Ishe Smith became Las Vegas's first born and raised champion as he defeated 39-year-old Cornelius "K-9" Bundrage at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan.
For most of the fight both fighters never really got comfortable or found a good range to work from for the first half the fight become a boring jab contest.
In the second half of the bout things started heating up and Smith was able to put together flurries at the end of several rounds which were key in getting him the split decision victory in the end.
Bundrage was able to land several overhand rights but was never able to badly hurt Smith who has never been down in his career before.
Smith was able to catch Bundrage coming several times with good counter rights and by the looks of things Bundrage was gabbled a bit. Still, the determined Bundrage always came back with something to stop Smith's momentum and keep the fight competitive.
In the past, Smith has shown a lot of talent but the inability to perform well on the big stage. He has had several big opportunities to do so in the past but always seemed to break down mentally. A few years ago as it was revealed in the post fight interview, Smith even contemplated suicide.
Now, given the opportunity become world champion, Smith finally rose to the occasion and like his friend and promoter Floyd Mayweather said, "He did what he had to do."
In the post fight interview, Smith was barely able to speak as emotions got the best of him.
"I've waited 13 years for this, this is amazing. I need to thank Leonard and Floyd, they were the ones who made it happen for me. Five years ago I was about to kill myself and I didn't do it. And now I'm a champion."
For a man to go from the position of wanting to take his own life, to now being crowned world champion in front of the world, its truly part of what makes the sport of boxing and its characters so great.
For Bundrage, now close to 40 years old, his career may seem in doubt, but he clearly dosen't believe so, saying in the post fight interview, "Of course I'll be fighting again, I just have to step up to another level to stay world champion like I did to become world champion."
Smith is now 34-years-old and a world champion so the doors are wide open for him. In his current division of the 154 there are a lot of options for him and without a doubt all of them will be seeking the belt he now owns, so expect to see him back on Showtime very soon.
Who knows, maybe as soon as May 4th.
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