Chris Eubank Jr bids to avenge his January fourth round TKO loss to Liam Smith at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports Box Office, with ring walks slated for 10pm.
However, the Brighton-based boxer must defy 13/10 underdog status if he’s to do so, with ‘Beefy 4/6 favourite to confirm his superiority. Eubank blames his first fight defeat on complacency, but our Eubank vs Smith predictions expect that reading itself to seem complacent come the final bell.
Eubank Jr vs Smith II predictions
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Smith stoppage must be an underrated bet on January evidence
Liam Smith will enter this rematch confident in his ability to stop Chris Eubank after his convincing TKO victory in the pair’s January tussle. The referee could easily have stopped the bout after the first of the two fourth round knockdowns which left Eubank legless and disorientated.
It was arguably the first heavy blow ‘Beefy’ landed that night and the fact that it did so much damage will mean he won’t feel the need to go chasing the fight against an opponent who could well be more backwards in coming forwards this time around.
Smith has stopped his last four opponents coming into this main event bout, with his most recent two wins coming inside four rounds in what were his first two fights at the 160lb middleweight limit.
Middleweight feels a far less comfortable fit for Eubank, who has effectively stopped just one of five opponents since coming back down from super middle (one of his stoppage wins was a TKO after Matvey Korborov retired injured in the second round of their 2019 encounter).
Smith will test his rival’s (potentially weight-drained) concentration and resolve again by making himself a small target and looking to counter. If the man often referred to simply as Junior takes the bait again, history tells us he can be toppled inside the limit.
Tip: Smith to win in rounds 4-6 @ 7/1 ” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Smith to win by KO/TKO @ 13/8
Cagier Eubank won’t necessarily push this contest any deeper
The general consensus among the many boxers, trainers, promoters and ex-fighters called upon to make predictions ahead of the rematch is that Smith will once again prevail, likely by stoppage, but that it will be later in the piece this time around.
However, although it might stand to reason that Eubank Jr will be more pragmatic on Saturday knowing that his opponent can hurt him, that doesn’t mean he’ll carry out the gameplan.
The lingering psychological effects of a fighter’s first big KO defeat so often leave their abilities changed for the worse. It will be a tall order for Eubank to return to the ring with the same confidence and conviction that he possessed before his first encounter with the Liverpudlian.
If Junior is to attempt to outbox Smith over the full 12 rounds it’s far from nailed on to work, with Smith appearing to have easily as good a boxing brain back in January. The avenger’s resume hardly vouches for his ability to carry out such a gameplan either.
The majority of Eubank’s previous points wins have come in one-sided fashion against overmatched foes like Marcus Morrison or fighters struggling to make weight such as Arthur Abraham.
As a result it would be far from surprising it the curtain comes down in or around the same round-count as their first fight.