Liam Smith refuses to believe he will see anything other than the absolute best available version of Chris Eubank Jr. 

Talk of the second-generation boxer entering their January 21 middleweight clash at just 50 percent has irked Liverpool’s Smith, a former WBO junior middleweight titlist and part of a proud fighting family who’s grown irritated by the claim.

“Nobody believes he’s going to be 50 percent,” Smith told iD Boxing. “If a Canelo [Alvarez] or someone elite said he only needs to be 50 percent, you think ‘Okay, the man’s a class act.

“Chris is bang average but a good, fit athlete,” “If you need to be 50 percent… if he needs to be 50 percent to beat me, I may as well not show up.”

Smith (32-3-1, 19KOs) fights for the second time under the Boxxer banner since signing with the UK-based promoter last summer. The 34-year-old former titlist joined the company with the intention of landing a fight with Eubank (32-2, 23KOs), who instead accepted a grudge match with Conor Benn last October 8. Their fight was canceled when the British Boxing Board of Control refused to sanction the event after it was publicly revealed that Benn tested positive for a banned substance.

The development led Eubank to revisit plans with Smith. An agreement was reached, with their bout to headline a January 21 Sky Sports Box Office telecast from AO Arena in Manchester, England.

Smith has won six of his last seven starts since a July 2017 twelve-round defeat to then-unbeaten WBO junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia. Smith previously held that same title, which he lost to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez via ninth-round stoppage in September 2016.

The only other career defeat for 'Beefy' Smith came under dubious circumstances. He dropped a highly questionable decision to unbeaten Magomed Kurbanov in May 2021 on the road in Ekaterinburg, with most considering him unlucky to not get the decision in their title eliminator.

Smith has since won three in a row, all inside the distance. A statement was made in an eighth-round stoppage of Anthony Fowler in their October 2021 all-Liverpool clash. Six months later, Smith battered Jessie Vargas into submission at 0:41 of the tenth round last April 30 in New York City, followed by a fourth-round knockout of Hassan Mwakinyo last September 3 in his Liverpool hometown.

If nothing else, Smith—one of two former titlists in his family, including younger brother Callum—has carved out a career that warrants the utmost respect of anyone in his path. Eubank Jr, alleged otherwise, claiming that he’s only going half-pace and sparring eight rounds at a time since he believes their fight won’t last any longer than that.

“Just bollocks, obviously. Bollocks,” said a dismissive Smith. “I don’t even want to answer that because it’s just silly. Whoever believes that, don’t ask me a question about it. If you believe him, don’t even interview me about it.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox