BOXERS have had fights at press conferences and it’s relief all round when it ends in hugs - David Haye v Dereck Chisora springs to mind.
Words will often hurt more than any sucker punch in front of the cameras, as Liam Williams found out on Tuesday lunchtime when he came face-to-face with Liam Smith.
Liverpool’s Smith won their first fight five months ago with a controversial cuts retirement. Williams was ahead when the dramatic ending came after nine great rounds, although Beefy was in the ascendency.
Their presser on the Tyne was expected to be fiery and it was. Smith did not hold back, constantly telling his Rhondda Valley rival that he quit in their first meeting at Manchester Arena.
Although both labelled the other a “s**thouse” when they faced off, Smith knows those words wounded, and Williams will have been boiling inside.
Boxers can often shrug off stick from the endless keyboard who pollute social media and message-boards, but when other boxers sitting two feet away use words in their face like “quit” “spewed it” and “jibbed out” it’s painful, it hurts and they’re wounded.
The bad feeling is genuine between the camps. Williams trainer Gary Lockett made it clear to us he will not speak publicly about the fight before they clash in Newcastle on November 11, and did not take a seat on the press conference top table, sitting quietly at the back.
Gary, whose often serious face doesn’t mask the good-humoured bloke that he is, insists he was taken out of context before the first fight leading to criticism from Smith’s team on social media.
It’s a stunning return match, with an intense rivalry that will hopefully end well and in years ahead see the pair at least on talking terms and perhaps looking forward to locking horns as rival trainers.
There are occasions when a boxer has perhaps ducked out early, but if a fighter and his corner feel they are genuinely well beaten or injured, there is no shame. Get back on the horse and return with even more serious intention.
Smith and Williams will both have that when they settle their differences in the autumn where the winner will earn a crack at the WBO super-welterweight title, owned by Miguel Cotto.
FRANK WARREN ins’t scared of matching his own boxers against each other at any stage of his career.
The two Liams, Smith and Williams meet with the winner on the brink of a world title shot.
One fight that he is happy to let drag on for now is between the unbeaten super-featherweights Zelfa Barrett and Lyon Woodstock.
Both can fight, both have terrific background stories and are as comfortable in the media as they have been in their combined 27 wins.
Mancunian Zelfa has had twice as many fights, but both are learning and impressing with every fight.
Both boxers know a fight is on the cards, and often text each other reminding the other to stay unbeaten, because a big time fight between them will happen.
CANELO v GGG SUBSCRIBERS BONUS
IT’S easy to say I have a vested interest as someone on the BoxNation staff, but fair play for not charging subscribers extra for next week’s Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez v Gennady Golovkin once-in-a-generation blockbuster.
Current subscribers and those who sign up to the channel before the big night will get it included in their subscription.
There will be a battery of pay-per-views in Britain between now and the end of this year, but nothing remotely close to splitting opinion among fighters and fans as Canelo v GGG.