Liam Smith v Chris Eubank Jr II – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

After their explosive first meeting back in January, former world champion Liam Smith and Chris Eubank Jr will put it all on the line again this weekend as they deliver one of the most highly anticipated rematches of the year.

The first fight ended in spectacular fashion when underdog Smith knocked out Eubank Jr in the fourth round and the Liverpudlian will be keen to prove his first win was no fluke.

The first fight was a contest that split opinion but Eubank Jr entered the ring as the fancied favourite. Despite Smith being a former world champion and having a more impressive CV, Eubank Jr was the ‘star’ which the show was built around and many expected him to take Smith out on his way and continue his ascent towards world titles honours.

Smith, who is one of four fighting brothers, has never got the credit his talent deserves and was underestimated by Eubank in the first meeting. For a fighter that won everything at domestic level, has held a world title and has only been legitimately beaten by Canelo Alvarez and Jaime Munguia, the idea he was a few levels below Chris Eubank Jr now seems ridiculous.

From the perspective of Eubank Jr, he now finds himself fighting to save his career at the top level. To his credit, he has put pressure on himself and hasn’t avoided the fact he is in a must win fight and if anything, he looks motivated by being backed into a corner. Interestingly, he has also employed the services of trainer Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntyre, who also trains pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford.

Throughout his career, Eubank Jr has had several trainers and nothing has ever worked long term but employing somebody like McIntyre is a sign of intent and a sign of how serious he is taking this rematch. People will argue it’s too little too late but it will be interesting to see what stylistic changes he has made under the guidance of his new team.

A genuine dislike has built between the two fighters which has added an extra layer of excitement to the contest but the winner of the rematch here may be the one that can keep a cool head when the opening bell goes. With stakes so high, neither fighter can afford to make reckless mistakes.

Heading into the rematch, Smith is (4/6) with Eubank priced at (13/10) and although Smith is a deserved favourite, the fight will likely be different to the first encounter. Now the fighters have shared rounds they will both employ more patient tactics and that could lead to this rematch being more of a chess match than the war some are expecting.

If it comes down to boxing skill, it’s hard to see past Liam Smith winning once again. He has better fundamentals than Eubank and his experience of being in the ring with world class opposition is what could set him apart. Eubank Jr has always been an honest professional but he has been given too many one-sided contests to showcase his skills and that’s what could prove to be his downfall this weekend.

Smith knows he can hurt Eubank Jr but he doesn’t need to prove it anymore and with that in mind, the Liverpudlian could revert to his solid boxing fundamentals and pick Eubank Jr apart over the twelve-round distance. Smith to win by decision at (10/3) is the play in the main event.

The fight that sticks out on the undercard is between Mark Heffron and Jack Cullen for the British super middleweight title. Very rarely do you see bad fights for the British title and this has all the ingredients to be the fight of the night. Both men like to trade big punches and have shown vulnerabilities in the past. The fight to have less than seven completed rounds at (5/4) is worth consideration.

Another fight to keep an eye on is between heavyweights Frazer Clarke and Dave Allen. Clarke, who represented Team GB at the Olympics, is only seven fights into his professional journey and this is a solid test against a seasoned campaigner like Dave Allen.

Clarke has plenty of skill but he is still adjusting to life as a professional and at times, he can revert to his amateur style and that could be dangerous against Allen. Allen, who has operated at a higher level than this, was once a big name in British boxing but will be returning from an extended period of inactivity. If he is still as motivated as he once was, he can make this very interesting.

Clarke is the deserved favourite but he will need to work for it and if a stoppage is to come, it will come in the second half of the fight. The fight to have at least seven completed rounds at (11/10) looks likely.

JORDAN NEILD

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Author: Eugene Morris