The IBF Junior Middleweight Championship bout between Ishe Smith and Cornelius “K9” Bundrage took place in Detroit, Michigan last night and I was lucky enough to be in attendance.With Floyd Mayweather in the building and Showtime broadcasting, the bright lights were on both fighters. K9 was the favorite headed into the fight and with the fight taking place in his hometown, he had a decided edge when it came to crowd supports as well. Headed into the fight I believed that Smith would be smart to not get into a brawling match, because K9 had the punching power to end it quickly. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Round 1 seemed to be a feel out round, as hard punches didn’t really began to get thrown until the end where I believed K9 took control. Round 2 began with more of the same from Round 1, as K9 took control of the fight again. But towards the end of the round, some of the bad blood between the two fighters began to showcase itself. K9 pushed Smith to the canvas and proceeded to land some blows while Smith was still down. A move that cost him a point and gave the round to Smith.
With one round a piece, I had Smith winning the next two rounds as his countering abilities came to the forefront. K9 seemed intent on landing huge shots, and missed the majority of them. Smith’s patience was aiding him greatly, as he began to just wait for the huge throws by K9, and then respond with a well put-together combination.
There seemed to be a swing in momentum after Round 4 at least on my personal scorecard. I had K9 taking Round 4 & 5 in a row as he finally began to land some of those power shots that he had been intent on throwing from the start of the fight. In what materialized to be an even fight to this point, I had K9 and Smith each taking a round of the next 2 to have it ultimately 4 rounds a piece through 8. At this point I had visions of a competitive last 4 rounds that would leave us wondering who actually won the bout. Ishe Smith had other plans.
Smith began to land flurry after flurry. Some that left K9 looking dazed and exhausted as the rounds continued. Smith took the next 3 rounds in a row and dominantly in my opinion. As opposed to earlier where he seemed to want to let K9 throw and he counter, Smith was the aggressor for this stretch of the fight. Where you might have had vary opinions on who was winning the fight up to that point, Smith decidedly took control for a stretch where I ultimately believed he secured the fight. I gave Round 12 to K9, but the fight had already been won at least on my scorecard.
Smith (25-5 11 KO’s) won by split decision over Bundrage (32-5 19 KO’s) with two judges scoring it 116-111, and one judge giving the bout to K9 114-113. The win makes Ishe Smith the first Las Vegas-born world champion in history. Overtaken by emotion when the decision was announced, Smith displayed just how badly he wanted to win the title. And at 34 and now a world champion, the best could be yet to come.