Cornelius 'K9' Bundrage defends the IBF junior middleweight title tonight against Ishe Smith on Showtime. Which veteran leaves with the belt?
Ishe Smith should outbox K9 for the majority of the bout although I expect he will be out hustled in several rounds. But now that Ishe has the backing of "The Money Team", he will finally pull out a close decision. I don't really give K9 a puncher's chance because Ishe is too durable and defensively adept. There's a reason he's never been stopped. Much greater Detroit fighters than Cornelius Bundrage would struggle to knock out Sugar Shay. Smith by unanimous decision.
Technically, Ishe is the superior boxer, while Bundrage has the higher motor. It's a style clash that I can't see being a particularly enjoyable fight to watch, either. Realistically, this fight is a matchup of two guys who are 39 and 34 years of age, veteran fighters who aren't going to show us anything new, neither of whom is really in the race at 154. But Bundrage holds a world title, which he got from the decaying Cory Spinks, and has been on a good run since his 2008 road win over Zaurbek Baysangurov, which was impressive. This will come down to what the judges are willing to notice -- Smith's skills, which won't be eye-popping, or Bundrage's aggression. I'll take Ishe to just win a split decision in a messy fight, setting up what will likely be a short world title reign. Smith by split decision.
I like Bundrage to win this one. I have never been overly impressed with Smith who I think is a better talker than fighter. I also think Smith could be on the downside of his career by this point. I don't think Bundrage is anything amazing himself, but he is a better boxer than Smith. There will be some close rounds for sure, but Bundrage will land the harder, more telling blows more frequently. I like Bundrage to win a clear decision, perhaps scoring a knockdown along the way. Bundrage by decision.
This could be a very close fight. There's not much to separate the two - Smith is the better technically but can be lazy in fights, whereas what Bundrage lacks in ability, he makes up for in effort. One thing for certain is that the up-and-coming fighters at 154lbs will be queuing up to fight the winner.
Bundrage hasn't got the best chin around but Smith's lack of power should ensure the fight goes the distance. The fight may come down to who wants it more and Bundrage is the one who looks more willing to put the hard work in late in the fight when the going gets tough. Bundrage by a close points decision.
Final Tally: Cornelius Bundrage 2, Ishe Smith 2.