By Chris Robinson
On June 25th, junior middleweight contender Sechew Powell made a bid for his first world title when he met IBF champion Cornelius ‘K-9’ Bundrage for a second time. Powell had stopped Bundrage in eighteen harrowing seconds six years ago, a fight in which the two men traded knockdowns in the opening seconds before Powell would rise to ice Bundrage off with a straight left hand, and there was no reason to think he wouldn’t have success in the rematch.
But on this night in St. Louis, Powell’s date with Bundrage played out much differently over the course of twelve rounds. Despite having his moments in the first half of the fight, Powell appeared to fade in the championship rounds and tasted a bitter defeat as he lost by scores of 119-109, 117-111, and 115-113.
Having suffered his third loss as a professional and having just turned 32 years old, it was hard to get a gauge on where Powell’s mindset was after the fight. Speaking to me earlier this week, the Brooklyn fighter admitted that in some ways he was still trying to shake off the disappointment.
“I’m just rebounding from my loss,” Powell would say. “Losing wasn’t a part of the plan so I’m just still rebounding. No excuses, it just wasn’t my night. ‘K-9’ did nothing of any real consequence to win the fight; it was more of what I did not do. I did not execute, I did not get busy like I was supposed to, and he was just right there to benefit from me not doing it.”
But, just as soon as Powell opened up our conversation with a somber tone, so too did the energy in his voice pick up. Speaking from the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, Nevada after another workout, Powell elaborated on his main purpose while in Sin City; his duties as a sparring partner for Floyd Mayweather Jr. as the undefeated star prepares for his September 17th date against WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz.
“It’s given me a lot of confidence,” said Powell of his work with Mayweather. “I didn’t even realize how effective I could be in and around this division until I got in the ring with him. I was able to feel comfortable with him and just being here has given me so much inspiration. I can’t wait to get back out there.”
Powell has faced of bevy of talented pugs during his extensive amateur career and nine-year professional trek yet it goes without saying that Mayweather Jr. is a rarity. Yet just as Powell is quick to give Floyd respect, so too do his words show the mindset of a fighter who is far from your typical sparring partner.
“He’s very fast,” Powell coined of Mayweather. “He’s a smart fighter. He has good footwork, but I feel good in there against him. I feel like I am able to land my punches against him. A lot of people have a hard time finding him but I was able to find him. It was insuring for me. The work is so even, in my opinion, that it really gives me this encouragement to do what I have to do.”
Powell’s prediction for September 17th?
“I can’t see Ortiz winning the fight but a fight is a fight. If I had to go with somebody I’m going with Floyd. I think he’s in great shape, has too much hand speed, and just overall too much for the younger fighter,” he continued.
It was good speaking with Powell, even if for only a few minutes, and I have a strong feeling his story is far from over. Other news with the talented southpaw includes his relationship with a new promoter, Don King Productions, and he seems elated as to what the future holds.
“He acquired my contract and I must say I am very glad to be with Don. Especially coming from the situation I was in with Warriors [Boxing Promotions]. Being with Don is very beneficial. I’m able to stay in the rankings coming off of that fight. I don’t know if it has to do with Don or just my reputation in this division, but I’m excited about working with him.”