By Jake Donovan
Jermall Charlo gets his long-awaited shot at a super welterweight title, and does so against Cornelius Bundrage, who managed to jump him in line and claim his second title in the process.
The two will collide Saturday afternoon at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. NBC will air live as part of the ongoing
Premier Boxing Champions
Bundrage (34-5, 19KOs) may go by 'K9', but has been more cat-like in the nine lives that seems to come with his career. The squat boxer from Detroit overcame a knockout loss early in his career to make a run on the now-defunct boxing reality series, 'The Contender.'
From there came his march towards his first super welterweight title, boldly marching into Cory Spinks' hometown of St. Louis and knocking him out in their first fight in Aug. '10. Ring activity has plagued his career (as is the case with most Don King-promoted fighters in the 21st Century), with a 2 1/2-year title reign featuring just two successful defenses before dropping a 12-round decision to Ishe Smith at home in Feb. '13.
Another title opportunity came about last October, with Bundrage once again heading into hostile territory in his 12-round win over Carlos Molina in Mexico.
The fight came about when Molina was arrested just days before a planned defense versus Charlo (21-0, 16KOs) last March. The fight was canceled and never rescheduled, with Charlo—whose twin brother Jermell is also a super welterweight contender—left to settle for table scraps while awaiting his title shot.
The unbeaten puncher from Houston has fought and won four times since the Molina fight fell through, including a 10-round win over Michael Finney in March.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS:
CORNELIUS BUNDRAGE vs. JERMALL CHARLO
Shaun Brown (Charlo UD12):
It looks like it's set up for Charlo to become champion but I think he's in for a gruelling night's work. I still expect the 25-year-old to triumph over the 42-year-old.
Ryan Burton (Charlo UD):
I think K9 puts on one of his best performances in years but the younger and fresher Charlo edges him on points in a closer than expected fight.
Jake Donovan (Charlo Dec.):
Very tempted to pick the upset—which would be for Bundrage to defend his tite. Charlo survives the toughest test of his young career to escape with a debatable decision.
Peter Lim (Charlo KO7):
Charlo predicted a decision victory in The Houston Chronicle but he has underestimated how perfectly his size and skill set will work against Bundrage's shortfalls. Charlo's stiff, long jab will pierce through Bundrage's defense and power punches will follow. Bundrage will be a beaten fighter by the middle rounds and Charlo will close the show in the seventh round.
Takahiro Onaga (Charlo TKO9):
Charlo stops Bundrage and puts us out of our misery late
Cliff Rold (Charlo KO):
Anyone who saw him on Contender would be shocked at how long Bundrage has hung around. That comes to an end here. Charlie should dominate once he figures out the awkward K9.
Reynaldo Sanchez (Charlo late TKO):
The time of Bundrage has come and gone. Charlo has everything going for him to achieve a comprehensive victory. Charlo is skilful and young and can put in trouble Bundrage in the later rounds.
Alexey Sukachev (Charlo UD12):
It won't be easy but 42-year old K9 cannot last forever. Charlo has his flaws but he is skilled enough to match Bundrage at lower tempo and fresh enough to make it hard for the veteran at higher paces. This rhythm will lead to Bundrage losing the closing rounds and a fight.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com.
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