Liam Smith has blamed his loss to Chris Eubank Jr. on what he claims was the more than 40 pounds of weight he needed to lose leading up to their middleweight rematch.
Eubank redeemed himself last Saturday night in Manchester, England, by stopping Smith in the 10th round after getting knocked out himself in the fourth round of their first meeting nearly nine months earlier.
It was a dominant performance from the cocksure Eubank, who scored two knockdowns in the process and has managed to preserve a career that was in extremis. Eubank has named Conor Benn, Kell Brook, and Gennadiy Golovkin as opponents he would like to face next.
After the fight, Smith said he was hampered by the staggering amount of weight he had to lose after suffering a back injury ahead of their scheduled rematch for June 17.
“I couldn’t get off,” Smith said in the post-fight press conference. “The weight cut just took its toll on me, from the minute of the back injury to the minute of the rescheduled date. It was like a race against time, from our point of view, the deadline where Chris might have walked away from the rematch, so it was always a race against time, anyway, and I just feel it obviously played its part. You didn’t have to be a genius to see how flat [I was] 40 seconds into the fight, you know what I mean? I just couldn’t get going, I feel. I feel the weight killed me.”
“I think everyone knows and Chris knows how I was with the weight, to say at the weigh-in,” Smith continued. “After the injury, I came down three stone (42 pounds) and so [that is] a lot of weight to shift in a short space of time.”
Viewers pointed to an ankle injury that Smith seemingly suffered in the early rounds as the main culprit for his sluggish performance, but Smith insisted the weight cut had more of an effect on him.
“Yeah, I rolled it in about round two or three,” Smith said of his ankle. “What can I say? Even the ankle part, I’ve done that before in fights. It was just more, like, being flat that killed me.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.