By Keith Idec
Cornelius Bundrage is 17 years older than Jermall Charlo.
The Detroit native made his pro debut when Charlo was just 5 years old, 20 years ago next week. Those unfavorable numbers aren’t the only reasons Ronnie Shields is certain Charlo, the undefeated fighter he trains, will win their 12-round fight Saturday for Bundrage’s IBF junior middleweight championship (NBC; 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT).
“K-9 is a really good fighter,” Shields told BoxingScene.com, referring to Bundrage’s nickname. “You can’t take anything away from him. To become a two-time champion, you have to know how to fight. So we know what’s in front of us. But we just feel that Jermall is younger, he’s got such good skills – the kid can punch with both hands – and we just feel that he’s going to be too much for K-9.”
Bundrage (34-5, 19 KOs, 1 NC) and Houston’s Jermall Charlo (21-0, 16 KOs) were scheduled to fight July 18 in El Paso, Texas, but Bundrage sustained a deep cut over his left eye in sparring, which caused nearly a two-month postponement. The 42-year-old Bundrage hasn’t fought in nearly 11 months, either, not since he travelled to Cancun, Mexico last Oct. 11 and out-pointed Mexican-born Chicago resident Carlos Molina (22-6-2, 6 KOs) to regain the IBF title he lost a year-and-a-half earlier to Ishe Smith (27-7, 12 KOs).
“He is 42 years old, but I don’t know if age is going to be much of a factor in this fight,” Shields said. “I think it’s going to be the skills of Jermall Charlo that are going to be too much for K-9. He has fought some good guys in his career, but I don’t think he has ever faced somebody like Jermall Charlo, a guy who has a great jab and a guy who can really hit you and hurt you with one punch. K-9 hasn’t faced many guys like that before. And the ones that he did face, he lost to them.”
The Bundrage-Charlo clash will be part of a three-fight “PBC On NBC” telecast Saturday from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. Former WBO middleweight champ Peter Quillin (31-0-1, 22 KOs), of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Australia’s Michael Zerafa (17-1, 9 KOs) are scheduled to box in the 10-round, super-middleweight main event.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.