Chris Eubank Jr says he will only have to show “50% of what I can do” to beat Liam Smith in their middleweight fight in Manchester on January 21.
Speaking at a press conference, he mocked fellow Briton Smith, saying he was an easier opponent than Benn.
“Conor was an unknown, unpredictable, young and undefeated,” he said. “I know what Liam is.”
Eubank wore a jacket emblazoned with the logos of a fast food chain which he said had promised to provide him with as much fried chicken as he could eat during his training camp.
And the former IBO super middleweight champion wasted no time trying to agitate the 34-year-old Smith.
“I think 50% of what I can do will be enough to beat Liam,” he said.
“The bad guy is back. He never cheats, he never lies, he never cuts corners but he’s still the bad guy.”
Smith – a former world light middleweight champion – replied: “If he shows up at 50%, I’ll wipe the floor with him.”
Benn casts shadow over intriguing encounter – analysis
For a press conference on Eubank v Smith, Benn’s name was never far from anyone’s lips.
It’s been almost two months since it emerged that Benn failed two voluntary screening tests and his fight with Eubank was postponed two days before it was supposed to take place. He has since given up his boxing license and is now facing a legal battle to clear his name.
Eubank quickly moved on to another domestic rival, but the Benn saga predictably cast a big shadow over his return to the public eye.
He opened the press conference with a thinly veiled dig at Benn – who insists he’s a ‘clean’ fighter – saying he ‘never cheats’ and ‘never cuts corners’ .
Smith, too, was eager to bring up Benn – asking why there was a rematch clause for this fight, but that wasn’t the case when Eubank fought Benn.
And, of course, there’s the fact that Eubank’s “50%” and KFC’s taunts were ideas born while he was verbally arguing with Benn.
While Smith vs. Eubank may not command the same fanfare as Eubank vs. Benn, the fight is an intriguing encounter.
Both men have 32 wins, are a year apart and know how to put up an exciting fight. Both are in excellent form – Smith with three stoppage wins in a row and Eubank on a six-game winning streak.
The fight has all the hallmarks of an all-British classic, although the ghost of Eubank versus Benn continues to linger.