Paulie Malignaggi breaks down Smith-Eubank Jr 2 & Canelo-Charlo as he speaks to Boxing News’ Andi Purewal.
Pauli: “I tell you that was a good press conference. Some good trash talking. Liam Smith is a good trash talker—that’s what I got out of it. He knows how to play really good mind games.”
According to Malignaggi, Liam Smith, a maestro in the sweet science of mental warfare, landed the first blows. Does it set the tone for the actual fight?
Changing Trainers: A Risky Move?
“From a psychological perspective, you’ve got the trainer who’s training the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Are you gonna work on key game planning elements, if anything? But it’s not a lot of technical stuff.”
A month before the fight, Eubank announced a trainer change going from Roy Jones Jr to his new trainer, Brian “BoMac” McIntyre, Terence Crawford’s coach. Malignaggi questioned the timing and the potential for a mental advantage it might offer. Can a new corner actually teach an old dog new tricks this close to a big fight?
Who Needs to Make Adjustments?
“Does Eubank have to make the adjustments, or does Smith have to? As for Eubank, it’s more about the consistency really… His adjustment has to be more mental… I think for me, the physical adjustments are on Smith.”
A rematch often begs the question: Who has more to adjust, the winner or the loser? While Smith delivered a knockdown in their first showdown, Malignaggi contemplates the fact that Eubank was ahead before he got distracted.
Predictions: A Flip of a Coin?
“I really would just be flipping a coin if I gave you a prediction. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air; they’re intangibles, and that’s why you just watch the fight.”
What’s Next for the Loser?
“I think anytime you lose, you’re always at a high level, and you’re coming down to a certain age. Sometimes you think to yourself, ‘Okay, how much more do I want to do this? Do I want to rebuild back? Is the road to rebuilding worth it?'”
When a fighter loses, especially at a high-stakes level, it can become a moment of reflection. Do they hang up the gloves or return to the drawing board? Either way, Malignaggi thinks it’s a question both fighters might be asking themselves if they lose. Does this fight have retirement stakes?