Liam Smith says that Chris Eubank Jr does not rate among the best two fighters he has boxed and it is only money that has elevated their fight to pay-per-view status. 

Smith, the former two-time WBO super-welterweight champion, faces Eubank in Manchester on January 21, but he says Eubank doesn’t compare to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or Jaime Munguia, who he rates as the best two boxers he has fought. 

But he says it is not Eubank’s accomplishments in the ring that make it an interesting contest. 

“It is a high-profile fight because of the name and because of his demeanor and attitude,” Smith said. “He has made himself a big name in British boxing. 

“But do I think he is a better fighter than Jaime Munguia? No, so I don’t think he’s the second best fighter I’ve fought, either.” 

“Somehow, he has developed a big name in British boxing. But the name he is and the stupid money he has made in boxing is crazy because he has won a British title, he has never won a world title.

“He has obviously done something right but the name has helped that massively.” 

Smith and Eubank once shared the ring in sparring but Smith says the fact that Eubank has earned more money in his career does not bother him. While Smith will be stepping up to middleweight for this fight, he says he can still move back down after in search of another world title shot.

“The money thing doesn’t bother me, nothing he ever does bothers me,” Smith said. 

“But there have been better fighters, more dedicated pros, who have had top fights throughout their careers and haven’t made the money Chris has made. 

“That’s the sport and the business side. It’s not unfair, Chris has played the game perfectly. He’s not my cup of tea but I still think, ‘Good on you, you’ve played the game perfectly’. 

“There have been world champions who have walked out of boxing without a penny and not because they blew the money but because it maybe wasn’t there then and they weren’t a big name but they were still world champions.” 

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.