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“ShoBox” Alums Represent on Saturday Show

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SHOBOX ALUMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
WHEN CORNELIUS “K9” BUNDRAGE DEFENDS
AGAINST ISHE SMITH TOMORROW/SATURDAY, FEB. 23

Live on SHOWTIME® (9:00 p.m. ET/PT)
From The Masonic Temple Theatre in Detroit

NEW YORK (Feb. 22, 2013) — Since its inception in July 2001, 47 fighters who’ve appeared on ShoBox: The New Generation have gone on to capture a world title.

One of them, Cornelius “K9” Bundrage (32-4, 19 KO’s), of Detroit, will defend his IBF Junior Middleweight World Championship against fellow ShoBox alum, Ishe “Sugar Shay” Smith (24-5, 11 KO’s), of Las Vegas, tomorrow/Saturday, Feb. 23, live on SHOWTIME® (9:00 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from the Masonic Temple Theatre in Detroit.

Bundrage fought twice on ShoBox, and in his most recent start, on a Special Edition of the critically acclaimed series, he retained the 154-pound world title with a seventh-round knockout win over former titleholder Cory Spinks in a rematch on June 30, 2012.

But it was his “double-knockdown” fight against southpaw Sechew Powell in his ShoBox debut on May 6, 2005 that will be forever etched in fans’ memories. Both fighters were knocked down simultaneously in the bout’s opening seconds. They each got up immediately, then Powell scored another knockdown with a left hand. Bundrage got up, but stumbled across the ring and fell. He got up again, but stumbled across the ring and fell again. The official time of the fight was 0:22.

“The premise on ShoBox has always been to match prospects tough and when ‘K9’ fought Powell, both were unbeaten,” ShoBox Executive Producer Gordon Hall said. “Bundrage was 21-0 going in, Powell 15-0 at the time. Because of the double knockdown, their fight was one of the most memorable in ShoBox history.

“That ‘K9’ is defending against Ishe Smith on Saturday is a great thing. It’s always neat to have a ShoBox fighter who’s gone on to win a title come back to the network and defend it.”

A resilient Bundrage has gone 8-3-1 since the “double-knockdown” fight, including fighting four times during his stint on The Contender reality show in 2006 and capturing the IBF Junior Middleweight Title with a fifth-round technical knockout win over Spinks in their first fight on Aug. 7, 2010. In his outing before last, in his first defense, “K9” avenged the loss to Powell by winning a dominant 12-round decision on June 25, 2011.

“We could do ShoBox for 100 years and that 22-second double knockdown between Powell and ‘K9’ will always be front and center in terms of memories,” said boxing historian and ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood. “Given that K-9 suffered that type of loss, and then went on to lose in the semis of Season Two of The Contender, it tells you a lot about his character that he still advanced to become a world champion.”

The double-knockdown loss taught “K9” an invaluable lesson, one that served him well in his career since. “I learned that I have to exercise patience,” he said. “I just try and get better and compete, but the whole key is patience and not getting overly anxious.

“When I fought Powell the first time, I had an associate tell me that he would give me 10 grand for a first-round knockout, so I went for it, but became too anxious and it cost me,” Bundrage said. “At that time, I’d been very active, the most active in my career, so it seemed like a good idea. Turns out it was a terrible decision on my part, but I learned, the hardest way, that I had to fight a with a little more patience, that no matter where I am fighting or who it’s against, anything can happen and that no one is invincible.

“That was the first loss of my life. I came up from the streets. I grew up in the streets but I’d never lost a fight on the streets, so the loss to Powell really took a lot out of me. It humbled me, but my faith got me through. I grew up in the church. I prayed that I could get back on TV again and God granted my wish to be on TV again. The whole thing is, I’d taken the fight with Powell because I wanted to get on TV, and God granted my wish. Right after the Powell fight, I was on The Contender and I’ve had nothing but big fights since.

“Looking back, I see now that it just wasn’t time for me to be where I’m at now, on God’s time and a champion of the world. Now I’m back on SHOWTIME where it all began for me. Thanks to God, and I give all glory to Him. I’ve come full circle.”

Smith, who is seeking to become the first Las Vegas-born boxing world champion, is 4-1 on ShoBox and 1-0 on SHOWTIME EXTREME.

“Ishe was one of many top up and coming prospects who passed their early tests on ShoBox,” Hall recalls. “First, he defeated Sam Garr and David Estrada and then he beat future World Champion Randall Bailey. That got him on The Contender in 2004. Four years later, he came back to ShoBox not as a prospect but as a veteran playing the spoiler role and resurrected his career by upsetting the undefeated favorite Pawel Wolak (21-0 going in) in Wolak’s backyard (Brooklyn, N.Y.).”

Smith credits ShoBox for keeping his topsy-turvy career relevant.

“If not for ShoBox I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said. “Since my first fight on ShoBox in early 2003, they have always had my back, they have always backed me even when other networks would not approve me for certain opponents, when no one else would give me a chance.

“Really, the entire ShoBox family has been great to me; Nick Charles rest in peace, Steve Farhood, everybody. They have always treated me like family and I feel the same way about them. When Nick, a loveable guy who always showed me so much respect, died, it was as hard on me as it was on them. ShoBox has really been a staple of my career and I thank them for that. It’s awesome getting my first title shot on SHOWTIME. It will almost be 10 years to the day from my first fight on ShoBox.”

Smith is coming off of a lopsided 10-round decision victory over Irving Garcia on SHOWTIME EXTREME on Sept. 8, 2012. His lone loss on ShoBox came in a close decision to then-undefeated southpaw and now world title challenger Fernando Guerrero on July 16, 2010, a result Smith disputes to this day. “I should be unbeaten on ShoBox,” he said. “I definitely felt I did enough to win against Guerrero.”

Regarding Saturday’s matchup, Farhood, who has called every ShoBox fight, said, “Given how long ago both of these fighters debuted on ShoBox, it says tons about both of them that we find them at this level in 2013 fighting in a world title fight.

“I’m so happy Ishe is getting his first title shot because whether he’s won or lost, he’s always given such a great effort on SHOWTIME. He has said many times that he defines himself as a SHOWTIME fighter. He could easily be unbeaten on ShoBox. I scored the Guerrero fight in his favor.”

Fans can expect both veterans to lay it on the line on Saturday.

“I’m really looking forward to Saturday and I thank everyone involved for making the fight happen,” Bundrage said. “I’ve been around this game a long time. This is a great opportunity. Tell Ishe, he’d better be ready. The Dog is coming.”

Smith says he’ll be prepared for anything. “I have no expectations on what to expect,” he said. “Our motto in camp has been to get the win by any means necessary. It’s been a long road, but it’s just awesome and only fitting that I am getting this world title shot on SHOWTIME. I plan to make the most of it and bring the title back to Las Vegas.”

 

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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