British rivals Liam Smith and Chris Eubank Junior came together today, this at the press conference to officially announce their June 17th rematch in Manchester. There was the usual verbal jousting one expects at a presser, yet what was perhaps surprising was Eubank’s attitude. Eubank, who was knocked down and was stopped in the fourth round by Smith in their January fight, almost acted today as though he was the winner of the fight.
We know Eubank has a huge ego, yet it would have been nice to see just a little humility on his part. Instead, Eubank today spoke of a “lucky punch, a lucky combination, a lucky elbow…. whatever you want to call it” as he gave his take on what happened in fight-one. Eubank, who was back on his feet after being dropped in that fourth round, said today that he was not given the opportunity to fight on, as he says he could have done. “It was a once in a lifetime thing,” Eubank said of his being stopped. But Eubank is adamant he could have carried on.
“I’m not like these other fighters, like a Billy Joe Saunders who is looking for a way out. I’m looking for a way in,” Eubank said today in criticising the way the referee stopped the fight in January. “I’m looking for a way to overcome and I think that was taken away from me.”
Smith countered with the fact that Eubank’s trainer, Roy Jones, was on the ring apron at the time of the ref’s stoppage, with white towel in hand, ready to stop the fight himself. Eubank said he was “unaware” of Jones holding the towel. However, Eubank said today that he will “be telling Roy, from now on, don’t ever bring a towel to any of my fights ever again.”
Smith, smiling at the sheer arrogance of Eubank, then asked his rival why he was “so petrified” in their first fight.
“Can I ask you a genuine question? Did you get knocked out in the build-up or anything?” Smith said.
“What does that mean?” Eubank replied.
“Did you get knocked out in sparring in the build-up?” Smith asked again.
“No, I didn’t get knocked out in sparring,” Eubank said. “What a strange inquiry that was.”
“Because of how petrified you were of getting hit. You’re not usually like that,” Smith said. “You were looking away, you were blinking, closing your eyes. Every time I got near you, you were terrified.”
“That’s an absurd overstatement,” Eubank shot back. “The issue with you is – and I said it before – you like to play dirty. So I said, let me try and stay away from the possibility of getting cut, or some stupid injury happening.”
Smith had, maybe, the last word:
“I didn’t need to be dirty with you, Chris – you were f*****g easy!”
Let’s see what happens in the rematch. Eubank did say today that his hat will come off if Smith beats him again. Smith is certain he will do just that.