Stephen Smith admits his world title hopes could be ended if he suffers defeat to Francisco Vargas
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 04/12/17 4:57pm
Stephen Smith says Francisco Vargas stands in the way of his final chance to win a world title and defeat in Las Vegas could force him to consider retirement.
The Liverpudlian can stay on course for a third shot at one of the world super-featherweight champions if he defeats Vargas at the Mandalay Bay Casino in the early hours of Sunday morning, live on Sky Sports.
Smith has fallen short at the top level, losing a verdict to IBF champion Jose Pedraza last April, then was beaten on points by WBA king Jason Sosa a few months later in November, and a further setback against Vargas would end his title ambitions.
I know I've probably got one more chance at it, and I've got to make it count.
"I'm not stupid. I know I'm not going to hang around, go back to British level and try and win a British title again. I've done that twice," Smith told Sky Sports.
"I want to try and win a world title, that's my goal, and if I can't do that, then I'll be done in boxing.
"I know I've probably got one more chance at it, and I've got to make it count.
"If I beat Francisco Vargas, that will get me a world title shot and I'll go into it with my tail up. I'll think I can beat a good fighter on the world stage. Third time lucky, it will top my career off for me."
Star names from the same division as Smith feature on the bill this weekend, with Tevin Farmer taking on Kenichi Ogawa for the vacant IBF title, while former WBO champion Orlando Salido battles Miguel Roman.
'Swifty' accepts he is facing stiff competition, but remains confident he can compete with the world's best.
"Across the four world champions at super-featherweight, it's a red-hot division, it's as good as any in the world," said Smith.
"I know how tough it is, I know how tough the job is that I've got to do, but things chop and change in boxing all the time, you see things happening.
"I know how hard it's going to be to win a world title, but I also know if I become world champion then I'll have earned it the proper way. I'll have done it the hard way and I'll want the respect for it."