Exclusive: Stephen Smith discusses Francisco Vargas performance, Las Vegas experience and future

Joe Hewlett 16/12/2017

Stephen Smith expressed his disappointment after a slow start against Francisco Vargas as he lost on points after Russell Mora halted the fight in the ninth.

All judges had the Mexican in front with the scorecards reading 89-82, 88-83, 88-83 during the ten-round match-up.

Smith felt he was coming on strong before a freak split to the ear ended proceedings in Las Vegas.

Speaking exclusively to World Boxing News, he expressed his frustrations, by saying: “If I’m being honest, I started terrible and it was a very slow start. I thought Vargas was there for the taking but for some reason I just couldn’t get going. I had a good fourth or fifth round followed by the seventh round.

“The plan was to finish round nine strongly and apply the pressure as it seemed like he was beginning to feel the pace of the fight. I was gutted I had that chance taken away from me.”

Quizzed on whether he’d be open to a rematch with Vargas, he replied: Yes of course, I’d love a rematch, there’s unfinished business because of the way the fight finished. But I think he’ll be looking to fight for a world title next so I don’t see it being my next fight.”

The severity of Smith’s ear left the 32-year-old being rushed to hospital straight after the fight, requiring plastic surgery followed by stitching.

‘Swifty’ revealed he doesn’t hold any grudges towards Vargas.

“He came over to me after the fight and gave me a hug and I was then taken to hospital. I have nothing against him it was just one of them things. It was a clash of styles, he has that classic Mexican style as a fighter but he wasn’t dirty.”

Despite the trauma the Liverpudlian experienced, he has at least fulfilled one his lifelong ambitions.

“I’ve boxed in the States before but this was surreal. Vegas is the Mecca of boxing, its somewhere all my heroes and idols have fought at. Fight week is just incredible over there, the build-up is something else,” The Liverpool man added.

Smith has announced his “intentions to fight for another world title” in 2018. But for now, enjoy a well-deserved Christmas break with your family, Stephen.

Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95