Stephen Smith: I want another world title shot ASAP!
By Scott Gilfoid: Just one month after a disappointing 12 round unanimous decision to IBF super featherweight champion Jose Pedraza on April 16, #12 IBF Stephen Smith (23-2, 13 KOs) will be in action this Sunday night against 2nd tier fighter Daniel Brizuela (28-5-2, 8 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round fight on the undercard of the Tony Bellew vs. Ilunga Makabu fight card at Goodison Park in Liverpool, UK.
Smith, 30, says he wants another world title shot as soon as possible. However, if Smith is going to be fighting for another world title soon, I would hope that he would actually earn it by fighting a better class of opponent than the 30-year-old Brizuela, who is coming off a loss to Mauricio Javier Munoz in his last fight in June of 2015.
Doesn’t make much sense for Smith to be yapping about wanting to fight for another world title, and then turning around and fighting a 2nd tier guy coming of a loss. What happened to earning a title shot the hard way by fighting highly ranked opposition? I’m just saying. The sport has got enough contenders that back their way into undeserved title shots by fighting fodder. We don’t need that kind of thing to be common practice.
“I want to get another world title fight as soon as possible,” said Smith to skysports.com. “I am not getting any younger and I have shown I belong at that level so I want to stay at that level and be put straight back in at that level. If somebody offered me a world title fight next fight I would take it. My confidence hasn’t dropped and I didn’t take any negatives from the Pedraza fight other than the results. I learned a lot from it and will become a better fighter from it. It will only stand me in good stead for the future so the sooner I can get another shot at a world title the better.”
Smith lost to Pedraza by the scores of 116-111, 117-110 and 116-111. Pedraza knocked Smith down in the 9th round with a beautiful right hand to the head. Smith says he didn’t take any negatives from his loss to Pedraza. Well, he should have taken some negatives from that fight, because Pedraza showed clearly that Smith can be easily hit with a jab.
Smith needs to learn how to block or at least duck under a jab so that he doesn’t have his head bouncing every which way in future fights when he faces guys that are smart to use their jab against him. Pedraza didn’t do anything special in that fight other than nailing Smith repeatedly with jabs all night long.
“No excuses for the Pedraza defeat,” said Smith to IFL TV.
Smith looked clueless in now to negate the jab, and the fight became one-sided in the last half of the contest. It was competitive in many of the first rounds, but only because Pedraza was forgetting to use his jab. Once he realized that he couldn’t miss with his jab, it was target practice the remainder of the night for him.
With his #12 ranking with the International Boxing Federation, Smith shouldn’t be getting a world title shot straightaway. If Pedraza, or any of the other top super featherweight champions, are going to wait until Smith is ranked #1 by the sanctioning bodies, then it could take a year or more for Smith to get put back up there. I mean, I don’t see a victory over 2nd tier fighter Brizuela being a big enough win to give Smith a No.1 ranking.
I don’t know why it would. However, Smith is with Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn, so I can definitely see him getting an immediate world title shot after whips Brizuela on Sunday night. But that doesn’t mean that Smith will be any better off than he was the last time he fought for a world title. I mean, Smith can fight Pedraza every day for the remainder of his career, and I don’t see the outcome being any different. I just think it would become forlorn after a while watching Smith get dominated by Pedraza.
It’s the same thing with the other super featherweight champions. If Hearn gets Smith fights with Francisco Vargas, Jezreel Corrales, Javier Fortuna, or Roman Martinez, I don’t see Smith winning any of those fights. I do see Smith losing badly against those guys.
So if Hearn is going to keep getting Smith world title shots over and over again in between victories over mismatched opponents like Brizuela, I don’t see where Smith is coming out ahead other than the payday he gets for those world title shots. Heck yeah, Smith can fight Fortuna, Corrales, Vargas and Martinez one after another, but I don’t think it’s going to end well for Smith. He’s not that kind of a talent in my opinion.
I see Smith more as a gate keeper type of guy. In other words, a fighter that beats pretenders coming up the ranks, but who doesn’t have the talent himself to get to the next level himself.
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