TRAINER Joe McNally would like a bit more appreciation for Liam Smith.
After parting ways with long-time coach Joe Gallagher in 2021 ‘Beefy’ eventually teamed up with friend and ex-pro McNally in Liverpool.
At 34-years-old you would be forgiven for thinking that Smith is now involved in the final chapter of a professional career which started in 2008. However, 15 years on the Scouser is performing better than ever. No greater evidence of that came than in January when he bulldozed through Chris Eubank Jr stopping the polarising figure in four rounds.
Negotiations for Smith-Eubank 2 have dragged on for weeks with the fight postponed on a couple of occasions due to an injury picked up Smith. The former WBO super-welterweight belt holder is currently campaigning at middleweight but seems to move comfortably between 154lbs and 160lbs. One name that Smith 33-3-1 (20) has been linked with over the years is that of Tim Tszyu. The Australian powerhouse is in need of a fight after watching number one super-welterweight Jermell Charlo move two divisions to take on Canelo Alvarez in September.
“Liam Smith’s one of them, got a kit will travel,” trainer McNally told Boxing News when speaking about a potential Tszyu fight.
“He’ll go anywhere around the world. If they’re going to pay Liam and the money’s right, he’ll go anywhere. He doesn’t give two fucks about fighting anyone. He’s a real throwback. In his situation it’s about the financial side of things now. He’s took short money all around the world. He’s finally getting his just dues on the business side of things. Credit to the man. If it makes financial sense Liam Smith won’t turn back anyone. He’d fight Tyson Fury if it made financial sense!”
It seems forever ago that the brother of fellow fighters Paul (retired), Stephen (retired) and Callum captured his biggest prize to date against John Thompson (in 2015). The WBO belt was defended on two occasions against Jimmy Kelly and Predrag Radosevic before falling short against Canelo Alvarez. That ninth-round defeat thanks to a trademark Canelo body-shot helped put Smith’s name out there arguably more than the win over Thompson.
Since then, the versatile Smith has picked up wins against Liam Williams, acquitted himself well against Jaime Munguia in a points loss which was then followed by victories over Sam Eggington, Roberto Garcia, Anthony Fowler, Jessie Vargas and Chris Eubank Jr. In the middle of that run of multiple triumphs there was a controversial defeat to Magomed Kurbanov in Russia which for many observers was the wrong result.
McNally is personally delighted to see Smith finally getting some credit but had a message for the British boxing public.
“It’s magnificent for me because it’s a little bit personal because I’ve knew him since he was a baby, and we were professionals together ourselves in the same camp.
“We’ve been through hardships at the start of our careers. He had a draw with Terry Carruthers, a fight he shouldn’t have took and he was coming back and we got the world championship with Joe Gallagher and he never really got the recognition he deserved. Joe transitioned him into a magnificent fighter.
“I just don’t think the British public have really every given [him] the kudos he deserves. He’s not super-magnificent at everything but he does everything really good and is so intelligent. I was saying this to the young lads in the gym. I said you need to be sparring him as much as you can, studying him, watching him and listening to him as much as your coach because once he’s gone, he’s gone. If that’s in the next 12 months, 18 months, two years, 12 months it’s a loss to British boxing really. So, let’s appreciate him while he’s here.”