Boxingtalk's Sugar's Sack

By Ishe Smith


Boxingtalk's Sugar's Sack

Ishe,  of course, the first thing the fans want to know is: When are you fighting next?  And who do you want to fight?  Are you going to stay around 154 lb weight class? Would you ever take a welterweight fight? Or a middleweight fight?  What is your career goal at this point as a veteran fighter?  In my opinion I think you should call out a guy like Judah, or Mosley and have a shot at 'em when they are not in line to a big fight. So if you win, you really score big, but on the flip side you will be taking a risk.  Basically, I don't think you should take easy fights now. We NEED you to take a big fight and WIN.  Wish you the best, bro! O.G. ATL, GA

Ishe Response: I am optimistic that I will be fighting sometime in July; I want to fight anyone they put in front of me. I will definitely stay at 154lbs, I will not be moving up anytime soon. I really don’t see myself as a veteran, I’ve had too much downtime as a fighter to consider myself a vet, I am still learning, and I have a lot more to learn. I would take a fight at middleweight before I took a fight at welterweight, I will fight whoever they put in front of me, no matter whom it is, it doesn’t matter to me.

You know, Everybody is jumping on you for your last two "loses" but I call you the Bernard Hopkins of the game.  Your defense offsets and lack of activity that fans complain about.  Boxing is an art.  We often look at it as a great fight when two guys beat each other's heads in.  Like Gatti/Ward, Corrales/Castillo, or Marquez/Vasquez. 

But if the definition of boxing is to hit and not get hit, why do we dread matchups like Willie Pep vs. Pernell "Sweet Pete" (not Pea) Whitaker?  Or a prime Chris Byrd vs. prime Roy Jones?

Another reason I compare you to Bernard is that your losses are never BAD loses?  That's why Nard can fight and be competitive until he is 50.  When have you ever seen him dominated?  By Roy Jones?  Not really.  By Jermain Taylor?  Puhlease!  Joe Calslappy?  I don't think so!  I had Hopkins winning all those fights (except Jones) and most ringside experts did too.

I say that to say this:  I don't have a problem with anyone who says you BEAT Sergio Mora, you BEAT Sechew Powell, you BEAT Joel Julio.  I also don't have a problem with anyone saying you lost each by a point or maybe 2.  But let's be real.  You lost a SPLIT FREAKIN DECISION to Mora (and one can come up for quite a few reasons that happened- just ask Pete Manfredo if need be).  You lost to Sechew Powell a guy from NY, NY who you fought in NY, NY.  Now in his case we just need to look at all 3 cards to see the SAME exact scores.  Even Bert Sugar could see that this fight was not a 5 point loss.  Lastly, the fight against Joel Julio.  This fight could have (and maybe should have) been scored a draw. If 1 round was scored differently by 2 of the 3 judges, it would have been a draw.  Only Duane "seeing-eye dog" Ford (see Bernard Hopkins vs. Taylor) had a score that causes one to scratch one's head.

So people need to stop tripping.  You have NEVER been blown out as a pro and you have fought admirable levels of competition.  If you see what Julio did to K9 Bundrage in his fight right before yours, many figured he'd do the same to you.  But you neutralized his power and did enough for a win.  But you didn't get beat up and damaged like 30 of his 33 opponents.  In the Powell fight, you actually out landed him with the power shots.  He out jabbed you and I guess that must have been the difference to the NY judges.

Anyway, people please stop.  Like hard nard, Ishe's losses have all been those close, could-have-gone-either-way type of fights.  The kid ain't getting beat up.  But just like Whitaker/De La Hoya or Hopkins/Taylor, defense just doesn't get enough credit.  I guess by definition, a great fight is two guys beating each other up to a bloody mess. 

But what about which guy prevents the other guy from doing what he is known for.  Who changes who's style?  Did calzaghe come in and throw 1,000 punches like he usually does or did he cautiously stalk and slap arms and get a close, questionable victory?  Did Julio charge and KO you or did you neutralize him?  Sergio?  I hope people see the WHOLE fight and not the edited version that made it appear he was dominating when he wasn't.

You are 19-3 and could easily be 22-0.  A bit more activity and 2 or 3 wins in a row and you are where you need to be.  Match makers should love you cause a) they know you won't be stopped and b) you will be competitive.  I'm glad you have losses because it will show what you got when you can come back from the losses.  Stay strong and the day is coming…..

The Loveman

Ishe Response: I couldn’t have said it better myself, I have never been beat up or knocked out in any fight I’ve had amateur or professional. While many fighters are criticized for not taking on tough opponents, I have always fought the best my division had to offer, and I have been very inactive the last 4 years. It’s crazy how people just want to write me off or something, I thought the Julio fight was a good match, in boxing you want people talking the next day and that fight definitely had a lot of different discussions after the fact. Most writers and fans thought I was going to get KO’ed; that puzzled me as well because I haven’t even touched the canvas, let alone shown I am capable of getting knocked out. Julio didn’t win the fight, if anything I lost the fight by not starting faster, I am shocked writers are saying how great he looked, he didn’t do one thing effective that night. The fight was controlled by me and was fought at my pace and when I turned it up the last few rounds he was the one who turned into the boxer. Now in all the fights that he has had, when have you seen Joel box? Fans and media kill me at times, more so media because you have a lot of media personnel that really know nothing about boxing, but their the ones with the most opinions. I think Atlas was on the money about my inactivity, I am a way better fighter than I was when I fought David Estrada or when I fought on The Contender, my inactivity has me feeling a little uncomfortable at times in the ring and my offense has been a little affected by it. I showed that even with all that I can fight, and let Dan Rafael call it, he swears that Julio is the future of the Jr. Middleweight division, you know in this sport and in life your going to have setbacks, you just have to find a way to fight through them and move forward, but people love to kick you when your down, that is what boxing is made up of. I have had several people and good writers tell me I thought I won, its not the end of the world, I just have to figure out how to get this monkey off my back I guess. Thanks for the email, very sophisticated and well put.

Hey man, what's up, saw your fight against Joel Julio, thought your  
strategy was sound took too long to work. Julio hasn't shown me  
nothing, he's till a work in progress. What's your take on Pacman/ 
Diaz? Cotto/Margarito? PBF/ODLH? 

Ishe Response: I feel we had a pretty good plan in place, I might have let a few rounds slip in the beginning, but we closed the show the second half of the fight. Pacman better not underestimate Diaz, I fought in the amateurs with David and he is one tough customer, I have seen him fight many of times, we never fought each other, but we both competed in the Olympic Trials, with him going on to represent the country that year. The 1996 class was no joke, and that tells you that neither is David. Let’s examine that class, David Reid, Fernando Vargas, Antonio Tarver, Zahir Raheem, Augie Sanchez, Zab Judah, Eric Morel, and of course Floyd Mayweather. Their were a lot of fighters I didn’t mention, that class was definitely the last great crop of fighters to come out of the amateurs in a bundle like that. All I can say about Cotto/Margarito, Pain, and lots of it! PBF/Oscar, History, boxing needs this fight again, no matter what people think, it is a fight that will do great numbers and we always talk about Floyd this and Floyd that, but Oscar wants to avenge this loss, just like he tried with Mosley; I never heard of such nonsense, this great fighter wants to avenge the loss and we’re finding ways to discredit the fight! Thanks for the email.

"THE REAL HUSTLE"--im not ordering this fight and i am a super die hard boxing fan- this fight reminds me of street hustling- trying to feed boxing fiends a dream fight- (which this fight we beat an exact repeat of the first with no risks and maybe even a draw to captialize on a 3rd match 4 more "free money")while milking the pockets of hard working americans- floyd is not the greatest of all time beacause he is not what we call a "throwback fighter" - fighters fighting the best in their prime- however i must say early in floyds career he did fight the best that was out there at the time- but as his fame rose and money rose he chose to fit in the postion " make the most money with the least risk" - i respect his hustle - which is very smart in a "business sense" - but in a boxing sense its the worst move, especially to say u are the greatest of all time- to be the greatest in my opinion - you have to sustain a top level of opppostion throughout your career especially in "your prime" anything less would be uncivilized(common sense) - to fight de la hoya again- past his prime - is like watching a rerun of your favorite tv show- its somingthing u want to watch but u know whats going to happen - straight hustle- Floyd u claim to be the greatest of all time like the throwbacks-  fight cotto- who clearly deserves to be in the ring with u- and who is taking a fight with margarito - which is prolly 1 of the biggest risk nothing too gain fights 4 a champion such as cotto in the history of boxing- take heed from a true champion - cotto- and give the hard working fans such as myself, a fight worth the 50 dollars, which is alot of money 4 me personally, and not the "hustle" u are bout to give in september-  shawn"esco"

Ishe Response: Shawn as an athlete myself I totally understand what Floyd and Oscar are doing, and what Oscar has done throughout his entire career. In life and boxing you have to strike the iron while it is hot, Floyd’s iron was just warm for many years, and now that it is finally hot he is maximizing all that is out there for him. You tell me who wouldn’t take 30 plus million to make this fight happen again; anyone who says they would fight Cotto instead is a damn lie. Regular sport athletes don’t make the kind of money he has the past 2 years, and we’re knocking a man for taking a fight that is no walk in the park to make more money. So what will it be next, if he beats Oscar, then Cotto beats Tony, Floyd fights Cotto and beats him, you guys will still not be satisfied. Boxing has no pension, no insurance plan, no health benefits, and boxing has wronged so many fighters, I do not blame Floyd for taking the best he can out of this sport. When he is gone, that is when you guys will realize what a great fighter he was, I am not saying he is the greatest ever, but their is nothing wrong with him thinking that way. Furthermore, Oscar is entitled to a rematch isn’t he? The man will only go down as one of the greatest fighters of this generation, if he wants to try to avenge a loss on his record, why are we so quick to turn this event into a negative. Cotto might not beat Tony, and Floyd may not beat Oscar, so wait and see the next moves before we criticize Floyd as a fighter.

Hey Ishe,  Keep your head up man and I am glad you are doing the mailbag again,  everything will work out for you man sooner or later man, all it takes is one fight at a time and one of those fights will let you back in to world of HBO or Showtime again.  Teddy Reid fought on ESPN for a while because he was a fan favorite because of his style.  You might have to turn aggressive from start to finish, now I cant tell you anything about your fight game plan but I can tell you what a fan sees.  Good Luck to your brother.  JoeMac from DC

Ishe Response: Thanks Joe, I really do understand what you’re saying and with Roger in my corner we will definitely get this boat going in the right direction. Boxing is a write off business, people are always quick to write you off, and boom before you know it your on top of the world. Look at Nate Campbell, never given the respect he deserved, couldn’t quite get that monkey off his back to finally become a champion, he kept pressing, especially when most people thought he was going to lose to Diaz. Not only is he a champion now, but he has a few belts lol, I have always liked Nate and I am glad he proved everyone wrong! Thanks for the email.


Whats up Ishe,


    Its Brett Mauren again. I know your planning on getting in the ring 6 times this year, do you still see that ringing true? I also want to ask you what you think about the shane mosley accusations. I'm not sure if you have a relationship with shane, but if it did end up that shane was on roids how do you think it would mar his legacy. Do you think it would be less of an issue based on the idea that at the time shane became bigger he was not at his best?

Ishe Response: I really want to fight as much as possible, I started off on the club scene here at the Orleans Casino, even if I had to do that I am willing to do anything to get some fights in. I am not a diva by any means, so I am going to do my best to fight as much as possible. Whenever an athlete is accused of cheating, it is going to affect their legacy, especially when people will think it gave you a competitive edge. I know Derryl Hudson very well, I met him in Shane’s camp and we have continued to talk over the years, he has always been a stand up guy to me. I guess the courts will have to rule on this, but I think the steroids will follow Mosley into the hall, like their going to do to Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Thanks for the email.

Hi Ishe,


Hope things are well with you and that your bouncing back off that very close fight! Just wanted to shoot over a quick email about the mma on cbs this past Saturday. While Im not a huge fan of MMA (enjoy watching it casually, but dont follow all the fights by any means), this event on primetime network television was an extremely exciting and very well put together event. Boxing needs to be doing the same thing. Dont get me wrong, I love HBO boxing, but an event like this will allow boxing to get a buzz to casual fans again. Put together some exciting fights, available to anyone with a television set (like the old wide world of sports days) and gain a larger audience for boxing again. Im a big boxing fan, and try to catch everything that is televised, whether hbo, showtime, versus, ppv etc and think that boxing needs to repeat history with putting competitive fights on free tv. Im sure youll get lots of comments about the same thing as this event was put together and done really really well!


Not sure the numbers on this event, but my guess is it will have totally exceeded the total count of those who even subscribe to showtime (where it aired before) not to mention watched it there.


Any thoughts?



Ishe Response: Boxing is losing fans because they don’t trust our system anymore, fans sit and watch a fight and feel one guy clearly won the match and the judges see something totally different. That in itself is ruining the sport, it amazes me that we still have incompetent judges, you would think it would be some kind of punishment or a meeting they would have to attend if they screwed up a fight, maybe a suspension as well. Nothing, nothing at all, they continue to judge and continue to make mistakes over and over again. I enjoyed the fights as well, Kimbo in my book is highly overrated, but hey he started off on the streets, Literally and now is making a lot of money doing it in the octagon, so I am not mad at his hustle. Is he a Rampage or Griffin, no he is not, Kimbo is fun to watch though; I would love to see him compete in the UFC, now that would be something, Kimbo vs. Lidell. Good Email

Ishe, the reason why your struggling against inferior opponents is because they see you as a journalist and not an intimidating figure in the ring. Your exposing your nice guy side way too much. Stay mysterious which means out of sight. Right now, people feel comfortable with you and that's no good player because you have to rely on your skill only (no intimidation whatsoever) I've been out of the ring for 10yrs and if i had to step in the ring tomorrow to fight one guy, it would be you because you make me feel comfortable. - Kelvin Pompey "aka" johnnybadass

Ishe Response: Kelvin I have done the mailbag for years and I truly enjoy doing it. I just got to get this monkey off my back I guess, I keep losing controversial fights, and it is time for me to do a little extra so I make sure that doesn’t happen anymore. I don’t think the mailbag has anything to do with it, fighters aren’t really intimidated on this level, so whether I write or not is not going to matter. Thanks for the advice.

Hey Ishe-

I live over in Seattle and didn’t get a chance to drive to BC to watch your fight, but saw most of it on ESPN.  It seems to me that you have been a lot more technical (which is awesome)  But in doing so you were more defesive vs Powell.  Which I thought you barely edged out.

What has been the sudden change during the fight?  I missed old slickness of Ishe before he came on to the contender.  I still think you are damn good fighter, is it because of the mental pressure from family and media?

In the last fight It looked as if you were forcing the punches, and out of your focus cause were trying to knock this guy out.  I believe that he was no where on your skill level, maybe you just had an off night.   In the end Im glad you feel comfortable working with Roger.  I know his brother Jeff, well. 

Take care of yourself buddy.  You were robbed in the contender vs mora.  The media views you as someone that complains too much.  Maybe that comes with voiceing your opinion and being famous.  I hope you and your family are doing a lot better financially.  Give me a shout if you ever make it up to the Northwest, and I'll buy you dinner.

Thanks for listening.

Ishe Response: Thanks for the email; as an athlete and a sport such as boxing you’re always going to feel a substantial amount of pressure from time to time. In all honesty I think I am a lot better than I was a few years back, the difference between now and then is that I was a lot more active, and I truly believe that is playing apart in my career right now. I have never been beaten up or knocked out, but inactivity the last 4 years has added more pressure than it should. I have fought twice already this year and I am looking forward to fight as soon as I can, I need to be busy and stay in ring shape. My defense is great, I don’t think you can teach the defense that I have, I learned that from watching guys like Azumah Nelson, Roger Mayweather, and James Toney as a child. I grew up in the same gym as Nelson and Mayweather, so I use to see those guys all the time when I was like 8 years old, I use to go home and try to mimic them. Danny Smith also did a terrific job early in my career as well with my defense, but it still has to be natural. My offense needs to step up a bit, and I know that, I have to step my offense up, if we succeed in doing that, coupled a long with the defense I already have, it will be very hard for me to suffer another defeat. Thanks again for the email.

Hey Ishe,
How are you?  I did not get a chance to see your last fight (I am serving in Afghanistan right now and the time difference can hurt), but I've read quite a few times that maybe you should have got the nod.  You do have exceptional skills.  Keep your head up and remain as busy as possible.
I am curious about your opinion of Floyd Mayweather's business dealings.  I myself am a big fan of his and have realized that he is set at a higher standard than most other fighters, much like Oscar was in his prime and, of course, Roy Jones Jr.  Roy caught a lot of criticism for his dominance in the Light Heavweight Division, mainly because he was just that good and people wanted to see him beat or, at least, challenged.  
We all know that Floyd is going to make more money fighting Oscar than anyone else.  The fact is, I would rather see Floyd fight someone else but, just like a lot of others, I will watch the fight.
Has Floyd done everything he should have done to reach the status he craves so much to have?  At lightweight Diego Corrales (R.I.P.) was a beast.  Floyd beat him VERY impressively.  At super lightweight, Floyd took on Jose Luis Castillo and beat him in a close fight.  When people questioned the victory he took an immediate rematch and beat him again.  At jr. welterweight it would have been nice to see Floyd take on Kostya Tszyu, but he was defeated by Ricky Hatton who didn't even believe himself, at the time, that he was ready for Floyd.  At welterweight Floyd was to take on Zab Judah after the Baldomir fight for the UNDISPUTED welterweight title.  When Zab got upset by Baldomir, Mayweather went on with the fight which I believe was STILL a good fight because Judah was a fighter that could match Mayweather in speed and athleticism, if not skill.  Floyd went on to fight Baldomir, who had just defeated Aturo Gatti, instead of Margarito because Baldomir was, legitamitely, the REAL welterweight champion having defeated the undisputed champ.  From there Mayweather came into a fight with Oscar De La Hoya, basically, as a welterweight and defeated De La Hoya for the jr. middleweight title.  For me, that was enough to be convinced that Floyd would handle Margarito because I don't see Margarito going up to 154 and beating Oscar.  Not if he can't beat Daniel Santos at that weight.
In your opinion does Mayweather REALLY have anything to prove?  Just curious.
Jamar Kareen Ellis

Ishe Response: Do you want me to be honest? No he doesn’t!  I have 30 plus million reasons to take the De La Hoya fight. 1- he would be a complete idiot not to take that kind of money in this sport that generates so little dollar for its fighters, you can be a bench player in the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA and still make a good living, a lot of boxers work day jobs to make it! Who will ensure the future of his kids? He has to do it himself as their Dad, I applaud him man, if he beats Oscar, and the Cotto fight is there and he still wants to fight I will encourage him to take it; but if he walks into the sunset after this fight, I have no problem with that as well. Put it like this, if you had a million dollars and someone said I got a business offer for you, you can invest that million into a Denny’s Restaurant, and see a return of 5 million in 10 years. Then I come to you and I say, I have 4 gas stations right now, if you invest that million into all 4 of my stations you will see a return of 10 million in 10 years. What would you do? Everyone needs gas and will continue to need it, no matter how much we complain, we all need it, not everyone is going to want to go out to eat all the time. The iron is hot like gas prices, lol, Floyd needs to keep firing it up while it is hot. Thanks for the email.

Ishe, I read james toney is resuming against rahman. I'm a big fan of his, but feel his career now is tainted with some poor performances, injuries, and of course drug suspensions.My question to you is: how do other pros now think of him, has his reputation been harmed in recent years. Thanks, David

Ishe Response: I absolutely love watching James over the years; I don’t think his legacy is ruined at all. People question his work ethnic, and there is the steroid issue, but James is still going into the Hall of Fame, James is the pure science of boxing man, and it is always a pleasure to watch him fight. James is one of my favorite fighters of all time, along with Azumah Nelson. Thanks for the email

What up Ishe - I've been watching/scoring fights for over 20 years and in my opinion you won the Julio fight cleanly.  I had it 6-4 for you and you gave him a boxing lesson.  Your defensive reflexes were very sharp and you were laying your hands all over the guy, but who cares about judging it was a GREAT fight.  The tribute to Chico was also cool, I'm sure he enjoyed the fight.  We will never forget THE greatest warrior.  Is there anyone on your radar yet for your next fight?  I think Forrest will probably dominate Mora - who do you like in that fight? -Tyler LV

Ishe Response: Thanks man, I have had a lot of people tell me they had it 7-3 or 6-4 for me; I cannot change what the judges saw that night. I just have to keep pressing you know, things will get better, I know they will! Chico will always be remembered, we lost a great warrior and he will truly be missed.

Closing thoughts: We have some great fights scheduled this weekend, I am extremely excited about Mora vs. Forrest; call me crazy, but I truly believe this fight is going to be tougher than expected. Sergio is very awkward, trust me I know, and at times throughout his career, Vernon has shown he can have two left feet. Sergio does things that are unconventional; this might offset Vernon a bit. I like the way Sergio is also letting Vernon do all the talking and is mainly staying behind the scenes and out of radar. That tells me two things, he is very much focused, and that he is motivated a great deal by this opportunity. Needless to say, I can’t wait until this Saturday to watch some great boxing; Sergio has the opportunity of a lifetime, will he cash in, or will he stumble? So much suspense in that fight, I cannot wait!


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