Chris Eubank Jr has started the mind games ahead of his fight with Liam Smith, employing a similar tactic as to when he was preparing to fight Conor Benn.
Eubank made ‘60%’ a slogan in the build up to his later-postponed fight with Benn. He had it printed on t-shirts, written on birthday cakes (during a serious weight cut), and repeated it in interviews.
Why? It was, according to him, the level of performance required to win.
Since that fight’s cancellation following Benn’s positive drug tests, Eubank Jr has announced Liverpool’s Liam Smith as his opponent for January 21 in Manchester.
Despite many fans believing it’s a much tougher test for Eubank, the man himself clearly disagrees. He told Sky Sports that this time the magic number would be 55.
“60% is much too generous to give a Liam Smith. He’s below that, and, you know, if he’s ready for it then he will receive it.”
For his part, Smith chalks the comments up to Eubank being a ‘clown’ – and points to sparring sessions between the two that should prove it.
“He said I’m a good fighter but I’ve fought no one of his level. I’ve fought Canelo, Jaime Munguía. Every time Chris has fought anyone better than him he’s lost, and I feel it’ll be the same on January 21st.”
“[On the 60% comment] That’s just Chris being a clown. He’s seen my interview where I said he knows he can’t be 60% for this, and he’s obviously thought ‘Can’t I? Well I’m going to play that game and I’ll be 55 [percent].'”
“That’s just him being a clown. You only have to see the announcement yesterday for people to know it’s a much tougher fight for Chris Eubank Jr than Conor Benn was. He’s not stupid. We’ve sparred. He knows that.”
If Smith wins as he’s predicting, he’ll have to do it all over again. Promoter Ben Shalom recently revealed a rematch clause for Eubank in the contract – a strange decision given there are no titles on the line.