Showtime Boxing Preview: Cornelius “K9” Bundrage and Ishe Smith
By: William Holmes
A welterweight title fight between Devon Alexander and Kell Brook was supposed to be the main event of Saturday’s boxing card in Detroit, but a bicep injury to Alexander forced that bout to be cancelled.
Instead, Cornelius “K9” Bundrage and Ishe Smith will step into the main event role when they clash for the IBF Junior Middleweight title. Highly touted prospect J’Leon Love will be battling Derrick Findley on the undercard.
The following is a preview of both bouts.
J’Leon Love (14-0) vs. Derrick Findley (20-8); Junior Middleweight
This is a bout that would normally be on the untelevised portion of the boxing card, but since the main event was cancelled and it becomes the co-feature of the night. Love is also promoted by Mayweather Promotions, and Mayweather’s new contract with Showtime probably helped get him into the televised portion of the card.
Unfortunately for boxing fans this will not be a closely contested bout.
J’Leon Love is a Michigan native and he will be fighting in front of his hometown fans. Like Mayweather, he is managed by Al Haymon and has brought along slowly and against inferior competition. He has a deep amateur background and amassed a record of 115-5.
He’s been boxing professionally since 2010 and is entering his prime. He’ll be four inches taller than his opponent on Saturday night. Eight of his fourteen victories have come by way of KO or TKO, but only two of his last five fights resulted in a stoppage victory.
Love has only recently began fighting opponents with winning records. All of his opponents before 2012 had losing records.
Findley looks to be Love’s most difficult test of his craeer so far. He’s slightly older than Love and has boxed tougher competition as well as more rounds. He’s coming off a TKO victory over Ronald Hearns in October of this year. However, he’s going 3-5 in his last 8 fights.
His losses however were not against slouches. He’s lost to Viktor Polyakov, Eric Mitchell, Elvin Ayala, Matt Korobov, and Fernando Guerrero. Three of those fighters were undefeated at the time he faced them.
Findley is a stepping stone and will be a good test to see if Love is ready to make a step up against significantly tougher competition. It’s a test he should pass with flying colors.
Ishe Smith (24-5) vs. Cornelius Bundrage (32-4); IBF Junior Middleweight Title
This is actually a very tough fight to call. Both fighters are rugged veterans who are perhaps a little bit past their athletic prime. Smith is 34 and Bundrage is 39. The winner will likely be fed to a younger and more athletic opponent but nevertheless this is a title fight.
Both Smith and Bundrage also gained popularity by appearing on “The Contender”. Neither Smith or Bundrage won the Contender but both have since moved on to have successful careers.
Smith will have a four inch height advantage but a 1 one reach disadvantage on Saturday night. His record isn’t overly impressive but he’s fought extremely tough competition since 2001. He’s defeated the likes of Alfonso Gomez, David Estrada, Randall Bailey, Pawel Wolak, and Ayi Bruce. His losses have been against all tough competition. They include Fernando Guerrero, Danny Jacobs, Joel Julio, Sechew Powell, and Sergio Mora.
He’s been fighting in the junior middleweight division since 2012 and is currently riding a three fight win streak. Smith isn’t known for his power, only 11 of his victories have come by stoppage, but he is clearly a better technical boxer than Bundrage.
Bundrage is more of a brawler than a boxer and possess a powerful looking physique. 19 of his victories have come by way of stoppage. He won the IBF Light Middleweight belt by defeating Cory Spinks in 2010 and defeated him again in June of 2012. He has not been very active in the past two years and has only fought twice since 2011.
At the age of 39 that is not a good thing.
Bundrage can be out boxed but he does possess more power than Smith. Three of his last five victories have come by stoppage. He displayed his power in his two stoppage victories over Spinks. He also out boxed Sechew Powell so he does have the ability to win a technical fight, but it is clear that he prefers to brawl.
His losses have come against Grady Brewer in a close split decision, Joel Julio, Steve Forbes, and Sechew Powell. He later avenged his loss against Powell.
Father time is not on Bundrage’s side and his inactivity will hurt him in the ring on Saturday. It will be a close fight, but I expect Smith to come out the victor.