CORNELIUS BUNDRAGE TO FACE ISHE SMITH
By Doveed Linder
IBF junior middleweight champion Cornelius “K-9” Bundrage (32-4, 19 KOs) discusses his upcoming fight with Ishe Smith, which will take place in his hometown of Detroit, MI at the Joe Louis Arena on February 23rd, and will be televised on Showtime.
DL: For a while, you were contemplating opponents such as Andre Berto and Austin Trout. How did it come to be that you are now facing Ishe Smith and how do you feel about this?
Cornelius Bundrage: I wanted to defend my title in my hometown of Detroit, Michigan. We haven’t had a world champion fight in my home city, from my home city, since Tommy Hearns. I thought it would be big for the city. I thought it would be good for the economy for the city and for the state of Michigan. The Red Wings are out for the season, so I thought it would be good. And Ishe Smith is just the guy we picked.
DL: You had been calling out all the big names at junior middleweight, but you’re fighting Ishe Smith who is considered a high risk-low reward type of opponent. How do you feel about that?
CB: The Bible says, “Ask and you shall receive.” I called out all the big dogs and the big dogs didn’t respond. I understand why, because I’m the biggest dog of all the big dogs. (begins barking like a dog). Ishe Smith is a good, durable fighter. I didn’t want to handpick anybody like Canelo does. Whether it’s a high risk-low reward fight or not, I just feel like this is a good fight. He’s one of Floyd Mayweather’s fighters. I’m giving his guy a shot, so hopefully he’ll give me a shot.
DL: It looks like Floyd will be fighting Robert Guerrero. What are your thoughts on that fight?
CB: “The Ghost” is a Christian, so I’m always for the Christian. Floyd is one of the best fighters of all time, but you can never doubt a Christian. I just want to see good fights, whether it’s me and Ishe Smith, or Floyd and Guerrero. Whoever it is. Berto and “The Ghost” was a good fight. I just want to see some good fights. I want boxing to be back to what it was.
DL: What is your wish list for 2013?
CB: For God’s will to be done. If it was my way, it wouldn’t be the right way. I just want God’s will to be done. He knows what’s best for me. Evidentallly, what I wanted wasn’t right for me. That’s why I haven’t gotten it yet. His will will be done and I’m looking forward to 2013. I’m just happy and excited about my future. I’m in a whole other world, man. I have two kids and it’s fun to see them get older. It’s going to be fun to see them open their presents. I bought my wife a car for Christmas. It’s been a good Christmas. God is good.
DL: When speaking about your life in Biblical terms, you often say, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” What does that mean?
CB: If you saw Season 2 of “The Contender”, which was the best season that came out, I was the last one chosen to be on the show. But I remembered the scripture “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” I was the first one to fight and the first one to win. And of everyone on that season, I’m the only one who has become a world champion. Out of all the champions today, I’m being overlooked. If you look at the ratings, they’ve got guys rated higher than me. But the first shall be last and the last shall be first. With God, all things are possible. With those guys throwing them devil horns up, they’re not going to beat me. When God is with you, nothing can beat you. Tell Ishe Smith to quit being so mad. He’s always saying, “Why do I always have to fight on ESPN? Why don’t I ever get my shot? Why am I always being overlooked?” Well, nobody’s overlooking you anymore. And I want to wish all of my friends, family, fans, and Boxingtalk a Merry Christmas!
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