Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Stephen Smith - Laughing at Pain

image

by Shaun Brown

His left ear looked like it had been caught in the middle of a disagreement with Hannibal Lecter and Mike Tyson.

The Doctor had a look. The ninth round (of ten). 'Look, man, your ear is hanging off, keep still'.

He left the ring. Walked down the tunnel of the Mandalay Bay. A lady stopped him to get a form signed so he could get paid. Only in boxing. Man's gotta eat though.

Stephen 'Swifty' Smith (25-4, 15 KOs) had just lost a fight to Francisco Vargas in Las Vegas. Still in full fighting attire he sat in the ambulance wondering, maybe pondering about why he was doing this to himself. Shock will do that to you.

"What the f*** am I doing here?" he recalled sat waiting to go to hospital.

Boxing is all around Smith. 24/7. His own career, and then playing a pivotal part in assisting his three fighting siblings - Paul, Callum and Liam - in any way he can. They're a team, like the gym they go to overseen by Joe Gallagher.

If he's not fighting, he's training. If he's not training, he's watching. If he's not watching, he's in a brother's corner.

However, even when part of your anatomy is hanging off you can always think 'Could have been worse'. Couldn't you?

"I knew I was in a fortunate position in that I knew nothing was life threatening. Some boxers get out the ring and there's worse that happens. I remember what happened to Erik Skoglund, and I think with that being close to home having fought Callum.

pedraza-smith-weigh-in (7)

You have to count your blessings...

"But I was still thinking what the f*** am I doing here? Half my ear is hanging off. How's this happened? It was weird. It was a state of shock."

And off he went to be another patient from a sport that has brought so many to medical staff around the world. 

The injury he suffered that night on December 9, 2017 was an image to define how barbaric this sport can be. But where there's hurt, laughter isn't that far behind. Smith, like many a Liverpudlian, has a way with words. It's not the iconic Joe Pesci-Ray Liotta moment in Goodfellas but Scousers have a way of telling a story. And even this one, with what happened to him and the way he told it, made me laugh even though someone, somewhere was clipping me over the head like an old school mother telling you not to.

"The first major hand injury I had came in the first [John] Simpson fight (in 2010). I remember squeezing my hand at the end of the fourth or fifth round and knowing something was wrong, but I fought a 12 round fight. It was a decent pace and there was a lot of punches thrown... you just sort of forget about it because a man is trying to beat you. Where as something like that (the ear) there's no getting past it." 'Swifty' laughed. I joined in.

"I couldn't kid anyone that I was okay. It was just like 'Nah you're not carrying on with that' and that was it."

Lying in an ambulance, lying in a hospital... life passing you by. Your mind racing. So many questions. Too much time to think. Then you realise you're still dressed to fight. Needles here and there. No hanging about. Smith extremely thankful but halfway through the procedure...

"They were doing the stitching. I asked the man if he could stop for a second so I could take my protector off. I was in my full kit, honest to God! No top on. Literally walked down the tunnel, straight into the back of an ambulance. Someone put a jacket around me. I was sat in the hospital and had to take my protector off halfway through what they were doing!"

Something that you look back and try to laugh about. Well, a fighter would. Smith
does. Crazy sport.

Back home in time for Christmas. No early present from Santa in Vegas but back with family. Family is everything to The Smiths. Bandaged up in appearance but spirits still high. Stephen tries not to take work home with him. His eldest boy, Frankie, is becoming aware of boxing. He knows what his father and his uncles do. The Smith DNA will likely produce another fighter. In the meantime the innocence of childhood allows Frankie to believe that if something happens once to a fighter, it happens to every fighter.

"Now he's pretending to box, and now the funny thing is he starts pretending. He calls himself Smasher Smith - and says 'Smasher with the jab, Smasher with the right hand' and then he'll go 'Oh Smasher's gotta stop his ear's cut....'

Another one of those you shouldn't laugh but...

"He thinks that's a normal part of boxing!"

Back training, given the all-clear. Head-guard over the mended ear and everything seems good to go. No date yet for Smith. No rush either, it seems. A two-time world title challenger who has fought Pedraza and Sosa. The latter a sleeper fight of the year contender for 2016. Check it out.

He did have one eye on Martin J. Ward. The Essex man went and met a possessed one from Belfast. James Tennyson, who is also called the new Commonwealth and European super featherweight champion. The latter title appeals to Smith. Whatever route, one more go.

"I believe I can mix it with anyone, and coming down now in the back stretch of my career is a little bit of a blessing because I still am fresh for a 32-year-old. Twenty-nine fights. It's one of them where I've not got as many miles on the clock like someone who has had 30 wars, and all them miles on the clock."

Good car, had repairs but still a smooth operator. Won't let you down and will make the journey memorable for however long it lasts. You'd buy it.

"I've got to give this one more big push and see what I can do. If I can't do it, I can't do it but it won't be for the lack of trying."

Shaun Brown covers British boxing for Boxing Scene. Contact him on Twitter @sbrown2pt0

Tags: Stephen Smith image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by wileyhemi on 06-03-2018

[QUOTE=anonymous2.0;18826892]Reading this is like being a passenger with a driver that slams the brakes every 20 feet.[/QUOTE] Sounds like you have something interesting to say. I wonder what.

Comment by GlassJoey on 06-03-2018

That was one of the most horrible injuries I’ve seen in a fight and the tv crew kept going back for more close ups.

Comment by apollocreed on 06-03-2018

I watched this fight recently. To be brutally honest, it was totally his own fault his ear ended up like that. He kept his left arm out and the left side of his head was completely exposed to Vargas's right…

Comment by The plunger man on 06-03-2018

[IMG]https://10ztalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/watch-boxers-ear-get-torn-off.jpg[/IMG] Savage injury

Comment by anonymous2.0 on 06-03-2018

Reading this is like being a passenger with a driver that slams the brakes every 20 feet.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (5)
Top Headlines Photos: Rob Brant Showing Off His Moves at Top Rank Gym Photos: Ryota Murata Putting in Work For Rob Brant Video: Bob Arum Reacts To Canelo's Deal With DAZN Golovkin Promoter Will Be Ringside For Murata vs. Brant Clash Hearn on Canelo-DAZN: The Whole Game is About To Change Canelo-Fielding Contracts: Rehydration Clause, 2nd-Day Weigh-In Video: Rocky Fielding Discusses Showdown With Canelo Video: Canelo Talks Fielding Fight at 168, MSG, DAZN, More Video: Eddie Hearn Talks Canelo/DAZN, Joshua, DAZN Future DAZN Exec: De La Hoya The Most Important Figure in PPV History Badou Jack's Ripper Nutrition is Expanding Out To Asian Market Photos: Canelo, Golden Boy Announce Major Deal With DAZN Photos: Canelo, Rocky Fielding - Go Face To Face in NYC Andrey Fedosov Now Looking For Much Bigger Fights Golden Boy Prez: We Signed With The Leader of Sports Streaming! Josh Taylor: There is No Way That Anyone Beats Me at The Hydro Hearn: Canelo/DAZN Deal Will End PPV Boxing In the United States Dorticos on Masternak: I See a Man With KO Written on His Face Dogboe vs. Navarrete Set Down For Lomachenko-Pedraza Manny Pacquiao: Adrien Broner Fight is Next, January 12 or 19 Mayweather Believes He Can Get $200M Guarantee For Khabib Scott Harrison Begins His Comeback on December 8 Canelo, Oscar De La Hoya, DAZN Discuss New Mega-Deal Jessie Vargas Hopes To Return To The Ring By March Tevin Farmer: The Gervonta Davis Fight Won't Make Or Break Me Luis Ortiz Manager on Possible Hearn Deal, Status of Return Kautondokwa Warns: Andrade is Facing a Real Executioner! Sugar Ray Leonard: Joshua-Wilder is a Fight Made in Heaven Bradley Skeete Reacts To Talk of Gary Corcoran Clash Canelo's Deal With DAZN is 11 Fights, $365 Million Guarantee Iain Butcher vs. Ukashir Farooq For British Title on Nov. 30 Arum: Nobody Sees Al Haymon or Talks To Him - It's Not Normal! Dereck Chisora Inks Management Deal With David Haye Exciting Card Scheduled for the WBO Convention in Panama Farmer: I'm Still Learning on The Job Every Day, It's Just Scary Canelo: Mayweather Should Return The Right Way - Fight Me! Jason Moloney Confident of Shocking Emmanuel Rodriguez Canelo: I'm Taking a Big Risk Entering Fielding's Comfort Zone Juan Heraldez-Maynard Allison Set For Mayweather Card, 10/27 Photos: Canelo, Rocky Fielding - Size Each Other Up in NYC
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement