A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
‘K9′ Bundrage enjoying his finest hour
Cornelius “K9″ Bundrage emerged as one of the biggest surprises in boxing last year. Bundrage, after years of having been best-recognized as a journeyman/fringe contender, is the current IBF junior middleweight champion. In addition to the respect that comes with being a ‘champ’, Bundrage also fights under the Golden Boy brand.
According to Bundrage, Golden Boy offered him a deal so ‘great’ he couldn’t pass-up.
“When it was time to decide who I was going to fight, I went to Golden Boy [Promotions] and they presented me with several fighter names,” Bundrage said. “They mentioned James Kirkland, Alfredo Angulo and Ishe Smith. It was special with Ishe because not only did they say I could fight him, but they said I could fight him in Detroit. That was an easy decision for me to make and now we are here.”
“Not only am I getting paid, but I am getting paid to fight right here in Detroit. How great is that?”
Bundrage (32-4, 19 KOs), in defense of the IBF 154-pound title, defends against longtime contender Ishe Smith (24-5, 11 KOs). Bundrage-Smith will be televised live on SHOWTIME, February 25, Masonic Temple in the legendary Detroit, MI. Also on the card, Devon Alexander makes his first defense of the IBF welterweight title against mandatory challenger, Kell Brook in what should be a very fascinating encounter between two young boxers entering their prime. J’Jean Love also takes on Bronco McKart.
“On behalf of Golden Boy Promotions we are excited to be here in Detroit where boxing has such a great history,” said Golden Boy Chief Operating Officer David Itskowitch. “It’s going to be a great show, tickets went on sale today and everyone should come out and enjoy this fantastic night of boxing featuring a great champion in Detroit’s own ‘K9′ Bundrage and the all-Michigan fight between J’Leon Love and Bronco McKart.”
Throughout his career, Bundrage wouldn’t even be considered as an acceptable opponent on HBO or SHOWTIME. Bundrage was an ESPN-caliber type of fighter used as a stepping stone for upcoming prospects. Although Bundrage had ‘club-fighter’ spelled on his forehead, he always knew how to punch. Bundrage, who fought at 154 throughout his career, looks like he’s 175 around fight time. Bundrage has one-punch knockout power and that was evident when Bundrage knocked out Cory Spinks in August 2010 to claim the IBF title. Bundrage followed-up his performance with a decision win over Sechew Powell (2011) and a repeat KO of Spinks (2012) in their rematch.
“I feel like a little Mike Tyson,” Bundrage said. “I am coming to get it. When I was in the hood, I used to take from people. On February 23, he won’t be taking anything from me.”
Bundrage, from the streets of Detroit, to fighting as a world champion on SHOWTIME from his own backyard, is the male version of a real-life Cinderella. The clock hasn’t struck 12 on his title reign as of yet, therefore, Bundrage is going to enjoy most-likely his only reign as a world champion for as long as he can.
The next stop is Ishe Smith. A good boxer, but always came up short when he raised the level of his opposition.
“I had to look up Ishe Smith and guess what, he has some flaws,” Bundrage said. “I won’t really say much about that because I’m not that type of guy. The closer it gets to a fight, the less I talk and by fight week, I barely say a word.”
Smith understands he is the underdog heading into this fight, but is excited that Floyd Mayweather and his advisor Leonard Ellerbe believe in him.
“I know I’m not the fan favorite in Detroit,” Smith said. “One thing I’ve learned throughout my boxing career is that haters come with the territory. It’s something you deal with and keep on moving.
Smith added: “I want to thank Leonard Ellerbe for getting me to this point. I’ve had a roller coaster career and now I’m here. I hadn’t fought in 18 months and Leonard called me and said he was working on something big. Then he called and told me what he and Floyd [Mayweather] worked out. I couldn’t believe it. Floyd called me too and said, ‘we got it.’ I’m overwhelmed and am going to leave it all in the ring that night. I owe it all to them to make this happen. I owe a lot to Floyd. When he was incarcerated, he sent me a letter telling me to hold it down, he was going to take care of me and not let me down. Now here I am fighting for a world title.”
The SHOWTIME telecast begins at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT while SHOWTIME Extreme will air preliminatry undercard fights at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.
“Tickets are priced starting at just $25,” Itskowitch said. “Tickets are priced starting at just $25. To get to see two world championship fights for $25 is an unbelievable deal.”
For more information, contact the Masonic Temple box office, visit online at www.ticketmaster.com, or call 800-745-3000.
Lamont Peterson signs with Golden Boy Promotions
Golden Boy Promotions recently announced that Lamont Peterson, the man who lifted the unified WBA/IBF junior welterweight titles away from Amir Khan in December 2011, via split decision, has signed with their company.
“We are thrilled that Lamont Peterson will be joining Golden Boy Promotions’ team,” said President of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya. “We know firsthand what Lamont Peterson can do, as he’s been in the ring with our fighters Amir Khan and Victor Ortiz. We know that he is the kind of individual that will be an asset to our team and great competitor in the 140-pound weight class.”
Peterson is scheduled to make his first defense of only the IBF 140-pound title (Peterson was stripped of the WBA title last year) against Kendall Holt. The bout is scheduled to occur in February , in the main event of an ESPN Friday Night Fights telecast from the Armory in Washington, D.C.
“I am excited about signing with Golden Boy Promotions and the opportunity to work with them again,” said Peterson. “Being with Golden Boy really gives me the chance to make the best fights available in my weight class. I want to fight the best in the world at 140 [pounds] and I know it can happen as a member of the Golden Boy team. I am optimistic that this is a decision that will help further my career.”
Peterson is a very special man. Alongside his brother Anthony, Lamont Peterson escaped the mean streets of poverty in Washington, D.C. They were homeless before finding love through the blood, sweat, and tears within the sport of boxing. Lamont defeated homelessness and a life of misery through the aide of Barry Hunter, mentor, friend, and trainer. Lamont is an amazing and most special fighter and if you have an opportunity to catch Peterson’s dramatic win against Khan on YouTube, please take the time.
Klitschko allowed to make optional title defense
Apparently, the WBA has granted unified IBF/WBA and WBO/IBO/Ring Magazine heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko an exception of his mandatory defense against Alexander Povetkin. Klitschko has permission to make an optional defense of the unified heavyweight championships. Klitschko is looking to fight sometime in Germany, but his opponent hasn’t been named yet. Klitschko has twice signed to fight Povetkin, who was WBA mandatory for more than two years. Povetkin has twice pulled out of fights with Klitschko in the past. It will be very interesting to see who Klitschko selects as his next challenger.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Kowalsky-HOGANPHOTOS/GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS