Liam Smith still feels he can comfortably get down to 154 pounds and perform effectively within that division.
The former WBO junior middleweight titleholder understands, though, that Jermell Charlo is recovering from a fractured left hand and must make multiple mandatory defenses of his belts once the fully unified 154-pound champ comes back. Smith admitted, too, that he felt “great” while fighting at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds.
The Liverpool native is contractually obligated to an immediate rematch with Chris Eubank Jr., but based on the aforementioned factors Smith thinks he would pursue a middleweight title shot if he beats Eubank again. He listed Gennadiy Golovkin second on the list of opponents he wants to fight most, behind a rematch with Eubank at Anfield, a soccer stadium in Liverpool.
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) owns the IBF, IBO and WBA middleweight titles.
“I just wanna be involved in fights people are talking about, captures the imagination of fans,” Smith told co-hosts Akin Reyes and Barak Bess during an appearance on “The DAZN Boxing Show” this week. “But I also wanna have another crack at a world title. You know, I’d love to become the first two-time world champion [in my family]. I would probably prefer 160, only because [then] I’m a two-time, two-weight world champion. I think it adds to the legacy, the story of my accomplishments.”
Smith (33-3-1, 20 KOs) dropped Eubank twice in the fourth round and stunningly stopped the favored fighter Saturday night at a sold-out AO Arena in Manchester, England.
Eubank entered their 12-round middleweight match as a 3-1 favorite. The namesake of one England’s most celebrated boxers also had shown an uncrackable chin before Smith became the first opponent in 35 professional fights to knock Eubank down and out.
“Look, I felt great at 160,” Smith said. “I’m not gonna lie. I did feel great. Energy levels on the fight week were a lot better, a lot more than they was at 154. So, I have got a decision to make me self, also.”
The 33-year-old Eubank’s decision, according to Smith, is whether he actually wants to exercise his rematch clause by the deadline in their contracts next month. Smith suspects Eubank (32-3, 23 KOs) might change his mind about boxing Smith again once he watches footage of their fight.
The 34-year-old Smith realizes he’ll have appealing alternatives if Eubank indeed decides to skip their second showdown.
“Yeah, look, that will put me in a good position at 160,” Smith said. “Now, also, you know, I always said before, I beat Chris Eubank Jr., it leaves me in a very, very good position, whether it’s 154 or 160. You know, if I beat Chris Eubank, it’s not gonna harm me reputation. It’s not gonna make me drop in any rankings.
“So, I just thought if I beat Chris that leaves me in a very, very good position and I have even more options again. You know, we know the titles are all tied up at 154. Charlo holds all four of them, so, you know, and he’s out injured at the moment. So, it just leaves me with good options now.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
ADD COMMENT VIEW COMMENTS (14)