By Chris Robinson
Saturday night, February 23rd, will forever go down as a special one for Luis ‘Cuba’ Arias.
Fighting inside of the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan, the 22-year old Arias improved to 3-0 with 2 knockouts after halting an overmatched Edgar Perez inside of a single round.
Having seen his professional career momentarily sidetracked last year, Arias has now reeled off a pair of stoppage victories within three weeks of one another as he continues to ride the momentum that comes from being aligned with Floyd Mayweather’s promotional outfit.
Following his victory, Arias remained intently fixed on three other bouts this past weekend, as his stable mates Badou Jack, J’Leon Love, and Ishe Smith also scored victories.
Smith would seize his first world championship in the evening’s Showtime-televised main event, willing himself to a split-decision victory over Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage. For Arias, it was very emotional to see his friend claim the IBF junior middleweight title, as he shares a true bond and connection with him that goes back to his amateur days.
Continue on to the interview below for Arias’ thoughts on his latest showcase, the feeling of seeing Smith dethrone Bundrage, and what it’s like having Floyd Mayweather as part of his team.
Stepping back into the ring…
“It was good, it was good. Obviously, stepping back in the ring is always a great thing for me, regardless of who it is. It was just a great experience, especially given that this was such a big fight and that my stable mate Ishe was able to fight for the title and he was able to win the title. Starting off for the money team; we were the last four fights. They had us back to back to back. And it was good to just start off with a bang.”
In good fashion…
“The dude obviously didn’t have the skills that I have and I let it be known. Right away, I was quicker than him and stronger. It felt good to get the job done and in good fashion. First off, we were just touching him. I think he wasn’t in shape, he was a little sloppy, so I touched that body. I’ve been telling people that I’m a very good body puncher and I have a style that is suited for the later rounds anyways. I like to wear people down. I was doing that. I wanted to wear him down and I hit him with a body shot. He went down. They gave him a count and he got back up. I went right back after him and hit him with the same shot and ended it.”
Being ringside to watch his friend and stable mate Ishe Smith capture his world title…
“Man, I’m one of the happiest people out here. Obviously, Floyd is out here; I know he’s happy. People don’t realize, when I came to Vegas three years ago, Ishe was the first legit pro that I was able to be around and I was able to spend time with and I was able to talk to. Even back then, I always thought Ishe was really good. I’m real happy for him. I was his chief sparring partner. I saw him work, I saw him grind, and I saw him do it all to take this title. It makes me so happy. He’s a great guy. He may seem like, to some people, that he has an attitude or he’s cocky, but to know Ishe like I got to know him, he’s a really genuine, good guy. And I’m happy God blessed him with such an opportunity and he took full advantage of that.”
Ishe Smith proving to the world…
“As far as him performing the actual fight, we knew it was going to be a rough fight. K9 is just a rough fighter; that’s how he fights. We were talking about it in the gym, technically, my technique is better than K9. And we got him great sparring, because K9 was just a little wild. K9 did what he was supposed to do, which was make it ugly, try to slug with Ishe; he was going to try to rough him up. Ishe did what he was supposed to do. He didn’t take a lot of that punishment on the inside and he boxed him and drowned him. Once K9 started showing signs of fatigue, we jumped on him. All the rounds he won convincingly. I personally didn’t think it was a split-decision, obviously I thought K9 won a couple rounds. But it didn’t matter, because Ishe won at the end of the day. He came and he fought his ass off. He came to K9’s backyard and he proved to the world that he’s someone to watch out for and he deserves to be a champion.”
Having his promoter Floyd Mayweather present and showing support in Detroit and at recent events…
“It’s just great. Because, Floyd is just showing so many faces and different ways of Floyd Mayweather, that it’s crazy to see him. Because, a lot of people just know him as Floyd the fighter. I know him as Floyd the person, Floyd the promoter, Floyd the business man, Floyd the goofy guy. It feels good to get to hang around such a great athlete and just to spend time with him. It just pushes us and we know Floyd is watching. So, you want to be on your Ps and Qs when Floyd is watching. Which is why I’m happy that the two times Floyd has put me up, I was able to perform. We all looked good and we are keeping Floyd Mayweather’s name high. We’re keeping the stable very good. We represent him well and Floyd will tell us that. It’s a great feeling.”