By Brett Mauren: Tonight marks a return to the spotlight for the first time since February ’07 for Junior middleweight Ishe Smith. Smith will be pitted with feared up and comer Joel Julio on ESPN’s Wednesday Night fights. The last time the world saw Ishe Smith was in a tactical chess match with Sechew Powell, in which he dropped a close decision, but managed to knock powell down early in the fight. Smith looked to be cautious and that may have costed him. Standeing across the ring from a bonafide knockout artist in Joel Julio(32-1 30 ko’s) one would figure Smith may have a different strategy lined up..
“I’m just going to listen to my corner, and do the things necessary to get a win” Smith said regarding his stylistic approach to the fight.
The only thing that has ever really haunted Ishe Smith’s career has been inactivity, but tonight he may have an edge in that department. Granted Smith was inactive from February ’07 to February ’08, but factoring in his tune up knockout of Carlos De la Cruz, he had an opportunity to shake off some ring rust while Julio hasn’t fought since this past July when he knocked out Cornelius Bundrage. Tonight an opportunity looms for Smith to knock off a hot prospect, a feat that would undoubtedly give him a leg up on getting back into the title mix.
“The best way for Ishe to be accepted by the major television networks and boxing fans around the world is for him to fight the best fighters in the world” Said Smith’s promoter Yasseen Malnik of Seenogroup boxing.
Another advantage Ishe feels he holds is in his corner, world class trainer Roger Mayweather.
“Roger is great, I have been boxing for 22 years and I have never been pushed to the limit in training camp like I have been in this camp with Roger”
Though controversial at times, there is no denying the success that each of the Mayweather’s has enjoyed in terms of boxing training, and Roger is no exception. Smith and Mayweather seem to be a nice tandem as Ishe embodies the smooth, pure brand of boxer that Mayweather loves.
Ishe has been on the verge of stardom, and feels there is nothing that can keep him from beating the top fighters in the world, and tonight will be an opportunity for him to back up that notion.
“On April 30th, when Ishe beats Julio, the fans and major television networks will have no choice but to recognize greatness” Malnik stated.
It’s clear that Ishe and his handlers feel he can compete with the best of the boxing world, and tonight will be a major test, but also one that Smith sees as more than passable.
Joel Julio vs. Ishe Smith On Special Edition Of ESPN2’s Wednesday Night Fights
World ranked jr. middleweight contender Joel Julio returns to the ring on April 30, 2008, when he challenges veteran Ishe Smith in a 10 round bout from the River Rock Casino Resorts in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, it was announced today by Main Events CEO Kathy Duva. The bout will be broadcast live on a special Wednesday edition of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights,” beginning at 9:00 pm ET.
“I am very excited to fight again on ESPN,” said Julio. “It is very important to me to look good against Ishe because I want to fight for a world title next. Ishe is a good fighter who will bring out the best in me.”
“Sometimes life and circumstances bring the best out of us all!” said Smith.
Julio (31-1, 29 KO’s) is ranked #4 by the IBF and #6 by the WBA and WBC. The 23-year-old Monteria, Colombia native has stopped 21 opponents within the first three rounds. He has won his last four bouts, three by knockout. In 2005 Julio was named “Prospect of the Year” by several media outlets, including ESPN.com. In his last bout on May 16, 2007, Julio blasted Mauro Lucero in one round (KO 1).
Smith (19-2, 9 KO’s) has won four of his last five bouts. The 29-year-old Las Vegas, NV native captured the vacant WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Championship on January 15, 2004, when he decisioned Randall Bailey (W 12). That same year Smith participated in “The Contender” series and lost a split decision to eventual champion Sergio Mora on September 12, 2004 (L 5). In his last bout on February 8, 2008, Smith crushed Carlos De La Cruz in two rounds (TKO 2).