Liam Smith fears his brothers will have to tell him to quit as he prepares to fight Chris Eubank Jr

Liam Smith fears his brothers will have to tell him to stop as he gets into his fight against Chris Eubank Jr, which has been overshadowed by the Merseysider’s homophobic comments ahead of the clash at the Manchester Arena

  • Liam Smith fears his brothers could tell him to stop boxing if he loses on Saturday
  • Smith takes on Chris Eubank Jr in a Sky Sports PPV match at Manchester Arena
  • It was overshadowed in advance by Smith’s homophobic comments
  • The winner could use it as a stepping stone in the battle for world titles

The predominantly Merseyish crowd at Manchester Arena won’t give a damn that their hero, Liam Smith, exposed false homophobic allegations to Chris Eubank Jr ahead of Saturday’s turning point.

Not even that his opponent was eventually tricked by c-word insults into responding by accusing the third-eldest of Liverpool’s beloved fighting Smith brothers of marital infidelity.

They will stand behind Smith to a husband and wife, regardless of how this totally unnecessary outburst might reflect the proud Scouse brotherhood.

Chris Smith's fans will be backing him at Manchester Arena despite his bad comments

Chris Smith’s fans will be backing him at Manchester Arena despite his bad comments

So let’s put aside the foul-mouthed rants he’s been urged into by the PR men and broadcasters looking to boost Sky’s pay-per-view sales – and tune in to the real Liam.

The warrior, whose greatest fear of defeat is the here and now, will send him to a coffee table meeting where his siblings will advise him to seriously consider continuing boxing.

“That’s what I fear the most,” he says of the possibility of the other three struggling Smith brothers calling a Sunday summit.

“That’s what we did with Paul,” Liam, 34, recalls of the collective family decision that the eldest of these close-knit boxers should retire.

Chris Eubank Jr. (L) wore a rainbow armband in support of the LGBT+ community in advance

Chris Eubank Jr. (L) wore a rainbow armband in support of the LGBT+ community in advance

“He lost to an opponent who wouldn’t have beaten him even a few months earlier. So we sat down with him and asked him to seriously consider what would be best for his future. ‘

“We are all very supportive of each other. That was a big factor in our success. That’s a strong bond that Eubank doesn’t have.

“If things get difficult, we can turn to each other. It makes for a very different lifestyle than Chris.

“I drove over from Liverpool. I’m sure Chris was chauffeured to Manchester in a big fancy car. We live a clean life. never smoked Rarely drink anything. Work hard.’

Smith moves up a division to middleweight as he prepares to face Eubank Jr. in Manchester

Smith moves up a division to middleweight as he prepares to face Eubank Jr. in Manchester

To be fair, Eubank Jr. embodies these virtues as well. As he proved as he slogged down to the lowest weight of his pro career to take on Conor Benn, albeit in vain, was revealed to be the son of Nigel for failing two drug tests.

There was no such drastic weight reduction here.

Despite moving up a division to middleweight, Smith was heavier than Eubank on a pre-weigh-in visit.

Even so, Junior will still be the bigger man to step into the ring on Saturday.

Eubank Jr. is a slight favorite in Saturday's fight that could lead to challenges for the world title

Eubank Jr. is a slight favorite in Saturday’s fight, which could lead to challenges for the world title

As such, he starts as a marginal favorite in what will likely see the winner in the world title challenges and the virtual end for the loser.

Eubank says: “The common perception seems to be that I have more to lose because Liam already has a couple of big world titles to his credit and I don’t.

“But although that’s stressing me out a bit, I think he’s the one who’s under the most pressure. He has the people of Liverpool who rely on him to carry them through these tough economic times.

Most exciting for Eubank is a potential mega-million title fight with Mexican idol Canelo Alvarez.

Even if he loses, he can trigger a rematch clause for a second fight with Smith. With another money spinner in the bank if and when Benn is free to fight again.

The pair can even be set for a rematch if it's a close encounter on Sky Sports' pay-per-view

The pair can even be set for a rematch if it’s a close encounter on Sky Sports’ pay-per-view

Smith’s agenda is less certain if he is defeated. Although he insists, “I’m just as hungry to win a world title in a second division as I am to my first championship fight.”

Says Eubank: “My time is coming. By KO.’

He’s probably right. But as a hedge in case Smith takes him the distance, it would be prudent to build a lead in the first eight rounds to have a cushion against the tendency to fade a bit late in a fight.

Eubank Jr v Smith will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Box Office this Saturday night for £19.95

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Maureen Mackey

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