Ishe Smith became the first Las Vegas-born fighter in boxing history to win a world title tonight, capturing the IBF junior middleweight title with a split decision win over Cornelius "K9" Bundrage, in Bundrage's hometown of Detroit. Smith won on scores of 116-111, 116-111, and 113-114. BLH had it 114-113 for Smith.
Smith (25-5, 11 KO) and Bundrage (32-5, 19 KO) both started slow, and the fight crawled at a snail's pace until the later rounds, when both men began to tire. In the end, we got some drama down the stretch, which made the fight much less of a debacle, but as many expected, it was a style clash that produced a lot of inactivity.
Smith, 34, was incredibly emotional after the fight, discussing with Showtime's Jim Gray has past suicidal thoughts and his climb to the upper echelon of the boxing world, peaking tonight with a win that puts him into the mix at 154 pounds.
"13 years, man. 13 years, man. That's all I can say," Smith said through tears after the fight.
Bundrage, 39, didn't make any excuses, and didn't complain about the decision.
"Ishe just fought a good fight. He won the fight fair and square," said Bundrage. "I didn't follow instructions. He won it. He won the fight. Congratulations to him."
Much of the Showtime broadcast was built around celebrating the acquisition of Floyd Mayweather, who signed a huge deal with Showtime and CBS Sports earlier this week. Mayweather was in a promoter's role tonight, and also got to do some infomercial-style build-up for his arrival at the network, with former media sparring partner Brian Kenny now playing the role of long lost buddy.
Mayweather also served as a corner man in the TV card's opening contest, as J'Leon Love stayed unbeaten, taking a competitive decision over Derrick Findley, though the judges would have you believe it was a huge blowout, with Love winning cards of 100-90, 99-91, and 99-91. BLH had it 96-94 for Love.