"I'm tired of people getting it misconstrued that I'm giving him a shot because he's some killer opponent. I don't see where they are getting their information from. Last time I checked, he's one of the dirtiest fighters in boxing outside of K9 Bundrage, so let's not blow this out of perspective. I've fought better fighters and I have beat better fighters. Like I said, he's a dirty fighter and I just look forward to defending my title in Las Vegas and I look forward to making more history, being the first born and raised champion to defend his title in his home state, and I'm excited about that," stated IBF jr. middleweight champion Ishe Smith, who spoke about his upocming July 19 title defense against top contender Carlos Molina. Check out what he had to say about Molina, the fight, and much more.
PC: You have won the title and now the fun begins. You defend against Carlos Molina on July 19th. How has everything been going?
IS: Things are good, man, and camp is great; everything has been going perfect and we started early. I'm just really dedicated to giving the fans what they want and that's going out there and putting on performances and going out there and defending my title.
PC: I see you at UFC events and boxing events and taking a lot of pictures with fans now. How much has life changed for you since the win?
IS: Life is good and, you know, when you're a champion, things change. Honestly, I think people always respected me and knew who I was, but to win a championship, it brings a certain level of respect to your name. I always appreciate the fans and everybody that have appreciated me throughout my career. I'm still the same. I'm still the same humble Ishe Smith and that's how I wanna be. I don't wanna be any different. I can't be nobody but myself and I think that's the problem with a lot of young guns out there; they try to be people that they are not. I have been to the bottom and the top and now I'm back on top and that's just something that I don't want to lose, so it's best to just be myself.
PC: Carlos Molina is the opponent and out of all of your opponents, he reminds me the most of you. He's gotten some raw deals on decisions and he's kind of that blue collar worker. Is that the way you look at him as well?
IS: That's why I'm giving him a shot because I think he deserves it. He's worked his way up to get the shot. But I'm tired of people getting it misconstrued that I'm giving him a shot because he's some killer opponent. I don't see where they are getting their information from. Last time I checked, he's one of the dirtiest fighters in boxing outside of K9 Bundrage, so let's not blow this out of perspective. I've fought better fighters and I have beat better fighters. Like I said, he's a dirty fighter and I just look forward to defending my title in Las Vegas and I look forward to making more history, being the first born and raised champion to defend his title in his home state, and I'm excited about that.
PC: Molina is known for getting rough and making fights ugly. Does it help that you just came off of a fight like this with Bundrage, that way you know how to react to it and adjust as opposed to it being a lot of time in between you fighting a rough guy?
IS: When you've been in there with the guys I've been in there with, Percy, and I've fought Randall Bailey when I only had 13 or 14 fights and I fought David Estrada when I only had 12 fights and was just a prospect coming up...I've never ducked and dodged nobody. Over the course of my career, I've taken challenges going up to 160. And then, with the sparring experience that I have, sparring some of everybody, and most of the guys I sparred will go down in the history books and most will make the Hall of Fame; so when you put that all in perspective, there is not a style that I can't handle. I was telling people the same thing about Bundrage. I don't look at his style. I'm more focused on what I'm gonna do. Is Molina better than Bundrage? I can't say that because he never became a world champion and K9 has. When I think about the situation, we're ready for anything that he brings to the table. I'm ready to go out there and put forward the best performance. I know Eddie Mustafa will have me ready and, like I said, camp has already been good. We have been in camp for a while now and we are just ready to go out there and have another great performance on July 19th.
PC: If anyone has followed your career on the surface, it doesn't appear that you could be someone who would win a title and be content with that. What's keeping you hungry and working hard now that goal #1 has been accomplished and you have won the title?
IS: The Hall of Fame and wanting to go down in history as one of the best. I want to do a lot to help my people, my brothers and sisters, by donating money. In my career, Floyd definitely motivates me. It's a misconception that comes to The Money Team. We are a family and we are one. It's always gonna be TMT until I die, but I don't want to be Floyd Mayweather. There is only one Floyd Mayweather and he is probably going to go down as the greatest fighter to ever live. I'm gonna do my best to accomplish the things that he accomplished, but I don't want to be him. We are two different people. I love him; he is my mentor and he's like a brother to me. He's done so much for my career, but I don't want to be just like him. I want to achieve what he's accomplished and the goal is to accomplish the things he's done in the ring. He gives me that driving force that I use every single day to say, "You know what? I want to be where he is at one day." I want to accomplish what he has accomplished one day, but I don't want to be just like that man. I don't want to swag jack the man and everything he has done. I just want to be as great as him one day and I think me being older, I've been able to do that to where a lot of young fighters aren't able to do that. They are around Floyd and they see Floyd and they see the glitz and the glamor and they wanna be him. They think that's how boxing is supposed to be. I don't want to be him; I just want to be like him in a way of accomplishing the things he's accomplished in boxing and I think that's the difference. That's the driving force that keeps me hungry because every day I see that and every day he talks to me, I see that passion and how, as a person, I wanna get there one day. I got the world championship, but that's not enough. When I see he's going to make $90 million from 2 fights...I wanna be the highest paid athlete, but I don't want to be just like him. I don't live my life to be like him because there is only one Floyd. I want to be the best Ishe Smith that I can be and if I can do that, then everything in life will fall in order. He inspires me to be the best boxer that I can be.
PC: I've actually heard it probably doesn't benefit some of the younger guys to be around him so much because they probably can't handle seeing the lifestyle and the money he makes, and they forget about the work he put in to get all of that stuff.
IS: Yeah, you know, I'm around him a lot and honestly, we are two different people. He's done so much for my career, I can never pay him back. There is not enough thank yous or money or enough of anything that I can repay him with for what he has done for me, but like I said, I want to be the best Ishe Smith and the best fighter that I can be. I want to step on that stage on July 19th as the main event. I think this is the first time I have been a big part of a main event in Vegas. I want to please the fans. I want to put on one of the performances he does because he inspires me so much to be the best that I can be. But it ends there because the things he likes to do may not be the things I like to do and vice versa. But overall, we have a very good friendship and a very good relationship. He helped me to win a world title and every day that I step into that gym or anytime that he talks to me, it inspires me to be the best that I can be, and outside of him, nobody works harder on The Money Team. That's that driving force that makes me say, "I gotta get to camp early because that's what Champ will do. He would get to camp early and work hard because play time is over." I was in the gym right after like, "Let's defend this title."
PC: Before I let you go, I gotta ask you what type of fight are you expecting from Molina? Are you expecting a foul-filled fight or do you think he may actually come out boxing?
IS: I don't know what to expect from him. It's really not my job to worry about that. My job is to go out there and execute the game plan that Eddie Mustafa has for me. A lot of people try to pick up my style; they call it the "Mayweather Style", but I been rolling behind the shoulder before I was with TMT since I was a little kid, so I can adjust to any style. Whatever he brings to the table, we're gonna be ready for. If he wants rough and dirty, we can do that too. I'm just going to go out here, Percy, and please my fans and defend my home turf. I'm happy that Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy and Floyd were able to get my first defense at home because I think the fans deserve it. They have stuck by my career for 20 plus years and above anything, I think they deserve it, so it's special to me that this thing is at home.
PC: I look forward to seeing you fight again in July; best of luck to you and we will definitely be doing some camp updates on you. Is there anything you want to add?
IS: I want to thank God. I have to thank my fans so much for everything. I want to thank everybody who has been there for me through everything from the bottom of my heart. Thanks so much. I gotta thank Mayweather Promotions, Golden Boy, Showtime for making a date for me and bringing me home to defend my title on ShoBox. Also, Stephen Espinoza for giving me a platform for defending my title, and FightHype, Percy, you always give me good interviews and a platform to speak, so I always thank FightHype for the support and love!
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]