Boxxer promoter Ben Shalom has a different fight on his hands when Liam Smith and Chris Eubank Jr rematch in Manchester on September 2.
Liverpool’s Smith impressively blitzed Eubank in four rounds at the same venue, the Manchester Arena, back in January and Shalom admitted last time it was hard to get people to believe Smith could win.
Such was the manner of Smith’s victory, Shalom has a different sales job to do, getting people to now believe Eubank can win.
Eubank has been working in Las Vegas for months and if he was doubting himself, he is not giving anything away. Former WBO super-welterweight champion Smith has been typically bullish, and understandably so, to the point that he is now the favourite with the bookmakers.
“Exactly,” Shalom admitted. “I think the problem with that fight the first time was trying to convince people that, believe it or not, Liam Smith had a chance. Now the same people that said Liam Smith didn’t have a chance, are now saying that Chris Eubank doesn’t have a chance. You know, last time we saw Chris we saw someone that had been through two weight [loss] camps, lost a lot of weight. Especially for that first fight that he was involved in, and there’s something different about it this time. I think, at the start it was a lot more serious.”
The rematch has had a considerable ‘on-off’ feel about it, with speculation that Eubank could drop it in favour of the often-talked about grudge fight with Conor Benn. But Eubank had a rematch clause and he triggered it to go back in with Smith.
Eubank was previously working with Roy Jones, but now he is with Brian McIntyre, best-known for his star student Terence Crawford. That Eubank-McIntyre link up was only made public after Crawford dazzled the world with his convincing win over Errol Spence, but Shalom suspects the Eubank-McIntyre relationship had been formed before.
“That wasn’t off the back of the win against Errol Spence,” claimed Shalom. “I’d heard that maybe a couple of weeks before, so he’d clearly been putting in work. I’d said that to Liam [Smith]. I’d still make Liam the favourite, as I did in the first fight. But Chris Eubank Jr. now knows how important the fight is, and I remember, when we made the first fight I thought it was going to be an absolute monster, classic war that could go 12 rounds. If Chris is that resilient fighter that we all loved and we all knew, and the one who fought George Groves who’s a much higher weight and obviously a huge puncher, then we’re going to see an incredible fight, and yeah, [there is] a lot on the line for Chris.”