Cornelius Bundrage vs Ishe Smith Preview Feb. 23
Cornelius Bundrage of Detroit will be taking on Ishe Smith of Las Vegas when he attempts to successfully defend his IBF Junior Middleweight Championship at the Masonic Temple in his hometown on Saturday Feb. 23. It’ll be Bundrage’s third title defense after scoring a pair of knockouts over former undisputed champion Cory Spinks. Bundrage may be 39 years old, but the former Contender television star has a lot of heart.
Bundrage will enter the bout with 32-4 record with 19 Kos. He’s very aggressive with a killer instinct, but sometimes leaves himself open for counter shots. He doesn’t really possess one-punch knockout power and usually stops his opponents by overwhelming them with a barrage of punches. Of course, if Smith is going to be successful he’s going to have to keep Bundrage at a distance with his jab.
The 34-year-old Smith is 24-5 with 11 Kos. He’s not an elite boxer, but solid and steady and has never been stopped since turning pro back in 2000. He’s faced some decent fighters during his career and has beaten the likes of Randall Bailey, Pawel Wolak, David Estrada and Alfonso Gomez.
Bundrage will be attempting to get inside Smith and likes to turn his matches into brawls. Usually, the uglier the better. Smith has to try and control the action from the outside with accurate counterpunching and will need to make the explosive champion respect him. Smith is the better boxer in this matchup, so he’ll be trying to keep it from turning into a slugfest and going toe-to-toe.
Bundrage isn’t exactly an elite boxer either, but he won and has defended his title on heart and by sticking to his strengths. He’s just 5-foot-6 with a 72-inch reach, which is quite small for the 154 lb. division. He’s been fighting as a pro ever since 1995 and has been stopped twice. Sechew Powell knocked him out in the first round in 2005 and Joel Julio stopped him in eight in 2007. Bundrage avenged his loss to Powell in June of 2011 by winning a 12-round unanimous decision.
Smith isn’t very big either for a junior middleweight at 5-feet-10 with a 71-inch reach. He’s also been beaten by Powell and Julio, both by unanimous decisions. Bundrage has enjoyed success in the latter stages of his career and his age probably won’t be a factor here. His aggressiveness should allow him to take a few rounds on points. He probably won’t be able to stop the durable Smith, but he could stagger him on a couple of occasions. He’s very determined and that could make the difference here. A knockout would be a surprise, so look for Bundrage to keep his title by a relatively close decision.
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