Chris Eubank Jr. apparently isn’t too concerned about getting his kudos from Liam Smith.
Eubank gained sweet revenge earlier this month when he stopped Smith in 10 rounds during their middleweight bout at AO Arena in Manchester, England. Eubank was stopped in four rounds in the same venue by Smith in January in what was the most humiliating moment of his professional career.
After the fight, Liverpool’s Smith offered an alibi for his relatively sluggish performance: He insisted that he had been weakened by the more than 40 pounds of weight he had to lose to make the 160-pound limit for the rematch. His trainer, Joe McNally, chimed in, saying he had advised his charge not to follow through with the Sept. 2 fight date on account of his physical condition.
In a recent interview, Eubank pointed out that he had never sought out an alibi for his disastrous performance against Smith in the first fight and that he gave Smith full credit for defeating him. Furthermore, Eubank made it clear he is not waiting around for Smith to give him his props.
“I mentioned I cut weight a different way in the buildup to the first fight,” Eubank told iFL TV. “So I did a salt bath. But I didn’t use that as an excuse as to why I didn’t win. So, it’s bad that he’s trying to say ‘that the weight is the reason I underperformed.’ I never said that was the reason. I just said I did something I never done before. No excuses. I made it clear after the first fight there are no excuses. I give you your credit. You won the fight but I’m still a better fighter than you and I’m gonna prove it. He gave me a lot of sh!t. ‘You’re blaming the elbow, you’re blaming the referee, you’re blaming your weight.’ I wasn’t blaming any of that. He did elbow me, but it was my fault that I got caught with an elbow.
“So congratulations, I was impressed. It wasn’t an excuse. It’s a fight. Yes, the referee stopped the fight too early in my opinion. Again, it’s not an excuse, it’s just an opinion. The fight was still stopped, I still lost. I gave him his credit. He doesn’t seem to want to give me mine. That’s OK. I don’t need credit from anybody. I got the win. It’s good enough for me.”
After the win over Smith, Eubank called out embattled welterweight Conor Benn, retired welterweight Kell Brook, and former middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin.
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.