"The thing about him and his style and the way he fights is there are a million K9s. You can find them all over Vegas or anywhere. You can find them in any gym across America. The problem with a guy that fights like me and other fighters that have good defense, we're not everywhere. I have great sparring partners and they are all pushing me...I will be the new junior middleweight champ of the world, so to him, good luck with that. I have been in there with some of the best fighters in boxing, even when I fought at 147 pounds, 154 pounds, and when I went up to 160, I went up and fought 2 of the best young, up-and-coming prospects. My thing is, I have never been hurt, put down, given a standing 8 count, or touched the canvas. He has, so if he is basing his camp on knocking me out, good luck with that and more power to you because that has never happened in the gym, in an amateur fight, or professional fight. I have never been stopped, but he has," stated jr. middleweight contender Ishe Smith, who talked about his upcoming February 23 showdown with IBF jr. middleweight champion Cornelius Bundrage. Check it out!
PC: You have been in the gym, but I'm sure the intensity is picking up with February 23rd quickly approaching. How is everything going?
IS: It's going real well, man. I am right on schedule. It is by far the best camp I have ever had. Floyd has been to the gym a couple of times and I talked to him on a couple of occasions; everything is going great.
PC: You never sound weight-drained or anything when I talk to you before fights. Are you always good on weight?
IS: I have never had any weight issues. We stay in the gym, even if it's coming in to hit the bag or workout a little bit. We stay working out to not let the weight get crazy. I have never had any weight issues, and for this fight, my weight has been really good.
PC: Bundrage is a big, strong guy. Do you feel like you have had the right guys in to spar with to be able to deal with his size and strength?
IS: The thing about him and his style and the way he fights is there are a million K9s. You can find them all over Vegas or anywhere. You can find them in any gym across America. The problem with a guy that fights like me and other fighters that have good defense, we're not everywhere. I have great sparring partners and they are all pushing me. We are gonna get some more guys in next week, but everything right now, Percy, everything is going perfect. I couldn't be happier with where we are in camp right now.
PC: In our last interview, you said you were willing to die in the ring that night. K9 responded with a R.I.P. Ishe Smith interview. Are you preparing your eulogy or will we have a new champ on February 23rd?
IS: The thing is, I will be the new junior middleweight champ of the world, so to him, good luck with that. I have been in there with some of the best fighters in boxing, even when I fought at 147 pounds, 154 pounds, and when I went up to 160, I went up and fought 2 of the best young, up-and-coming prospects. My thing is, I have never been hurt, put down, given a standing 8 count, or touched the canvas. He has, so if he is basing his camp on knocking me out, good luck with that and more power to you because that has never happened in the gym, in an amateur fight, or professional fight. I have never been stopped, but he has. My thing is, I'm working hard and we are coming prepared, and no matter if it is a decision or a knockout, or if I gotta go through hell to get that title, I'm willing to go through hell to get to Heaven. No matter what it's gotta be, I'm getting that title no matter what he says. He can say whatever; he's been knocked out before. He lost to a 140-pound fighter before on The Contender. Steve Forbes is my son's size, so he can talk all that that he wants to talk, but my main focus is him right now. He was kind of getting at me on Twitter. He's a champion and he don't conduct himself as a champion. He proclaims that he is this and that, but my thing is this, there are 3 things you never do to a man and that's question a man's spirituality, no matter what God he believes in or what religion he is, you never question a man's spirituality, you never sleep with a man's wife, and you never mess with a man's family. That's the 3 things that you don't do to a man. He came at me on Twitter over the holidays and we had some words. He said I was a fake Christian. Just like many Christians in the world, many of them are cynical. They have the way they view things; you curse oh, you don't believe in God. Oh, you smoke a cigarette, you don't believe in God. You commit murder, you don't believe in God. And I don't like that. That's one thing I wish Christians wouldn't be and that's cynical. He said because I had some words with him that I'm a fake Christian. I'm gonna remember that. That's not something I'm gonna forget and I'm gonna make him pay for those words he said. I don't like that. Like I said, there are certain things that you don't do to a man and that's one of 'em. Just because I listen to rap music or hang out or I may go do this or do that, doesn't mean that I don't believe that Jesus died and shed blood for my sins. That don't mean that. Like I say, he's going about it the wrong way with everything that he's doing; focusing on Floyd and everything that he's saying. He a champion and he hitting me up on Twitter, and that's cool because I'm not focused on him. I'm going to go in there and do me and be the fighter I have always been and that's that.
PC: Have you been studying tape of K-9 or do you feel you have seen enough of him over the years to know what you are getting?
IS: I have seen enough of him over the years and seen what he can do. I remember back in the day, I think I called the Sechew Powell fight when they knocked each other down and all that other crap. And then somebody in the gym because I don't read articles and stuff like that; I only read my articles when they come out to make sure the reporter didn't put nothing in my mouth or say I said something that I didn't say. But somebody in the gym told me that him and Sechew had some words on Twitter and Sechew sometimes Percy, you just laugh. Sechew won a decision over me. A lot of people thought I won that fight. I thought I could have performed better. Harold Lederman had me winning the fight. But here it is, you got a guy that tested positive for marijuana that lost to him, is now best friends with him giving him tips on how to beat me. I'm in a championship fight, he's not, so he should sit back and play his role. That's just the bottom line. Sometimes you just hear and see things in this sport and you can just smile.
PC: What is the mindset right now and leading up to February 23rd?
IS: Just focused and putting in hard work, and as Floyd would say, hard work and dedication. I have never worked this hard in my life. I am working really, really hard. I got a couple of new pieces on the team that people will see come February 23rd and we are working extremely hard. Like I said, I'm putting my body through hell so that on February 23rd, I'm walking through Heaven. I'm only focused on winning. I ain't focused on nothing else. He's focused on Floyd and this and that and all of these other things. I'm only focused on winning and nothing else. I'm not focused on anything else and Eddie [Mustafa Muhammad] is doing a tremendous job, as always, managing the camp and making sure everything is right. I couldn't be happier. There is nothing else I could be doing right now. If I had to fight on Saturday, I could fight on Saturday!
PC: I'm glad camp is going well and I'm sure K-9 will have another response for you shortly after reading this. Is there anything else you want to add?
IS: I just want to thank God for the wonderful opportunity and Floyd for keeping his word and doing a tremendous job. I had 2 fights in 18 months and now I fought twice last year under Mayweather Promotions, and now to be fighting for a title on a network that I love dearly, man, is just sometimes I have to sit back and just pinch myself to make sure it isn't a dream. I'm really happy. Floyd Mayweather is a good friend and a mentor and he is the best promoter in boxing and I can't say enough about how grateful I am to him and all of the fans who stuck with me, and Leonard Ellerbe for making sure everything is going good in camp. And like I always say, it's TMT for me ride or die. Come February 23rd it's going to be it man; get carried out on my back if I have to. Some people say it and some people live it and on February 23rd man, I'm ready to live it.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]