Betting preview: Liam Smith's class to shine through against Anthony Fowler

Bragging rights and money are up for grabs in Liverpool next month as Liam Smith puts his reputation on the line against Anthony Fowler.

Liam Smith can see off local rival Anthony Fowler next month when the pair meet for Liverpool bragging rights at the M&S Bank Arena on October 9.

It's not often a fighter will talk about fighting for the money, but next month's super welterweight clash between the two Liverpool-born boxers has been tagged exactly that.

It's a dangerous, 'no-win' fight for the experienced Smith, who has a CV full of talented opponents, including Canelo Alvarez and Jaime Munguia.

A win for favourite Smith (8/15) and he will get the obvious levelled at him, lose and his career and a world title shot could be in tatters.

Smith, 33, is well aware he has the pedigree to make it a tough night for Fowler and he's questioned whether his younger rival's heart is in the showdown.

"He's accepted the fight but I do think Eddie (Hearn) has forced his hand. I know Eddie, and money talks," Smith told the Liverpool Echo last month.

"He'll have been offered good money if he wins and alright money for his next fight if he loses. I've been around boxing for a long time, I know how it works. Whether he believes he can win is a different story. Only time will tell."

How can I watch it?

The card will begin from 7pm GMT and you can watch it live and exclusively on DAZN worldwide.

Smith will not take Fowler for granted

'Beefy' will not enter the ring looking beyond Fowler though, his famous brothers will make sure of that.

"People are making out that I'm overlooking him but I'm from too good a family to overlook anyone," said Smith.

"If I did that, they'd put me in my place. I'm never in a million years going to overlook Anthony Fowler, especially in the Arena in front of a big crowd. I'm confident in my own ability though, I'll back myself against anyone, especially in Britain.

"This is about city bragging rights and money really. No one above me and where I want to go looks at me beating Fowler and thinks 'he's back' but in the same sense, it's a good fight for me to get my teeth into. I'm still the best 154 pounder in Britain and I have been for what, eight or nine years now?"

He has also made it clear he and Fowler are not friends and told Planet Sport last month there is "no need for mind games".

New trainer

Revitalised under new local trainer Joe McNally, Smith thinks he has rediscovered his spark.

"I've got a little bit of fire back in my belly. I'm closer to home. I've got to impress new people but I'm back in the Rotunda where I was brought up and I'm with people I know.

"I'm happy where I am and I'm looking forward to showing what I've been doing. I'm never going to forget what Joe [Gallagher] taught me but I'm 33 now and my new trainers will be able to add to what I've already learned."

There was evidence of that spark in his last fight in May - a controversial defeat to Russian Magomed Kurbanov. Smith looked to have done enough on the cards in Kurbanov's backyard but his tricky opponent got the verdict 117-112, 115-113 twice. It has since been described as a "gift" by Smith, who looks to have the bit between his teeth.

In last month's first face-off, Fowler was left hanging after offering his hand to Smith. Smith was having none of it and any suggestion he may not be taking Fowler seriously was brushed away.

Vowing to dominate the centre of the ring, Smith will undoubtedly pressure his younger opponent. And anything like a repeat of the form which saw him win his three fights previous to the defeat in Russia, will be enough for him to get the better of Fowler.

An unanimous points win over Roberto Garcia (December 2019), a seventh-round technical knockout win over Mario Alberto Lozano (August 2019) and another technical knockout, this time in the 5th round, against Sam Eggington (March 2019) shows why Smith is fancied to get Fowler out of there.

Fowler's form

Fowler, 30, a former Olympian has won his last six fights. And his knockout percentage of 80% is far superior to Smith's 55%, but his opponents have not been of the same calibre as Smith's.

Fowler stopped limited, 33-year-old Rico Mueller in eight rounds last time out. He also floored Jorge Fortea with a jab before finishing the Spaniard with a right hand in March 2021.

Adam Harper, Theophilus Tetteh and the ageing Brian Rose have also been disposed of in the last two years. None of those fights will have Smith concerned though.

Fowler's only defeat was a split decision loss to the unfancied Scott Fitzgerald, in which he was floored in the final round by his younger opponent. Fitzgerald provided a huge upset in an entertaining fight, which just went the way of Preston-born fighter.

Fowler, who is a 13/8 shot, knows he will have to up his game as he steps up in class and he may just find Smith too classy.

McGrail set for debut on undercard

Olympian Peter McGrail will make his debut on the undercard in Liverpool.

The 26-year-old Liverpudlian will be looking to bounce back after his shock defeat at the Olympics at the first hurdle.

The featherweight was a genuine medal hope for Tokoyo but was beaten by Thailand's experienced Chatchai-decha Butdee.

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