Joe McNally made sure to tell anyone who would listen that Liam Smith’s underrated punching power would be one of the foremost factors in his domestic showdown with Chris Eubank Jr.
McNally claimed following Smith’s stunning fourth-round stoppage of Eubank that the favored fighter’s underestimation of Smith’s strength was one of the primary reasons for that unforeseen result Saturday night at AO Arena in Manchester, England. Liverpool’s Smith (33-3-1, 20 KOs) dropped Eubank twice in the fourth round to produce the most memorable knockout of the former WBO junior middleweight champion’s 14-year professional career.
“I did tell you, you know, a lotta people are overestimating Chris’ power and underestimate Liam’s,” McNally told promoter Ben Shalom during their post-fight press conference. “I told you in the hotel, too, said, ‘Liam touches him, he’ll know what time it is.’ Look, you know, strange things happen in boxing, and I’m not really that shocked. I’ll take the victory, but he was coming away with the victory by KO or by points decision [Saturday night] definitely.”
The 33-year-old Eubank (32-3, 23 KOs), of Brighton, England, controlled the action during the third round, but the 34-year-old Smith emphatically ended their 12-round middleweight match in the ensuing round.
Smith’s left uppercut blasted Eubank as he attempted to slip punches with his back to a neutral corner. A left hook soon after that uppercut connected sent Eubank to the canvas 45 seconds into the fourth round.
Eubank instinctually got up quickly. He tried to hold Smith, but Smith’s short right hand knocked Eubank to the canvas again.
Referee Victor Loughlin stopped their fight 1:09 into the fourth round, as soon as Eubank got up from that second knockdown. Eubank, who has competed as high as the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds, lost inside the distance for the first time in 35 professional fights.
“I had eyes on Eubank for a lotta years,” McNally said. “You know, we know he’s not fundamentally the most best boxer out there. And I’ve got a man next to me here that can do everything. You know, he’s got this. And Chris underestimated him, I truly believe, and a one-trick pony chugging forward. I lost [Smith] for the little bit in the third round, you know, because he’s a ballsy c-nt. But he got back to it in the fourth and he pulled that knockout out and he’s just a fantastic fighter. There’s nothing he can’t do.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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