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Ishe Smith Shreds Latimore, Targets Quillin, Angulo

By Chris Robinson

It could be very easy for Ishe Smith to let his frustrations mount these days. The former star on NBC’s inaugural season of The Contender, Smith now finds himself as a fighter who is blessed with God-given talents yet cursed with the fact that he is simply too big of a risk for many contenders and prospects to consider dealing with.

Smith was last seen by the masses losing a grueling decision to then-unbeaten Fernando Guerrero on Showtime last July and followed that up with a 2nd round stoppage of Alexander Quiroz in November. Since then Smith has done everything in his power to land a meaningful fight between 154 and 160 pounds, to no avail.
 
At the moment the junior middleweight division is full of so much talent that it would be a shame for the 33-year old Smith to miss out on the action but such is the way with the boxing world. Unfortunate as it is, the sport isn’t as simple as two men testing themselves against one another; the politics play a huge role in the fights that get made and paths that pugilists are able to blaze.
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I called Smith up earlier this week to simply get a few quotes about a possible fight against Peter ‘Kid Chocolate’ Quillin, who is coming off of a 5th round destruction over Jason LeHoullier last month at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and who I know Smith had shown interest towards fighting. Little did I know how our talk would unfold.
 
As my conversation with Smith took off, he vented on why it can be frustrating when he is open to facing anyone near his weight class yet constantly seems to have no takers. Such fighters on Smith’s radar have included James Kirkland, Alfredo Angulo, who returned to the ring last night in Mexico, and Deandre Latimore, who Smith particularly isn’t pleased with after reading an interview I had conducted with the St. Louis southpaw a week ago.
 
In his own words, this is what Ishe Smith had to say in this in-depth one on one…
 
A possible fight against undefeated Peter ‘Kid Chocolate’ Quillin…
“The thing is, the fans want the fight. That’s first and foremost. I think they want it. I try giving the fans what they want. They said they wanted me to change my style a little bit, and I had some of the best defense in boxing and they wanted me to change that and I did. I was able to accomplish that, putting together a good fight against Danny Jacobs and Fernando Guerrero. Unfortunately with Guerrero, those judges, I don’t know what the hell was wrong with them.”
 
Trying to make it happen…
“It’s a fight I asked for and I approached him after the fight like a man. I wanted the fight and he said he wanted the fight. I approached Richard [Schaefer] after the press conference and told him that I wanted the fight. As far as I knew Richard was going to get in touch with Eric Gomez and make the fight happen and I just didn’t know why it didn’t get made.”
 
Getting tough…
“It’s tough sometimes. I try to figure out what the deal is but I really feel that some people are scared to fight me. If I would look worse or bad then I would be able to get fights but I don’t foresee me looking bad. I’m just going to go out there and keep putting together good fights. It makes it a little rough and I know these fans are getting anxious. I have some very good fans that want to see me fight. I’m trying to give it to them but just the negotiating and trying to get these guys to fight, I can’t’ tell if they have on underwear or panties. It makes it really rough to get some of these guys in the ring.”
 
Seeing the struggle…
“I’m a full-time football coach and I see a lot of stuff with kids and their families. I see the struggle, what they go through financially and being able to see certain things with kid. Whether they can cover registration or a certain outfit or a uniform and I get to see that. I’m 33 now, I’ve gotten a little older and a little wiser. With the negotiating part, there have been times where I have said ‘You know what? This isn’t working’. I have all my senses, I haven’t taken a beating, I haven’t been knocked down, I’ve never been knocked out.”
 
Overcoming the trials and tribulations…
“I’m content with everything I have accomplished this far but thinking about those kids and I get to see the struggle they go through, and I look at my own kids and how hard they really support and look up to me. I’ve got my five-year old son telling me he wants to box now, just because his Dad boxes. I sit back and I realize I haven’t accomplished everything that I want to accomplish. Without trials and tribulations, there is no victory. Everybody who has struggled to get to the top has always had something they have had to deal with. This is just one thing that I have to deal with unfortunately. We’re going to get through it, I’m not worried about it. We’ll make it happen and I will be back in the ring soon.”
 
Pushing for more…
“If I felt that I had been taking a** whippings and been getting knocked down and I would be losing and losing and losing, then I would probably hang up the gloves. But I just fought in November and I won and I am coming up last year’s fight, Showtime voted me and Guerrero the fight of the year, being those things happened in my career, it just keeps me pushing for more. “
 
Evening up the score…
“Money doesn’t drive me. I’m ok. I’m not like where it’s retirement and I want to go live my life taking vacations wherever I want to go. I’ve been doing this since I was eight years old, that is almost 25 years, and nobody wants to do something for 25 years and then have to go out and work a job. I don’t want to work because this is all I know how to do. So, I haven’t done enough yet. This game has sucked a lot out of me and now I got to suck a lot back out of this game. The last 25 years this game has taken more from me than it has given to me and right now I want to even it up. Right now the game is winning and we have to even that up a little bit and get the fights that we want to get and get the names that we want to get.”
 
Asking for a big fight…
“Every big name that you can think of, from 154 to 160, I have asked for those fights and I haven’t gotten them. I have asked for James Kirkland; [his manager] Cameron Dunkin said ‘No’. I asked for [Deandre] Latimore and his manager said ‘No’. I asked for Peter Quillin and I don’t  know what happened there. I’ve been asking for these guys and I’m not able to get them. I’m a free agent so these fights shouldn’t be hard to make. I have a good name, I’m not the best looking-guy but I’m not ugly, I have a good personality, and it’s just hard. I’ve asked for fights overseas and that’s hard. Hopefully this thing will work out. Quillin has never faced anyone like me. Jesse Brinkley is not on my level. Outside of Jesse Brinkley he really hasn’t faced anyone like me. He’s asking for Sergio Martinez and all the people he is asking for have dance partners, so hopefully that is a fight that happens but if it doesn’t than we can move on and just put him on the list of guys who didn’t want to fight.”
 
Reaction to Deandre Latimore saying he is down to fight anybody in a recent interview with Examiner...
“You always here guys say ‘I will fight anybody’. That is a typical thing to say nowadays. When I heard him say it I was like ‘Bull****’ because we asked to fight you and your own manager and yourself didn’t want the fight so that’s bull****. I have all the respect and love for Lou Dibella. I think he’s one of the best promoters in the game, but he would never match me with any of his fighters from junior middleweight to middleweight. I would wipe that whole stable out of there. Without access to his prized jewel, Sergio Martinez, but I still believe I would beat anybody in that roster, even the guy he just signed, Matthew Macklin. That’s what is frustrating about it, is that I asked for that fight with Deandre Latimore. It’s just the same typical thing. They will say it when they talk to you, but not a lot of people say it and actually can do it. When they look at me they realize that they are going to have to show up and fight. That’s what they think. He’ll fight anybody as long as it’s six figures. He won’t fight me if it includes that the winner is going to go forward and the loser is going to take a couple steps back. He won’t fight me. How many fighters in the game will do that? I will do that. But aint no fighters willing to do that nowadays.”
 
All I know…
“It’s like tying your shoe. You never forget to tie your show. People don’t remember that when I fought Guerrero, I was off for eleven months and I almost didn’t fight for a year. I put together one of the best fights on Showtime. I’ve been telling my fans to calm down and we aren’t at that stage yet. I don’t worry about it. This is all I know how to do. I’m a smart guy and I do other stuff. I love coaching and I love coaching kids and I love volunteering. But when it comes down to the bread and butter, this is what I know. I could do this in my sleep. This is my calling and this is all I know how to do.”
 
Open towards facing Alfredo Angulo…
“That’s a fight I have asked for for a long time. It’s just that Golden Boy holds the tickets to all those fights for the fans. That is something that I would definitely go to Mexico for. I think it would be a great fight for the fans.”

Being a free agent…
“If a big promoter came along I think that it would be something that I would look at but right now I just want to fight. So I think it would be easier for me to be a free agent and if they can get me a big fight and sign me to some options, then it would be easier for Golden Boy or whoever is involved.”

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