Liam Smith and Anthony Fowler will meet in 154 lb matchup this weekend, dubbed as the 'Battle of Liverpool', with both men entering this bout with the must-win attitude for the pride of their hometown, Liverpool, as well as making a statement in this weight class.
Smith, at 33 years old, has never quite received the sort of attention that younger brother Callum Smith has got for winning a World Boxing Super Series tournament at 168 lbs. Nevertheless, even if this put him top of the division, Smith has been a top-quality fighter for a long time and amassed a record of 29-3-1, with 16 of these wins coming via TKO/KO. And, ultimately, Liam's skills are comparable to that of his brother Callum, but his 6ft 3 frame has seemingly given him the edge over the years.
Liam has also held a 154 lb world title when he snatched the vacant belt in 2015 before losing to Canelo Alvarez in 2016. He did also managed to defend the belt twice, but ever since he lost it, Smith has also lost unanimous decision results to Magomed Kurbanov and Jaime Munguía, but has also won six times to re-establish himself as a top draw in the light-middleweight ranks.
Smith is going to need to box clever here. It's crucial that he remains composed and sharp behind the jab because as shown in his defeats over the last few years, the Liverpudlian has sometimes lost round after round and never really came back with a convincing reply.
Moreover, the 33-year-old will need to be wary of Fowler's power and speed with the younger fighter amassing knocking out his last four opponents and having not been to the judges' scorecards in two years. Smith is going to need to box clever and ultimately, show he is the superior boxer and the one with more experience.
Smith is 4/7 to win the fight outright and 13/8 to win via TKO/KO, while Fowler is 5/6 to be knocked down.