Liam Williams is well aware that Chris Eubank Jr. has some advantages over Liam Smith.
Wales’ Williams, the only opponent to face Eubank and Smith, still thinks Smith will win their 12-round middleweight match Saturday night at AO Arena in Manchester, England. Williams acknowledged that Eubank hits harder than Smith, yet he expects Smith’s boxing IQ and defense to help the former WBO junior middleweight champion upset Eubank.
“I think Smith is gonna win,” Williams told Sky Sports for a segment the network aired and streamed on its YouTube channel. “I think it’s gonna be a great fight nevertheless, but I think Smith is probably gonna win.”
Eubank (32-2, 23 KOs) and Smith (32-3-1, 19 KOs) have both beaten Williams by unanimous decision in 12-round fights.
Eubank knocked Williams (24-4-1, 19 KOs) to the canvas four times, once apiece in the first, second, fourth and 11th rounds. Eubank beat Williams by scores of 117-109, 116-109 and 116-108 last February 5 at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales.
Smith stopped Williams due to two cuts on his right eyelid after the ninth round in April 2017 at the same venue where Eubank and Smith will meet Saturday night. Smith then beat Williams by majority decision in their 12-round rematch, which took place in November 2017 at Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England.
While Williams respects Eubank’s power, he views Smith as a more well-rounded fighter.
“I think it’s a case of Liam Smith has a good amateur background, he’s well-schooled, he’s got good defense, good head movement, where he’s just got all the basics down,” Williams said. “And you don’t always need to be fancy to win and dazzling to be an effective fighter. Yeah, so I just think for them reasons alone he’s got all bases covered.”
Williams believes Eubank will have a tough time hitting Smith, who has been stopped only by Canelo Alvarez, with the type of flush punches that could knock him out.
“Liam Smith will probably be easier to hit, but you would never catch him clean,” Williams said. “There would be gloves and arms and shoulders [deflecting those punches]. I think Eubank had a better defense in a different way. It was like because of his feet. He was moving in and out of range and that’s obviously why I couldn’t put him down. But Smith, purely defense as you would know it, arms up, tight guard, he’s better in that sense.”
Most oddsmakers have installed Brighton’s Eubank as a 3-1 favorite to beat Liverpool’s Smith. Their fight will headline a Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view show in the United Kingdom and Ireland (£19.95; 6 p.m. GMT) and a DAZN stream in the United States (1 p.m. ET; 10 a.m. PT).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.