Cornelius “K9” Bundrage, IBF Junior Middleweight World Champion
“When it was time to decide who I was going to fight, I went to Golden Boy [Promotions] and they presented me with several fighter names. They mentioned James Kirkland, Alfredo Angulo and Ishe Smith. It was special with Ishe because not only did they say I could fight him, but they said I could fight him in Detroit. That was an easy decision for me to make and now we are here.
“Not only am I getting paid, but I am getting paid to fight right here in Detroit. How great is that?
“I had to look up Ishe Smith and guess what, he has some flaws. I won’t really say much about that because I’m not that type of guy. The closer it gets to a fight, the less I talk and by fight week, I barely say a word.
“I see him as a good opponent for me. I never look to fight bums. I always want to fight the best. I am a dog in that ring and trust me when I say I’m coming to bring it.
“I feel like a little Mike Tyson. I am coming to get it. When I was in the hood, I used to take from people. On February 23, he won’t be taking anything from me.”
Ishe Smith, Junior Middleweight Contender
“I know I’m not the fan favorite in Detroit. One thing I’ve learned throughout my boxing career is that haters come with the territory. It’s something you deal with and keep on moving.
“I want to thank Leonard Ellerbe for getting me to this point. I’ve had a roller coaster career and now I’m here. I hadn’t fought in 18 months and Leonard called me and said he was working on something big. Then he called and told me what he and Floyd [Mayweather] worked out. I couldn’t believe it.
“Floyd called me too and said, ‘we got it.’ I’m overwhelmed and am going to leave it all in the ring that night. I owe it all to them to make this happen.
“I owe a lot to Floyd. When he was incarcerated, he sent me a letter telling me to hold it down, he was going to take care of me and not let me down. Now here I am fighting for a world title.
“When you box for a living, you have to get in there, fight and may the best man win. I’m a Christian that believes in free will. It’s my choice to make the most of the situation and do whatever I have to do. I believe and have faith that on February 23, I’ll leave the ring victorious.
“I’m also doing something special for the [families affected by the] Newtown, Conn. tragedy. I have two kids, a son and a daughter, that I was taking to school the morning of that awful incident.
“When I first heard about the shooting, I thought it was another high school situation. Then I heard about those poor little kids. It broke my heart and I started crying just thinking about if those were my kids. So we are making t-shirts for this fight and are going to sell them to honor those kids. All of the money is going to be given to a charity supporting the families and the town.”
J’Leon Love, Undefeated Detroit Prospect
“It will be great to fight in the city of Detroit, my hometown and the place I love so much.
“I believe in God and that’s who I am. Whatever happens is going to happen and that goes for February 23 too.
“I wanted to fight Bronco when I heard we could make the fight. I’m a young fighter on my way up and he is a great veteran of the sport.
“I appreciate all that Leonard Ellerbe is doing to help make my dreams come true. He works really hard on my behalf and it’s a blessing. Just training and being around Floyd Mayweather, my trainer Roger Mayweather and the whole team has been a great experience for me.
“I’m going back to Vegas this afternoon and will be back in the gym tomorrow. I’ll be ready to fight and come February 23, me and my team will all be 15-0.”
Bronco McKart, Former WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion
“This is my twenty-first year as a fighter and I still love the sport. It’s my life and I’m honored to be on the card that brings world championship boxing to the great state of Michigan.
“This city, Detroit, deserves this fight night and this fight too.
“I like J’Leon. I think he is a great young fighter, but come February 23, we are going to get in the ring, do business and see what happens.
“The only thing I turn down is my bed sheets. This is a great opportunity for me. I stay in the gym and lead a very clean lifestyle so young fighters aren’t a problem [for me].
“I know in a couple of years from now I’ll get to say, ‘There is J’Leon [Love], the great middleweight champion of the world…and I beat him!'”
David Itskowitch, COO of Golden Boy Promotions
“On behalf of Golden Boy Promotions we are excited to be here in Detroit where boxing has such a great history. It’s going to be a great show, tickets went on sale today and everyone should come out and enjoy this fantastic night of boxing featuring a great champion in Detroit’s own ‘K9’ Bundrage and the all-Michigan fight between J’Leon Love and Bronco McKart.
“The fight at the Masonic Temple will be historic too. This building is amazing and we look forward to working with everyone here to make this a great night for boxing and Detroit.
“Tickets are priced starting at just $25. To get to see two world championship fights for $25 is an unbelievable deal.”
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“On behalf of Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions, I want to thank everyone for coming out today and supporting this fight. Who doesn’t know about the history of Detroit boxing and the champions who have come from here and the state including Floyd?
“We’re so excited to bring you this big event. Floyd will be here as he took a special interest in making this happen. Not just for our fighters, Ishe Smith and J’Leon Love, but for every fight fan and sports fan in and around the area.
“We want to thank the MGM too for supporting these efforts. We are looking forward to a great night and feel confident in the ability of our two guys.”
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This exciting evening of world championship boxing is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions in association with Matchroom Boxing and is sponsored by Corona, AT&T and MGM Grand Detroit. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) with preliminary fights to air live on SHOWTIME Extreme at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Tickets priced at $200, $125, $100, $75, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges, are on sale now and are available for purchase at the Masonic Temple box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling 800-745-3000.