EXCLUSIVE: After his own Las Vegas horror cut, Stephen Smith airs views on how Tyson Fury went the distance
Like Tyson Fury at the weekend, two-time world title challenger Stephen Smith is no stranger to fighting with a horror cut in the boxing capital of the world of Las Vegas.
‘Swifty’ famously suffered a shocking tear in his ear when battling Fernando Vargas at the Mandalay Bay in 2017.
Upon witnessing Fury’s terror gash at the T-Mobile Arena, Smith is in prime position to air his views on what transpired.
Opponent Otto Wallin sliced the eyebrow of ‘The Gypsy King’ before doing all he could, legal or not, to make the injury worse.
Many believe Fury could, and should, have been pulled out by the ringside doctor. This is despite subsequently making it through the twelve rounds for a unanimous triumph.
Asked for his opinion on why Tony Weeks didn’t end the contest early, Smith gave props to Fury’s ability to cope with the ailment.
“I think basically because it was Tyson. He’s so evasive at the weight and unbeaten, he got through the fight,” Smith exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I think a lot of people with that cut wouldn’t have seen the final bell. And I think the ref would have stopped the fight if not for the reputation (of Fury).
“But he’s so slick as a heavyweight. He got past the line. It was as bad as a cut I’ve seen, though.
“Not that he should have (been stopped), I just think a lot of referees could have.
“The fact that he doesn’t get hit that often, I think maybe that helped him. Even though he didn’t perform at his best he still didn’t take as many punches as what many other heavyweights do.
“It probably was good that he’s as evasive as he is to get him through the fight with that cut.”
He continued: “I’m not saying the referee should have stopped it, but I just think it was a bad cut. It could have been stopped and a lot of referees may have stopped it.”
Asked about his own injury, which happened almost two years ago, Smith said it’s not something he worries about any more.
“It’s fine, it’s 100%. It’s not something that ever comes to mind,” he explained. “I don’t ever think about it when I’m boxing or whether my ear is alright. It feels brand new.
“I sort of put it to the back of my mind now. I forgot about it, even though every time someone mentions it. It was just a one-off,” Smith concluded.
After more than a year out of action, Smith returned to the ring twice in mid-2019, winning both bouts on points over six rounds.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay (article transcribed by Assistant Editor).