Former NBC Contender, and current Golden Boy fighter Ishe Smith responds to comments made by Contender Champion Sergio Mora during a recent Boxingtalk interview. Ishe blasts Sergio Mora referring to him as a paper champion, and all but calls him crazy if he thinks he has a remote chance in Hell of beating any of the top ranked Middleweights in boxing. Ishe Smith also takes shots at The Contender management, Alfonso Gomez, and says Miguel Espinio is destined to be put to sleep very soon. Ishe reaches out to Peter Manfredo Jr, and offers his support, and advice as Manfredo has made it clear that he would like to follow Ishe's path out of The Contender contract as well. Ishe also talks about his friend Najai Turpin, who tragically took his life during the taping of The Contender.BT - Ishe, first off let's talk about the news that you will not be fighting Alexis Division on May 6th.
IS - Well firstly I want to thank you for having me, I always appreciate being on Boxingtalk. My promoters and I decided that it's in everybody's best interest to pull out of this fight, and go right into the June 7th fight on ESPN. We thought it would be best to come out with a bang on ESPN,this guy is very dirty, he hits low, and throws elbow's it's just not worth the risk. So with that said, I will hit camp again, and be stronger and sharper for my fight on ESPN on June 7th.BT - Ishe, any names being talked about for your opponent for the June 7th fight?
IS - I talked to Bernard Hopkins a few days ago, and he is supposed to let me know this week. I feel so comfortable and ready right now, that I don't care who it is.BT - Ishe you wanted to respond to some comments made by Sergio Mora here on Boxingtalk, the floor is all yours.
IS - You know he comes on the record and he says that I will regret leaving The Contender, and that is bogus. I am with a real promoter, and a real team that cares about my interests, my families interests. I am happy man, I am NEVER going to regret leaving The Contender. Mora says I bad mouthed The Contender, and once I got in too deep? The bad mouthing started before the Arbitration started. Regret Leaving The Contender? The only thing I regret is that judge scoring my fight with him five to zero, and me not having 10 more seconds to put him down like I should have. The only thing I regret is him not having any balls, and manning up and admitting the fact that he has gotten so many gift decisions. This guy hides behind that shield of gift decisions. The only thing I regret is not knocking him out, and finishing him off, and that's exactly what will happen if we fight again, I will pick up where I left off.BT - Ishe do you think Sergio Mora is a guy that Golden Boy would be interested putting you in there with?
IS - They have to be eventually. We are going to make them have to fight me, I want to avenge my loss. It's funny, Peter got his chance to avenge his loss, and they still took the win from Peter. My name never has been mentioned when I was so called promoted by The Contender, to rematch Mora. I find it odd, because my fight with him was a split decision. They know, They know what happened, everybody knows what happened. So now for Mora to come on the record and say that I am going to regret leaving The Contender, and that I could have made this amount of money? Man I am content, let Mora count his own money, stop counting my money. That money that Mora is making now is it, he won't make much more money because he can't fight, all he is, is a paper champion. Sergio Mora always comes on the record and says something that is totally out in left field. Money to me isn't everything, I want to be a world champion, and leave a legacy on this sport. I didn't feel The Contender could do that for me, so I moved on. I probably won't make the money I was making right away, but that just shows you what type of person Mora is, and what kind of person I am. I am willing to take a stand, because money isn't everything to me, leaving a legacy, and to be remembered as not a show champion, but a REAL champion in boxing, that's what is important to me.BT - Ishe's plan is to become World Champion, and fight your way up the ranks with Golden Boy, rather than get paid more money for non title fights with The Contender, is that fair to say?
IS - Definitely, at the end of the day I am going to give the fans what they want to see. I have a great promoter in Golden Boy East, and Bernard Hopkins. I am not some athlete that will demand big money because I was on T.V. I don't want to be in Mora's position. All Mora is about is money. Mora asks how Peter Manfredo Jr can complain? Well because Peter has a desire to be champion man, that's why. Money isn't everything, at the end of the day when we leave this earth, we can't take money with us. All you have is your name, and your legacy, Mora will be remembered as The Contender Champion, and that he's a BUM! fighters like me and Manfredo Jr have been doing this since we were kids, and we want to be remembered as fighters that did something great in boxing. The Contender fighters are over-paid athletes, that's all they are. I mean come man, get out of here. If the money was so great, why is Manfredo Jr so unhappy? Because he's a real person with real dreams that wants to become champion. As soon as Sergio fights a somebody he is going to get knocked out. Jermain Taylor???? Get the hell out of here, you aint ready for no Jermain Taylor!BT - Ishe Sergio didn't pull any punches in my interview with him, there are some bad feelings here for sure.
IS - I will tell Sergio to his face that I had him hurt, he can't beat me, he cannot beat me, period. Stop hiding behind those judges, and one day you will see, and the fans will see that you are a paper champion, and you can't fight dude. Let's go 10 rounds Mora, let me take you into deep waters. When me and Peter came on that show, we were the most feared fighters there, and all I heard was Mora talking about who he didn't want to fight. Another thing, does Sergio ever acknowledge Najai Turpin? No, he never does! that shows you the type of guy he is. Does Sergio ever say, 'God let him rest in peace', NO, he never said that. There was about 14 guys left in the house after Sergio supposedly beat him, and you could ask all of them, and 10 out of the 14 would tell you that Najai won that fight against Sergio. Every fight I have seen Sergio Mora in since that show, he is getting a gift decision. Nobody ever acknowledges that Najai did enough to win that fight, and Najai is my friend, and I talk about him all of the time. Najai is gone now, and nobody acknowledges the fact that he's gone. Najai sacrificed, and he was robbed, and he was NEVER given a fair chance and now we don't have a good Philadelphia fighter, and nobody ever talks about him! This guy deserves to be recognized, and at the final show, nobody even mentioned his name, I had say his name at the press conference. All Sergo cares about is money, and meeting celebs. As soon as someone sleeps Mora, we'll see then how great of a fighter he is. He lost against Peter, he lost against Najai, and then he fights me, and lies about wether or not I hurt him. Mora is making more money than me, but he aint better then me, he will never be better than me. When the smoke clears
we are going to see who's left standing. BT - Ishe can we expect to see a fight between you two in the near future...
IS - (Cutting in) Man, Bernard Hopkins is my promoter, and he is like a mentor to me. Bernard tells me about the boxing game, we respect each other because we both like to do it our way. When Bernard Hopkins wins this fight, he will go down as one of the greatest fighters in history. Bernard knows that deep down in my heart I want to avenge my loss against this guy,that loss shouldn't have happened. Mora needs to focus on his fight, on
this dolphin he's fighting. Mora what is it with you? I am happy man, my family is taken care of man, money isn't everything. Sergio Mora one day will have to get into that ring and fight a somebody, and when that happens, he will be knocked out. He can't be mentioned with guys like Jeff Lacy, and Joe Calzaghe? Are you kidding me? Mora doesn't even have the experience to be mentioned with these types of fighters. He can't be
mentioned with names like that? Manfredo Jr can, because Peter has been in there with guys before, he has experience. Now, now you got Alfonso Gomez saying he wants to fight Arturro Gatti? Come on man (laughing) and Chavez jr? Then he talks about money. These guys never talk about leaving legacies. Call out someone like Demetrius Hopkins, see if you can beat someone like that! Vivian Harris, fight Vivian if you think you can fight. BT - Najai Turpin is a guy that you say has not been recognized, nor talked about enough, so let's talk about him. During the taping, did Najai give any indication, or signs that he was so depressed as to take his own life?
IS - You know, I didn't pick up signs in the house, I picked them up after he wasn't able to fight. I talked to him, and he was very unhappy with the decision against Mora. Najai asked me after his fight with Mora if I thought he won, he asked me to be real. I told him that I wasn't going to lie, I thought he won the fight, that he did enough to win. They scored this kids fight so one sided, it made me wonder? Mora from California, and Najai from Philly. I fight Mora, and the crowd boos the decision, and The Contender edits the boos off of the show. Why does Mora get these decisions? I told Najai that if they would have scored his fight 3-2 either way, that I could live with that, but for them to say Najai only won one round?? come on man, get real. Najai and I were not too happy with the judges, When they scored my fight against Mora, and one judge scores it 5-0? that makes me wonder man. One judge didn't give me one single round? what was that judge thinking? not one round? I remember when Leavander Johnson passed the boxing sites put up condolences pieces, but I didn't see any when Najai passed, maybe I missed it, but I didn't see any. For me, I can't live with the fact that he killed himself, I know what he was going through, because I was going through the same thing. It's bad that Najai isn't being acknowledged the way he should be. BT - Ishe, Manfredo Jr made it clear that he's not happy with The Contender, any advice for Peter ?
IS - Man, I want to tell Peter to stay on course. Peter and I have had our differences, but above all, I love Peter. I have nothing but respect for Peter, he can fight, he's a good guy, and he's a good father. My heart told me that my situation wasn't right, so I took a stand. If Peter doesn't feel like his position isn't right, take a stand man. Don't give up Peter, and one day it will pay off for you. I wish Peter all of the best, and I want to say don't quit, it's the 10th round of a Championship fight. BT - Talk to the fans out there Ishe.
IS - I want to say to the fans that I am sorry about not making the fight on May 6th, this next fight on ESPN is a better opportunity for me. I haven't fought for over a year, and my first fight back, I am on ESPN, and that tells you about the people I am working with. To Sergio Mora, don't count what's in my pocket, count what's in your pocket, work on your chin, and your knockout ratio, that's what you need to be thinking about. I will do what I do, you will do what you do, and maybe one day you will grow some balls, and then we can fight, that's the bottom line.
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