The final press conference for Saturday’s junior middleweight bout between IBF titlist Cornelius Bundrage and Ishe Smith took place earlier today in Detroit, Mich.
“This cat right here [Smith], the last time he came to Detroit, he was scared to death. I could see a fear in him,” proclaimed Bundrage. “He went home and started Tweeting. He’s a Facebook gangster and now he comes back to my city with The Money Team and all of a sudden he’s hard. I bark outside the ring, but I bite inside the ring. They can’t fight for him. I’ll give him the business and hopefully his boss [Floyd Mayweather] will step up.
Bundrage is making the second defense of his title, after having decisioned Sechew Powell and then knocked out Cory Spinks last June in a rematch. While in search for a new opponent, Bundrage had been exchanging heated words with Ishe Smith on Twitter, which has angered the champion.
“K9 is in the house. The dog is coming. I’m just excited. I’m fighting Ishe Smith, so I’m not worried about The Money Team. I’m not worried about Floyd [Mayweather]. We have to do battle. Ishe, you’re not leaving here with that belt. The only think you’re going to have is that Twitter belt.
Smith for his part, now promoted by Floyd Mayweather, has been clamoring for a world title shot for some time and is eager to attain gold.
“I want to thank Showtime. It’s been over 10 years now since my first fight on Showtime and to think that my first world title shot is coming on Showtime is unbelievable. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be on network TV so many times, even when some of the times I knew I was going to be on the ‘B’ side, they always had my back. It’s 10-plus years of a great relationship and it’s only fitting that this first world title shot to try to become the first-ever Vegas born champion is on this network.
Having been promoted by a myriad of promoters, Smith has finally landed with Mayweather and feels indebted to him for the opportunity now in front of him.
“I need to thank Floyd for everything he’s done for me. I’ve had a lot of different promoters in my 13 years as a professional and no one has treated me the way he does. I did communicate with him when he was incarcerated and I carry this letter that he wrote me whenever I fight. He said, ‘You are a champion. Thank you for helping me get ready for the most important fights of my career – Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley. Have that same attitude when you spar and that same determination and no one can stop you. I’m proud of you. Always continue to think about your family when you’re training and push yourself to the limit.’ That’s just half of what he wrote me. At the end he said, ‘I promise I’m going to get you a world championship fight when I get out of jail.’ So we went 18 months without a fight and in less than a year we are fighting for a world championship. I don’t see how anybody can say anything bad about Floyd Mayweather or Mayweather Promotions. I’m not going to do any of that damn barking. I don’t need to do that. This Saturday it’s going to be a good show, it’s going to be a good fight.”
For the co-featured bout, J’Leon Love will take on Derrick Findley in a 10-round middleweight bout.
“I’m a Detroit native. I love Detroit. This is where I’m from. This is where I caused trouble, did good, did bad,” said Love. “Detroit runs in my blood. I’m going to come out Saturday and do what we do best and that’s fight and put on a good show. We want to put on more shows out here in Detroit, so this is the time to show that we’re ready for whatever. We’re ready for Derrick Findley, whatever he comes with. He’s going to rush, do whatever he has to do, so we’ll be ready for it.”
Added Findley, “I just want to thank J’Leon and Floyd Mayweather for giving me this opportunity. I’m used to going into the lion’s den; I’m used to fighting guys in their backyards, but that stuff doesn’t matter to me. I just got to give it everything I got in the ring. Take advantage of the opportunity and get the win in his hometown. I’ll definitely be ready and I can’t wait until Saturday.”
Mayweather, who was in attendance, also shared some words about the card and about Smith and Love.
“I’ve got love for the whole Midwest, and Detroit has embraced me with so much love. Detroit is a great city and the Midwest has produced nothing but a lot of legendary champions. It is great to be here in Detroit and Mayweather Promotions is happy to be here putting on this fight,” said Mayweather.
“I promised Ishe a title fight and I lived up to my side of the bargain. Now he has to go out there, perform and get the job done. It’s great to showcase J’Leon Love too, a local Detroit fighter who now trains out of the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas. He is a very exciting fighter and I am looking forward to seeing him fight too.”