In the build-up to this weekend’s riveting ‘No Ifs, No Buts’ rematch between the feuding Liams, pollster Glynn Evans canvassed 15 boxers, past and present, on whether we can expect repeat or revenge.
Lee Selby (IBF Featherweight Champion) - Williams points
In the rematch, I'm going to have to back my fellow countryman, Liam Williams, to win by points.
Jimmy Kilrain Kelly (WBO challenger) - Smith points
Williams is a top lad and should’ve won the first fight. I’m surprised the ref didn’t see the head clash and call in the judges’ cards (Williams was ahead by a point on all three). But I favour Smith again in a similar fight to last time.
I expect Williams will start quick and get a good lead but Smith will eventually grind him down. This time, I expect Williams will try to box more and engage less. Smith by close decision, something like 115-113. It could even be a split.
Ensley Bingham (WBO challenger) - Williams points
I go with Williams to edge it on points in another exceptional and exciting fight. He was winning first time easily enough until the head clash.
This time Smith must get involved earlier and apply pressure to try to force Williams to make mistakes. But I believe Williams will cope with that.
Gary Corcoran (British Title challenger) - Smith
It’s a 50-50 fight that’ll go to whoever gets it right on the night. I slightly favour Smith. Last time Williams was beating Smith up and I had him three or four rounds ahead after nine, far wider than the judges. But then he ‘gassed out’.
Let’s be honest, Williams had been using his head all night, Smith stuck his head in once, split open the eye and Williams ‘pussied out’. If Williams enters fresher, he has the brain and ability to beat Smith but he’s a very big super-welter who has to lose a lot of weight. That’s why he ‘gasses out’.
Kid Galahad (Featherweight contender) - Williams stoppage
My prediction is Liam Williams will beat Liam Smith to the jab, and then probably stop him late on a cut.
Bradley Pryce (Ex Commonwealth Champion) - Smith stoppage
I think Smith wins again in another good fight. Liam Williams wasn’t looking that good when the first fight ended. He seemed very tired and I think Smith was starting to dominate, regardless of the cut.
I believe we’ll see a very similar fight to last time with Smith taking over late and forcing a stoppage.
Billy Joe Saunders (WBO World Middleweight Champion) - Undecided
I think it's going to be very cagey for the first six rounds. I'm not sitting on the fence because I know both and I get on with both, but I genuinely think it's a 50/50 fight.
Smith's going to come faster and sharper this time from the get go, but that's only going to make Williams more aware and focused. It's a really good fight and I'm looking forward to it. It's a close one!
Ryan Rhodes (WBC challenger) - Williams points
Great fight. I favour Liam Williams on points. He brought a great game plan last time which left Liam Smith struggling to get his shots off and land anything. The fight changed once Williams got cut and was then pulled out pretty much straight away. Just before he got cut, Williams caught Smith with the head. I’m not sure if the subsequent ‘clash’ was an accident or retaliation.
Provided cuts don’t spoil it this time, I go with the younger, fresher kid. I expect Williams will be the busier, sharper, more accurate.
Lucien Reid (Super-Bantamweight prospect) - Williams stoppage
I fancy Williams inside the distance. I've seen him train, I've seen him spar - he's looking beasty! He's in unbelievable shape.
I think he was winning the first fight until the headbutt, so Williams for me.
Anthony ‘Arnie’ Farnell (Ex WBO Inter-Continental Champion) - Smith stoppage
I think Smith wins another great fight. He started way too slow last time and gave Williams a massive lead but he’s smart enough to change that. Now he knows how good Williams is, he’ll show him more respect.
Ability wise, they’re on a similar level. Williams knows he can out box Smith. Smith probably has more guts and can usually find a way to win when things are not going well. If Smith can apply his pressure earlier, he might even stop Williams late.
Jamie Moore (Ex British and Commonwealth Champion) - Smith
A lot will depend on Liam Williams’ mental state. He had control of the first fight but I was shocked by how unsettled he became by the cut. If he hasn’t overcome that, it might bite him on the arse.
Going in, it seemed as if Liam Smith had taken his eye off the ball. This time, he’ll be better prepared and more confident.
Liam Williams’ style has more strings. He can do a little bit of everything and is more complete. Conversely, Liam Smith is a good pressure fighter and body puncher. He probably holds the edge up close, in the pocket.
If I had to put money on it, I’d chose Smith but with little conviction. He’s so strong mentally, perhaps he can drag Williams into his fight.
Richie Woodhall (1988 Olympic medallist) - Smith points
I favour Smith ever so slightly in what should be another great fight. Williams had his chance last time and if he was going to do it, I think it was back then.
Smith has the greater experience, he’ll analyse what went wrong last time and we’ll see a better Liam Smith as a consequence. Last time, I don’t think he expected Williams to be that quick.
I expect Williams will be in even better condition this time but I think Smith beats him on points.
Richie Williams (Ex Commonwealth and IBO Champion) - Williams points
Fights with ‘needle’ always tend to be good and I think Williams is gonna gain his revenge in an attritional war.
Fighting is an emotional thing and you have to control that. Williams strikes me as a compact all-rounder with a good boxing brain. Gary Lockett his coach knows boxing.
Williams has something to prove and he’s also the fresher. If they have to dig down - as I sense they will - that’ll be crucial. I think he’ll have more appetite down the stretch and will win a close points decision.
Robin Reid (1992 Olympic medallist) - Williams points
Going off the last one, I see Williams winning if he sticks to the same tactics. He did everything right, bar getting cut.
Clearly there’s ‘beef’ between them. It was a rough and tumble fight and I think Smith just got his own back, after copping a few (butts) earlier. Us fighters are that focussed on winning, we’ve all resorted to a few ‘dirty’ tricks. Smith just made sure Williams ‘manoeuvred’ into his head!
This time, Williams will be wary of being cut and will stay out of trouble. I see him using his faster hands to win on points.
Wayne Alexander (Ex British and European champion) - Smith points
The first one was very close. I thought Smith was just getting into it before Williams got cut.
This time, I doubt Smith takes him so lightly. Having been in with ‘Canelo’, he knew he had nothing to fear facing Williams. Now he’ll see him as a threat.
I hope cuts aren’t an issue this time. I see Smith nicking a close 12 round decision but I wouldn’t bet on it.
FINAL SCORE: WILLIAMS 7, SMITH 7, UNDECIDED 1