Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith will carve out a place in British boxing history, predicts Wasserman Boxing promoter Kalle Sauerland.
Eubank and Smith will fight on January 21 at the AO Arena in Manchester, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Their middleweight clash has world-level implications. Smith is highly ranked with several sanctioning bodies at super-welterweight, while at 160lbs Eubank Jr is already number two with the WBC.
But Sauerland, who represents Eubank Jr, says he would welcome the fight with Smith becoming a formal world championship eliminator but heralds the contest as “a blockbuster by itself”.
“We welcome it, we wouldn’t say no,” Sauerland told Sky Sports. “But does it add spice? For me, no. Because let’s face it Junior is the undisputed star of the division at the moment.
“I mean that respectfully towards ‘GGG’ [Gennadiy Golovkin] because he’s having a timeout, whatever he’s doing. But the superstar is Junior at the moment,” Sauerland continued.
“And when I say superstar I mean eyeballs, money, numbers. That’s professional boxing. Erislandy Lara is a world champion. If I pitched you Lara versus Eubank, you’d say Kalle have another one, right? As a blockbuster. Now, I could go and do that in a casino somewhere in America, in front of 400 people, great.
“Whilst I like the idea of it being an eliminator and the WBC involved, I’m also a realist and this is a blockbuster by itself. It’s two huge traditional families in UK boxing and you’ve got both of them in arguably the toughest fights of their careers. What more do I want?
“This has got all the spice and trimmings already, if that comes along – amazing. But this is a throwback fight.”
Sauerland believes their bout could become “a historic fight”.
“This is about making a fight that we will go back and watch again in 10 years. When you say making a historic fight, that’s what it means,” Sauerland insisted.
“I believe that this is a fight that people can go back and watch on a par with Eubank Senior fights, or the Eubank Junior-George Groves fight with that epic last round.
“There’s been so many great fights in that venue over the years. That’s what I’m thinking that we’re going to see and once again this fight has not been made by sanctioning bodies, it’s not been made by promoters, it’s not been made by networks – it’s been made by the fans.”
Victory will move the winner on to other major fights at world level.
But Sauerland cautioned: “We focus on January 21.
“Let’s not look past the first blockbuster because that’s the first mistake you make in boxing and the last.
“Hence the rematch clause!” he added. “That’s not Junior’s choice, it’s the ‘evil’ promoter’s choice. That was a condition. When you bring the A-side, you go with rematches. That’s the business.
“Anything can happen in boxing.”
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith is on Saturday January 21, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book it now if you are a Sky TV subscriber or a Non-Sky TV subscriber. Buy tickets here.