Liam Smith floored Chris Eubank Jr. twice before the fight was waved off at 1 minute, 9 seconds of the fourth round. Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Liam Smith settled his differences with Chris Eubank Jr. in emphatic fashion, stopping his English middleweight rival in four rounds on Saturday.

Smith floored Eubank twice, shattering his hopes of facing 40-year-old veteran Gennadiy Golovkin, the WBA and IBF world champion. Eubank went into the fight as ESPN’s No. 5-ranked middleweight, but this crushing loss casts doubt on whether he can win a world title like his father, Chris, a champion at middleweight and super middleweight in the 1990s.

No belts were on the line Saturday, but Smith will take an enormous amount of satisfaction in beating Eubank after an ugly buildup to the fight. At a news conference Thursday, Smith taunted Eubank over his sexuality, and Eubank made remarks about Smith’s private life and his home city of Liverpool. Both fighters apologized for their remarks, and there is every chance there will be a sequel as long as Eubank can make the middleweight limit.

Smith (33-3-1, 20 KOs), 34, from Liverpool, has had a roller-coaster career. He made two defenses as WBO welterweight champion in 2015-16 and also suffered a knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez in 2016. After his win over Eubank, he can look forward to another elite-level fight.

But Eubank has some thinking to do about his next move after being beaten by Smith, who last year was operating at super welterweight.

Eubank (33-3, 23 KOs), 33, from Brighton, who had four-weight world champion Roy Jones Jr. in his corner as trainer, had not fought for nearly a year after his fight against Conor Benn was cancelled due to his opponent testing positive for a banned substance at late notice last year. But despite the ring layoff, Eubank still went into this encounter as a big betting favorite.

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