Liam Smith doesn’t think Kell Brook is afraid to fight him from a physical standpoint.
The former WBO junior middleweight champ suspects Brook is more fearful of how a potential loss to Smith would damage his legacy. Brook has lost only to IBF middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin and unbeaten IBF/WBC welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr., who knocked out Brook in back-to-back bouts in September 2016 and May 2017.
Smith likened Brook’s reluctance to fight him to Amir Khan’s trepidation about boxing Brook (39-2, 27 KOs) in what would be a lucrative domestic showdown in the United Kingdom.
“I get people saying, ‘Oh, he’s ducking you,’ ” Smith said to promoter Eddie Hearn as part of an Instagram Live interview Friday. “He’s not ducking me and he’s not scared of me. He has fought Golovkin. But I do feel he’s scared of losing to me. He’s a bigger name than me domestically. He’s probably a bigger name than me over in the States. But he’s scared to lose to me because it probably ruins what his achievements have done.
“And the same with Khan. I think Khan probably [was] the biggest domestic fighter [in the UK] before [Anthony] Joshua, you know, to make a name in the States. And I think Khan is probably scared of losing to Kell. So, that’s how I’ve always judged it as. Khan’s scared of losing to Brook, and Brook’s probably scared of losing to me. That’s always the way I’ve looked at it.”
Liverpool’s Smith (29-2-1, 16 KOs) is a former world champion who has lost only to four-division champion Canelo Alvarez and undefeated former WBO junior middleweight champ Jaime Munguia.
Smith is ranked number two among the WBO’s 154-pound contenders. He likely will find himself in position to fight the winner of the Patrick Teixeira-Brian Castano fight.
Brazil’s Teixeira (31-1, 22 KOs) was supposed to make the first defense of his WBO junior middleweight championship against Argentina’s Castano (16-0-1, 12 KOs), Teixeira’s mandatory challenger, on April 25 in Indio, California. That fight was postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.