Saturday, July 20, 2024

Liam Smith vs. Chris Eubank Jr. fight prediction, odds, undercard, start time, preview, how to watch

Heading into the January meeting between Liam Smith and Chris Eubank Jr., conventional wisdom stated that Smith likely couldn’t hurt Eubank and would need to outpoint him for the win. It took less than four rounds for Smith to destroy that line of thinking, dropping Eubank twice and leaving him on unsteady legs as the referee jumped in to stop the fight. On Saturday, Smith will look to prove his knockout win was no fluke when the pair rematch in Manchester, England.

To hear Eubank tell it, he was caught by an illegal elbow that set the finish into motion.

“He’s absolutely a dirty fighter. I said that before the fight. And yeah, he proved it on the night,” Eubank said in a recent interview. “He snuck [the elbow] in during a volley and he caught me, and it definitely affected what happened. But again, I’m not making any excuses, it was my fault. I shouldn’t have been there to receive that elbow. I shouldn’t have given him the opportunity. I did, he took advantage of that, and I paid the price. It’s the fight, you gotta do what you gotta do to win, and he did that.”

A late addition to the Eubank camp, trainer Brian “BoMac” McIntyre, has also addressed the elbow, claiming the strategy to deal with dirty tactics is simple: “Elbow his ass back.”

Eubank has also downplayed Smith’s win by repeatedly calling it a “miracle.” At the final press conference ahead of the fight, the fighters exchanged words over that claim.

“Which one was the miracle?” Smith asked. “That’s the question. Which one’s the miracle, Chris? What shot was the miracle?”

“The miracle was you walking away with a win over me,” Eubank said. “You shouldn’t have won the fight and I’m going to rectify that in a few days time.”

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Smith would ultimately say that the miracle was just how easy the win was and told Eubank’s team to be ready because Eubank will blame anyone but himself when history repeats itself.

The rest of the undercard fills out with rising prospects looking to make a mark. Super middleweights are set for the co-main event when Mark Heffron takes on Jack Cullen. Adam Azim battles Aram Faniian in a super lightweight contest. And Frazer Clarke takes on David Allen at heavyweight.

Plus, rising women’s star Mikaela Mayer is back in action when she takes on Silvia Bortot in a super lightweight contest. The former super featherweight champion got back in the win column in April after dropping her title unification bout with Alyicia Baumgardner in 2022 by split decision. Mayer said she is slowly building herself up to one day compete at welterweight.

“I feel great [at the weight]. This is a learning process for me because I’m going up. I felt I needed to go up for a long time,” Mayer said.

“Now it’s time for me to take what I’ve been training in the gym and put it into the ring. It’s a big difference. You can do things in the gym, but doing it on fight night is a whole other skill. I always want to show out and show some things that I’ve been working on.”

Let’s take a closer look at the complete card with the latest available odds before getting to a prediction and expert pick on the main event.

Smith vs. Eubank 2 fight card, odds

Favorite Underdog Weight class
Liam Smith -160 Chris Eubank Jr. +135 Middleweight
Mark Heffron -360 Jack Cullen +280 Super middleweight
Adam Azim -1400 Aram Faniian +800 Super lightweight
Frazer Clarke -1400 David Allen +800 Heavyweight
Mikaela Mayer -2500 Silvia Bortot +1200 Super lightweight

Prediction

Elbow or not, Smith caught Eubank quickly and that was all it took the first time around. The chances of Smith doing the same thing in the rematch just aren’t that high. That isn’t to say Smith can’t outfight and outpoint Eubank over 12 rounds. Smith is entirely capable of doing just that by trying to get inside and get to work but if he decides that he should swing for the fences, it will open the door for a more athletic and dynamic Eubank.

For Eubank, everything comes down to discipline. He has suggested he wants to mix it up more in this fight but his best play is to keep the fight on the outside, scoring points to open up power shots. Whether he can keep himself to fighting at the right distance while taking advantage of openings to land big punches. If pride takes over and he allows Smith to get inside just to prove a point, things get a lot more difficult for the bigger, faster and more skilled fighter. Pick: Chris Eubank Jr. via UD

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