Exclusive Interview: Ishe Smith

By Brad Cooney


Exclusive Interview: Ishe Smith

Boxingtalk.com caught up with Golden Boy's Ishe Smith and discussed his big fight coming up on May 6, 2006 against Alexis Division ( 16- 3 - 0 ). Ishe talks in depth about his decision to leave The Contender, and to move on with his career with Golden Boy Promotions. Ishe Smith pulls absolutely no punches in this interview, he talks in depth about Peter Manfredo Jr, his relationship (or lack there of ) with Sergio Mora, and his
plans for the future with Golden Boy, you don't want to miss what Ishe had to say. Boxingtalk welcomes Ishe Smith!

BT - Ishe you have a big fight coming up against Alexis Division ( 16 - 3 - 0  ), what do you know about this guy?

IS - He is a pretty good fighter, he is tall. That's about it, this is going to be my coming out party. I am happy with the direction of my career now, I am so happy with Golden Boy , I am with real promoters finally. These guys actually care about me, and my interests. I am really excited about fighting on May 6th, and it's going to be all about me, I don't really care about this guy.

BT - It's almost a year since your last fight Ishe, any concerns with ring rust ?

IS - No, my gym work has been excellent and I have been doing some great sparring. The camp has been really good, and when I came back to the gym everyone was saying 'Ishe's back, he's back' . I have really grown as a person, and as a fighter over the past year. I have grown as a father, and as a husband as well. On May 6th, there is nothing this guy will be able to do against me, It's going to be a short night.

BT - Ishe, Sergio Mora has a fight coming up against Archak TerMeliksetian, how do you see Sergio Mora matching up against this guy?

IS - I only pay attention to real fighters to be honest. I really don't pay attention to those guys, or the shows they put on. When I think of Sergio, I think of a guy that lies, and that says I didn't hurt him. That part of Ishe is dead, and I have moved on.

BT - Ishe, is it fair to say that there are still some hard feelings with The Contender people?

IS - Well I mean, like I said the old Ishe is dead. But when the old Ishe was alive, he heard things in interviews that was all wrong. I keep it real, I am going to tell you how it is. When I hear a guy go on the record and say he wasn't hurt, I mean come on man, keep it real. I mean this guy goes on the record and says the fight wasn't even close? I mean come on man, just say you was hurt. I mean you won the fight, but at least admit you was hurt. I mean it was 3-2 either way, I mean say that the one judge  that scored the fight 5 to 0 wasn't on crack. I am with Golden Boy now, a realpromoter, and we'll see who's standing when the smoke clears.

BT - Ishe another guy that was with you on The Contender is Peter Manfredo Jr, and he was very clear with his being unhappy with The Contender, any thoughts on that?

IS - I am not surprised at all man, I wish Peter the best. I mean we had our differences, but man, I don't want to see someone that wants to accomplish something in boxing, and not be able to do it. It's funny thought that when I was trying to get out of The Contender, these guys were criticizing me, and coming to The Contenders defense. When I wanted to get out, they were all over me about it. I wish Peter the best, and I hope he can accomplish what he wants to do, and if he feels he can't accomplish what he needs to, he should part ways. It's about the fighter, it's not about TV, or The Contender, it's about the fighter, and if the marriage isn't working, get a divorce.

BT - Ishe it seems like the trend now is for former fighters to turn promoter, what are your thoughts on that?

IS - I think Golden Boy is a prime example, but not every fighter can promote. Oscar is a very smart person, and I can't stress it enough how unbelievable these people have been to me. I am really happy with being with Golden Boy, and fighting on May 6th, and then again on ESPN on June 7. I mean Golden Boy has big plans for me, the way they operate, and handle business is awesome. Usually with other promoters you have to worry about shit like, is my wife gonna have a room? will they call me back? that kind of crap. All eyes are going to be on me and Oscar DelaHoya. People are going to want to know if we both still have it. We both have been off for awhile, so it's going to be about us that night.

BT - I spoke to Shane Mosley the other day, and I asked him to tell me what Golden Boy does for fighters that other promoters may not. Shane said that with Golden Boy, they give the fighter a real sense of involvement, and build a trust with their fighters. Has that been the case for you too Ishe?

IS - I negotiated with 3 or 4 promoters, and we were going back and forth with all of them. I hit roadblocks with them, they wouldn't budge on things. Golden Boy came to the table, and we just negotiated, and made it work. I knew what I was signing, and I knew that they were trying to do what was best for both me and them. Golden Boy was the only promoter to take the time to actually hear what we wanted.

BT - How difficult was it for you to get out of The Contender contract?

IS - You know, it was stressful more than anything. I was just trying to do what was best for my family, and for my fight career. It was frustrating for me because I had to stretch out every dime I made, and to have faith in God, and a good wife, it really helped  me out. I tell you Brad, there was a time when I just wanted to quit, and say forget it. It was very depressing, and I am here to tell you I thought about suicide. I went through times when I was looking at my gun case, and asking myself if I should just pull the trigger.....

BT - ....Cutting in - Ishe was it that bad man?

IS - Yes, man it was rough. I wasn't sure if I was going to separate from my wife, she wasn't happy, I wasn't happy. It was very rough both spiritually, and mentally man, it destroyed me there for awhile.

BT - Ishe, as a human being here, I am glad you came through that stuff man.

IS - Man yea, most definitely.

BT - Ishe when The Contender show first started, most boxing fans favored you to win it all as being the most talented fighter there. You and Peter Manfredo Jr were the top talent in that group. Boxing is a lot mental, and at times you seemed unhappy during the taping. How much did the viewer not see behind the scenes Ishe? I mean you didn't seem happy during a lot of that show, and it probably impacted your boxing, no?

IS - Let me tell you, all I have to say 3-2 , 4-1, 4-1 and 5-0. Everyone knew that Ishe Smith and Peter Manfredo Jr gave that show legitimacy. The bottom line is I have never seen the tape of that fight. I have never seen it, besides the edited version, and it's hard in my soul to deal with knowing that one of those judges didn't even give me a round. I have never been shut out in a round in my life, including my amateur career. I had 130 fights, and never been shut out, come on. I have fought guys like David Estrada, Randal Bailey's, were not talking about guys like this, were talking about Sergio Mora, a guy 16 and 0 with 3 knockouts, and he shut me out? Get the Hell out of here! Come on. I didn't like things about the show, and they fell that they had to do certain things, and that's the way the cookie crumbles. I am never going to be at piece with that fight until he grows some balls and wants to fight me again. This guy is a coward, he never talks about giving me a rematch. When I am on HBO with Golden Boy in the near future, maybe Mora can come ask me for a fight. If you're a real fighter you want to take on a guy like Shark Attack? I was fighting guys like Randal Bailey, David Estrada's with what? 12 fights?......

BT - Cutting in... Ishe you were beating guys like David Estrada (laughs)

IS - (Laughs) exaclty, I mean be a man and admit you were out on your feet, and don't hide that fact. It's nothing to be ashamed about, this is boxing man When you come on the record an you actually say you beat Peter Manfredo Jr, and you go on the record and say things like Ishe didn't hurt you? Come on , get real.

BT - Ishe, you said it before, the old Ishe is dead, and the new one lives. Talk about 2006, and when do you see a title shot coming up for you?

IS - Soon man, I think Bernard Hopkins is working hard for me. They already got me fighting on May 6th, and then back again on ESPN. People don't know this, but there were serious discussions going on for a fight with me, and Carlos Baldomir. Gatti's people came up with better money, so it didn't happen, but my point is Golden Boy is working for me man. This shows you what kind of Promoters I am with now man, I almost got my first fight with the World Champ!

BT - Ishe, in closing talk to the fans out there.

IS - I want tell the fans out there that it's been a long road, and Ishe Smith is back! It's been 12 long months, and I am back. I want to thank my fans, especially the fans in my forum for supporting me through all of this. Some of the emails that I received from my fans really helped me, they  really picked me up when I was feeling down. I go by me now, I go by Ishe Smith's way.


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