down and put him under pressure.
Eubank’s never been a world champion. He’s not got that on his resume. Will he ever get there? We don’t know but I think he’s got the capabilities definitely of giving some of the top fighters a tough job.
We saw it against Billy Joe Saunders. It was a really, really close fight which for me could have gone either way when it finished. He finished the last five or six rounds at least very strong on his front foot.
When he boxed George Groves he gave a really good account of himself. Bearing in mind super-middleweight is not his division, he was fighting in a division that’s he’s not used to. He really did himself proud. He showed himself to be a top-level fighter, bearing in mind George Groves had a world title.
If that’s not enough proof that you belong in there with elite fighters, I don’t know what is.
If he can beat Liam Smith that would give him the leg up to the next level, and the next level’s going to be a world title.
If he wins. This is a fight that could go either way and I’ve not made up my mind about who I think wins. Either of these fighters could win this. But if he does manage to get the victory over Smith, he needs to be looking at a world title fight at middleweight.
Gennadiy Golovkin’s over 40 now and I know what it’s like to be over 40. You slow down, you’re not as fast. Your reflexes aren’t there and our best years are behind you. So absolutely Eubank could beat him.
People say, ‘Oh that’s ridiculous, he can’t beat Golovkin.’ Golovkin’s not what he was when he was 35 years old. So he’s definitely beatable. We’ve seen it.
We’ve seen Golovkin struggle, we’ve seen him go in close fights, we’ve seen him lose so we know he can be beaten, albeit he remains a ferocious fierce competitor with bags and bags of experience.
But there’s no reason why Chris Eubank Jr can’t go on and fight Golovkin, if Golovkin’s still fighting.
But at 33 years old at this stage of his career, if Eubank loses this, he’s got to take a serious look at what he wants to do with his career and where he wants to go.
It’s now or never. This is a must-win fight for him.
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