Stephen Smith knows he is facing a must-win fight against Francisco Vargas, says brother Callum
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 06/12/17 1:57pm
Stephen Smith knows "everything is at stake" in his Las Vegas showdown with Francisco Vargas and will keep his world title ambitions alive, says brother Callum.
The Liverpudlian hopes to receive a third shot at one of the world super-featherweight champions if he defeats Vargas at the Mandalay Bay resort in the early hours of Sunday morning, live on Sky Sports.
Smith's younger brother Callum is also preparing for his own crucial clash against Juergen Braehmer, which is expected to be staged early next year, and the siblings have exchanged words of support as they approach significant fights in their careers.
"I've been speaking to him and he knows it's a must-win fight," said Smith.
"That's the frame of mind he's got and that's the attitude he's got. He's in boxing to become a world champion.
"A win gives him another chance at a world title and that's what he's still boxing for. There is everything at stake and he's left no stone unturned in camp, and I'm sure he won't on the night, he'll give it 100 per cent.
Smith: Win or bust in Vegas
Stephen Smith admits his world title hopes could be ended if he suffers defeat to Francisco Vargas
"We're confident he's good enough to do it. Vargas is a good fighter, but I think that's what he is - a fighter.
"His boxing ability is okay, but he loves a fight, he's always in a fight. Stephen's got to use his skills and be the better man on the night."
Smith twice suffered defeat when targeting world titles last year as he was firstly beaten on points by IBF champion Jose Pedraza before being on the wrong end of another verdict against WBA belt holder Jason Sosa.
Vargas has already proven his pedigree at the top level by claiming the WBC belt, but Smith has backed 'Swifty' to topple one of the most respected fighters in a star-filled division.
"Up until the last fight, Vargas was the WBC champion," said Smith. "He was one of the men in the division, so it could be a massive win, if he gets the win.
"He's come up short twice at world level, but in my opinion he's lost to two good fighters. Both performed well against Stephen, he got them both on a good night, and just come up short.
"I think he's shown he belongs up there and he just needs the right opportunity and a bit of luck. He's good enough to be a world champion, definitely."
The two-weight British champion has the added incentive of performing at the famous venue in America's boxing capital.
"Every fighter dreams of fighting in Vegas," said Smith. "To be given that opportunity, I think that was one of the main reasons for him taking it.
"Not many get the chance to do it and he's over there now, he's excited, and he's got that buzz back. I think we'll see a good performance from him."
Watch Stephen Smith against Francisco Vargas in Las Vegas from 3.20am this Sunday on Sky Sports Action.