The first three quarters of the main event on Showtime Saturday night between IBF 154 pound champ K9 Bundrage and Ishe Smith were pretty putrid. K9 employed a bizarre strategy, moving without throwing, while Smith was lacking in aggression. The last portion of the fight heated up, with Smith landing clean right hands most every round, and that went a ways from having watchers remember this as an all-time stinkeroo.
The judges had the last word, seeing a split decision, 116-111 for Smith (Herb Santos card), 114-113 for K9 (David Hess card) and 116-111, for the winner, Smith Gerard White card). Al Bernstein, Steve Farhood and Joe Cortez also saw Smith as the winner.
Smith cried after, to Jim Gray, he was so emotional. He said that five years ago, he contemplated suicide, and didn't do it, because he has kids and grew up without a dad. He became the first native born Las vegan to win a crown. Smith said he hurt his ribs in camp, and Floyd Mayweather asked him if he wanted to pull out. No, he said. Floyd called K9 a true champion, and said “Ishe's my guy.” He said he's proud that he stood behind Smith.
K9 said Ishe won “fair and square.” He admitted he didn't follow his corner's advice. He said he will fight again.
The bout unfolded at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan.
Bundrage (age 39; from Detroit; 32-4 with 1 ND entering) was 152 1/2 pounds, while Smith (24-5 entering; from Las Vegas; age 34; IBF No. 14) was 152 3/4 on Friday. This was K9's third defense.
“Ishe gonna have to kill me to take my belt,” K9 said before the start.
K9 has founded a foundation which helps find homes for aged police dogs. Ishe raised funds to help victims of the Newtown, CT shooting with t-shirts, and said he'd match funds raised.
Dave Hess, Herb Santos and Gerard White were the judges, while Sam Williams reffed.
In round one, K9 looked to land right hand bombs. They got chippy and butty and the ref warned them in the first. The ref took a point from K9 for throwing Smith down in the second and hitting him. K9 worked to the body, with both hands, especially a jab which starts by his thigh. Smith was too prone to wait in the third and fourth. He landed a clean right late in the fourth, though, and in close rounds, one clean shot could steal it. “You're losing the damn fight right now,” K9's trainer Sugar Hill told him after.
In the fifth, Smith politely stalked K9. K9 got on his bike for the whole round, an even round which neither man seized. In round six, it was again boring to watch. In the seventh, a right might have buzzed K9. The right landed for Smith again early in the eighth. K9 also landed his own right but his wild tosses, when they missed, missed badly, and looked bad. In round nine, Smith stunned K9 against the ropes, and he smelled blood. Blood showed on K9's left eye, from a head clash.
In the tenth, Smith again did the better work. K9 ran and didn't throw enough.
In the 11th, Smith was busier, as in the previous couple rounds. K9 knew he might be down on the cards and also looked to be first. Smith buzzed him and then ate returns. In the 12th, both were gassed. Smith landed a couple rights, and then ate one late. We went to the cards.
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