The Legacy of Emanuel Steward Part 4: Perspective from Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage

The Legacy of Emanuel Steward Part 4: Perspective from Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage

“So he was not just only a manager, a trainer, a commentator. He was a good man. He was a man that would give you the shirt off his back, and that’s what I will remember about Emanuel Steward.”—Cornelius Bundrage

Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – This is Part Four of an ongoing series dedicated to the memory and legacy of an extraordinary individual, Emanuel Steward, whose contributions to the world of boxing are simply remarkable. In this installment, reigning IBF junior middleweight champion Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage (32-4, 19 KOs) provided his perspective and shared some of his experiences with the legendary Hall of Fame trainer. Here is a complete transcript from my discussion with ‘K9’ Bundrage:

GEOFFREY CIANI: K9, it was a big loss for the boxing world when Emanuel Steward passed away. As a fighter who had the opportunity to work with Emanuel, can you give us your views on his impact on boxing?

CORNELIUS BUNDRAGE: Wow! You know I don’t know if boxing, as far as the knowledge that Emanuel Steward had in boxing, I don’t know if we’re going to run across a guy like that again. I mean how many guys do you know that came across fighters Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and still have world champions to this day, that knew what he was talking about? I mean I believe he helped Jim Lampley and all of them to know more about boxing, because he was actually a boxer himself. I mean he’s going to be missed by not only just the people in Detroit and the people in boxing, but he’s going to be missed by a lot of people. Emanuel Steward was feeding a lot of people. What people don’t realize or know is he was taking care of a lot of fighters. He once had a house where there were like a lot of fighters who stayed there, and it was fighters from all around the world. It wasn’t just the fighters from the city. You even know Andy Lee stayed in one of his houses, and Andy Lee is from Ireland. But he had a training camp house where I was actually in. It was Johnathon Banks, it was me, and it was another local fighter named John Jackson. He had a whole camp or so. You know there are going to be a lot of people that are going to be really affected by Emanuel Steward leaving, because like I said he was looking out for a lot of people. There were guys at the gym who I know personally that used to go to his house and get a check every week. They’re going to be greatly affected. So you know Emanuel was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. He was a real cool guy, definitely a cool guy, and he knew the sport of boxing. He didn’t act like he was too good for anybody, and he was out there. You know people knew who he was all over the world, and he always gave you the time if he had it, and he didn’t treat you like you were a nobody. Even if you were nobody, he treated like you were somebody. That was Emanuel Steward right there. He was like the Michael Jackson of boxing. Or should we say the James Brown of boxing, the Godfather.

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Vanes Martirosyan: “My cut is healing well, but my balls are extremely sore!”

Vanes Martirosyan: “My cut is healing well, but my balls are extremely sore!”By Joseph Herron: This past Saturday night at the Wynn Las Vegas, former Olympian Vanes Martirosyan (32-0-1, 20 KOs) fought top rated Junior Middleweight contender Erislandy Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs) to a tactical, nine round technical draw.

Because the fight was deemed by the WBC as an official title eliminator, the inconclusive results will force a rematch at a future designated date and venue. Although many fight fans who witnessed the awkward yet tactical bout aren’t exactly clamoring for an immediate sequel, both fighters have acknowledged a willingness to step in the ring one final time.

On this Sunday night’s edition of “The Pugilist KOrner’s: Weekend Wrap”, Lara’s world renowned trainer, Mr. Ronnie Shields, revealed that the Cuban missile sustained an injury to his right hand in the first round. The famed fight trainer claims that Erislandy’s injured hand drastically affected his punch output within the calculated boxing match.

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Abner Mares is the Real Deal

Abner Mares is the Real Dealby Emilio Camacho, Esq: Abner Mares is young, disciplined, undefeated and hungry. That is a powerful combination in boxing. He has had a magnificent run and last week he did not disappoint.

Mares’ story is compelling. He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and was brought to the United States as a child to the city of Hawaiian Gardens, California. As many youngsters from low income households, gangs and bad company pushed him into trouble. As a result, his father sent him back to Mexico in order to avoid a tragic result (jail or death).

Back in Mexico, he took boxing seriously. He went to the Olympics and lost a highly controversial decision against Zsolt Bedak of Hungary by 27-24. Some experts believe he could have won the gold medal.

As a professional, his success has been intensifying. First, similar to Andre Ward, Mares won the Showtime four-man single elimination Bantamweight Tournament, which also included the top fighters at the time—Vic Darchinyan, Yonnhy Perez and Joseph Agbeko. The final match of the tournament against Agbeko was a controversial one. As a result, Mares accepted a rematch (something he did not have to do) and won that convincingly. He settled the controversy the way it should be done: in the ring. You gotta love that approach (yes, Floyd and Manny, but mostly Floyd now).

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Broner vs. DeMarco: Antonio would be wise to take a page from the Abner Mares playbook

Broner vs. DeMarco: Antonio would be wise to take a page from the Abner Mares playbookBy Joseph Herron: This past Saturday night from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Abner Mares defeated, who most boxing pundits viewed as the 26 year old fighter’s toughest test to date, Super WBA Bantamweight Champion Anselmo Moreno by way of gritty, twelve round unanimous decision.

Many ringside experts felt that the skill level and natural athleticism of the Panamanian southpaw would be too much for the undefeated fighter. But Mares took Moreno out of his comfort zone and forced a more torrid pace than the defensive technician had grown accustomed to seeing.

Abner took away Anselmo’s natural southpaw advantage by bringing the fight to close quarters and touching-up the seemingly untouchable and slippery fighter with a barrage of punches from various angles. Mares’ intent was to hit Moreno anywhere he could, as often as he could, and to force Moreno into fighting a very physical and uncomfortable contest.

On Saturday, November 17th, from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Antonio DeMarco (28-2-1, 21 KOs) will attempt to defend his WBC Lightweight title against the very talented, defensive specialist Adrien “The Problem” Broner (24-0, 20 KOs).

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Jason Estrada Destroys Galen Brown

By James Stillerman – Jason “Big Six” Estrada scored a technical knockout over Galen “Bad Boy” Brown in the fifth round in this heavyweight main event, which was presented by Big Six Promotions, on the “Big Things” at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Estrada with his fourth consecutive victory upped his record to 20-4, 6KOs while Brown fell to 38-21-1, 23KOs.

“I was pleased with my performance tonight especially against a good 60 fight veteran,” said Estrada. “Brown was shifty and was doing a great deal of show boating and I was not in the mood for it, so I worked his body well, landed the powerful punches and finally everything came together for me in the fifth round when I ended the fight.”

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Ronnie Shields: “Erislandy Lara would have knocked out Vanes Martirosyan in the 10th or 11th”

Ronnie Shields: “Erislandy Lara would have knocked out Vanes Martirosyan in the 10th or 11th”By Joseph Herron: Last night on “The Pugilist KOrner’s: Weekend Wrap”, veteran trainer Ronnie Shields shared his thoughts regarding Erislandy Lara’s (17-1-2, 11 KOs) technical draw with Vanes Martirosyan (32-0-1, 20 KOs) on Saturday night at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Although the Cuban exile didn’t take full advantage of his opportunity to meet Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in 2013, Mr. Shields is very proud of his Junior Middleweight star for fighting through a very unexpected situation.

“What most people didn’t realize was that Erislandy injured his right hand in the first round,” proclaims Ronnie Shields. “After the first round, he came back to the corner and whispered something into his manager Luis Decubas Jr’s ear. I didn’t find out until after the second round had started that Erislandy severely injured his right hand in the opening round.”

“I told Erislandy to just box Vanes and feel him out for the first few rounds. That was the primary game-plan anyway. I wanted to see what Freddie Roach had planned for Martirosyan to begin the fight. I had a feeling that they were going to have Vanes uncharacteristically fight while moving forward, because they felt Erislandy wasn’t as effective fighting while backing up.”

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Wach blew his chance against Wladimir by not throwing enough punches

Wach blew his chance against Wladimir by not throwing enough punchesBy Michael Collins: In dissecting what went wrong for the huge 6’7 1/2″ Mariusz Wach (27-1, 15 KO’s) last Saturday night in his embarrassingly one-sided 12 round unanimous decision loss to IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (59-3, 50 KO’s) in Hamburg, Germany, it comes down Wach’s failure to let his hands go.

Wach had the built in power to win the fight if he had thrown some damn punches, but no. Wach fought passively by just covering up and every once in awhile throwing a wild right hand that frequently missed badly.

Wach’s mistake was that he just covered up like a sparring partner instead of taking advantage of what could be his only opportunity to ever fight for a world title. I can’t see Wach ever getting another chance at a strap unless the sanctioning bodies give him an inflated ranking off of a bunch of wins over lower level opposition.

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Tyson Fury vs. Kevin Johnson on December 1st

Tyson Fury vs. Kevin Johnson on December 1stBy Michael Collins: Unbeaten #4 WBC heavyweight contender Tyson Fury (19-0, 14 KO’s) will be taking a big step u in competition against former heavyweight title challenger 33-year-old Kevin Johnson (28-2-1, 13 KO’s) on December 1st at the Odyssey Arena, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. Johnson has fallen out of the top 15 since losing a lopsided 12 round decision to WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in December 2009.

However, Johnson remains a tough out for a guy like Fury simply because of Johnson’s superb jab, good left hook and experience. Believe it or not, Johnson is a huge step up for the 24-year-old Fury, who has been matched very, very carefully by his promoter Mick Hennessy during Fury’s four year pro career.

Fury said to Sky Sports News “I am getting closer to a shot at Klitschko myself and I’m going to show Vitali why he has to fight me because when I do a number on Johnson and him out of there I’ll have done a better job than Vitali did.”

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Will Virgil Hunter make a difference for Amir Khan?

Will Virgil Hunter make a difference for Amir Khan?By Robert Jackson: After seeing Alfredo Angulo – following a 10 month respite from the ring, KO Raul Casarez Saturday night, it had me wondering how effective would Amir Khan be in his next fight. Both Angulo and Khan now train under Virgil Hunters watchful eye and if Angulo’s performance was any indication, Khan may have made the right choice and can be expected to perform excellently.

After the fight ended, Hunter was the first one in the ring to offer support to his charge, there was a genuine closeness between the 2 men that could be seen as both men embraced each other. Hunter remained at Angulo’s side keeping the emotional Angulo calm as El Perro answered post fight questions posed by Showtime’s Jim Gray.

What was as wonderful as the comraderie between Angulo and Hunter was the near flawless performance that Angulo put on that saw him quicker and stealthier in his boxing technique than in previous fights. Granted Casarez has a lot to learn as a fighter, he hadn’t lost in 5 years and is highly regarded as an up-and-coming middleweight. Angulo’s body also looked leaner than he’s looked before.

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Has the time has come to create a new division – a superheavyweight division?

Has the time has come to create a new division – a superheavyweight division?Rob Moore: After watching another Wladimir Klitschko win, this time over the even bigger Mariusz Wach, I had to face up to the fact that my interest in watching much of what the heavyweight division has to offer, has waned considerably . The same division that that used to excite me and initiated my lifelong interest in the sport.

So many fights are truly underwhelming with guys showing limited range of skills, movement and conditioning, leading me to bore my kids with accounts of quality of fighters who graced the division in the past. You could never accuse Wladimir of not coming in in top condition and Wach showed great heart, but was the fight really top quality boxing and entertainment?

Unfortunately it seems like my diminished interest is shared by many, particularly in the US which just isn’t good for the sport’s future. There is certainly a valid point made by many that the Klitschko brothers have dominated the division for so long that it has hurt the division outside of Germany. While there is some mileage in that view, I see the problem as being more fundamental, and can be largely attributed the sheer size and weight of modern day heavyweights and the limitations this brings.

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