Liam Smith is contractually obligated to an immediate rematch with Chris Eubank Jr.
The former WBO junior middleweight champion possesses some leverage, however, now that he has knocked out Eubank in the fourth round. The 34-year-old Smith detailed during his post-fight press conference late Saturday night in Manchester, England some of his “terms” for a second showdown with Eubank.
“Just, obviously, like I said, Liverpool,” Smith said in reference to the rematch taking place in his hometown. “Obviously, the money [changes] now. I might drag him down to 157 [pounds].”
The contract weight for their fight Saturday night at a sold-out AO Arena in Manchester was the middleweight limit of 160 pounds. Eubank previously agreed to box rival Conor Benn at a catch weight of 157 pounds, but their high-profile fight, which was scheduled for October 8 at O2 Arena in London, was canceled October 6 because Benn tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug during training camp.
The 33-year-old Eubank would not have fought Smith on Saturday night had the Benn bout proceeded as planned. Eubank entered the ring as an approximate 3-1 favorite to beat Smith, who surprisingly dropped Eubank twice during the fourth round to pull off an upset in their Sky Sports Box Office main event.
Brighton’s Eubank (32-3, 23 KOs), a son of one of British boxing’s most legendary fighters, lost by knockout for the first time in 35 professional fights. Eubank fought as high as the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds prior to this loss and his chin had always been one of his greatest strengths.
Eubank couldn’t recover Saturday night, though, after Smith’s combination of a left uppercut and left hook knocked Eubank to the canvas 45 seconds into the fourth round. A bewildered Eubank got up quickly, but Smith’s short right knocked him into the ropes and down again, which caused referee Victor Loughlin to stop the action at 1:09 of the fourth round.
Smith (33-3-1, 20 KOs) is just as confident he’ll beat Eubank again as he was before their first fight.
“Again, I said last week,” Smith said, “I said two weeks ago, I said three weeks ago, four, ‘I beat him once, I’ll beat him twice.’ So, it’s not a problem. But this has to be right for me now and on my terms. You know, it’s not really about the Smith-Eubank sign, but a few other things has gotta be on my terms.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.