Boxing can be incredibly brutal – just ask Stephen Smith. His fight with Francisco Vargas had to be stopped after Stephen’s ear was nearly ripped in half!
Seriously, squeamish sports fans better not watch what happened to Stephen Smith. The 32-year-old Liverpool native faced Francisco Vargas, 32, in Las Vegas on Dec. 9. During the super featherweight bout, Francisco connected with a hard right against “Swifty’s” ear, according to Sporting News. Stephen’s ear was already damaged earlier in this fight, but this punch? It nearly tore the ear right off Stephen’s head. Referee Russell Mora, seeing the blood gushing down Stephen’s head and neck, decided to call the match in the middle of the ninth round.
With Stephen unable to finish, “El Bandito” was awarded a TKO victory, and the judges scored the fight 89-82, 88-83, 88-83 in favor of Francisco, per The Sun. Stephen has now lost three of his last five fights, including two world title attempts. This might have also been his last match, as “Swifty” hinted that he might retire if he failed to defeat Francisco. “This is boxing and I know having had two chances, I might only get one more shot,” he said, per The Sun. “For me it is not about going back to British level, I want to win a world title and defeat can ruin that.”
However, the British boxer seemed in high spirits the morning after his devastating injury. “Thanks very much for all your supportive messages last night,” Stephen tweeted on Dec. 10. “[R]ead them all and they mean a lot. Went to hospital and got my ear stitched back up so hopefully all will heal well. Thanks again for all the love and support. Have a good Christmas everyone x”
in other boxing news, Stephen Smith's ear is barely attached to his head still
— Uncle Jaye (@JayeDoe) December 10, 2017
— Galaxxy Slice (@SixHeadz) December 10, 2017
Can we all just put this into perspective please. Stephen Smith pretty much got his ear ripped off tonight and like a warrior still wanted to fight. Rigondeaux quit with a “hand injury” in the biggest fight of his career SHOCKING lack of heart from Rigo! pic.twitter.com/PnRIf6opPF
— Michael Hall (@ThomasHall99) December 10, 2017
Thanks very much for all your supportive messages last night, read them all and they mean a lot. Went to hospital and got my ear stitched back up so hopefully all will heal well. Thanks again for all the love and support. Have a good Christmas everyone x pic.twitter.com/cOun7ST7qX
— Stephen Smith (@SwiftySmith) December 10, 2017
If that was Stephen’s last match, it’s sad that his last moment in the ring will be linked to one of the sport’s most infamous moments. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that in a boxing match…in an ear that was not bitten,” Andre Ward, 33, ex-unified super-middleweight and light-heavyweight world champ, said after witnessing Stephen’s injury. He, of course, was referencing Evander Holyfield Vs. Mike Tyson II. During that June 1997 match, Mike, 51, bit off a chunk of Evander’s ear. Needless to say, Evander, 55, was awarded that fight, and that moment has gone down in infamy.
Get better soon, Stephen! HollywoodLifers, leave your own messages to Stephen below. Are you shocked by what happened to his ear?