Smith sets August deadline for Vargas clash

Liam Smith will turn his attention to other options if a prospective fight with Jessie Vargas does not take place before the end of the summer.

A contest between former WBO 154lbs title-holder Smith and two-weight world champion Vargas has been mooted since 2020, but has failed to come to fruition.

Promoter Eddie Hearn recently stated he would like to arrange the bout for later this year, but Smith (29-2-1, 16 KOs) has put a deadline on the match-up.

“If it doesn’t get over the line by August, I’m going to wash my hands with it and go a different route,” Smith told Boxing Social. “I’m not going to get known for a Khan-Brook situation, where people get bored of it. It’s been over 12 months now since they mentioned it and I’m getting bored of it now, never mind the public! I’ll ask for it next and, if I don’t get it next, then that’s it.”

Smith believes that his potential foe is reluctant to take on the challenge. The Scouser has spent the vast majority of his career competing in the super-welterweight division, whereas Vargas initially competed at 140lbs. Vargas previously tested the waters at 154lbs in 2019, when he halted Humberto Soto inside six rounds. 

‘Beefy’ is certain that Vargas will be unable to cope with his natural size advantages.

“I don’t think Vargas fancies it,” Smith said. “I said it to him, I Tweeted him and he never replied. He replied to the first [Tweet], he didn’t reply when I said that to him. I genuinely, honestly think he doesn’t want that fight. Eddie wants it, DAZN wants it, I want it, but it’s not happening, so I think it must be Vargas that doesn’t want it.

“I think he’s low risk, high reward. I think he might know that. He’s not a 154 [fighter], I think I’ll be too big and too strong for him. I think he knows that. It’s my opinion; it’s not a biased opinion, it’s not a big-headed opinion. He’ll dip his toe in a 154, but I’m established at 154 and I’m not small at 154.”