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Geoffrey Ciani , 1/24/2011 7:43:10 PM

Cornelius Bundrage appeared on episode 109 of 'On the Ropes Boxing Radio'

by Geoffrey Ciani - This week’s 108th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with IBF junior middleweight champion Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage, who won the title back in August when he stopped Cory Spinks in five rounds. Bundrage spoke about his career, his future, and shared his views on other matters pertaining to the current boxing landscape. Here is some of what he had to say:

On what it meant to him to become champion when he knocked Cory Spinks out last August:

“It was a wonderful feeling. The fight had gotten canceled three times so when I was on my way going into the ring, I couldn’t believe I was actually about to fight for a world title. It was finally going to happen. My dreams were really going to come true. So when I got into the ring I had to say ‘Hey, you got to be ready to fight man! Wake up!’ I didn’t want to think that I was still at home and end up losing the fight, so I had to wake myself up going to the ring because it was going to happen. It was actually going to happen.”

On what it is like working with Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward:

“I mean hands down he’s the best trainer and one of the best managers of all-time. You can’t lose with having Emanuel Steward in your corner. I mean look at what he has done. I mean it’s a blessing to have the best trainer and the best manager in my own backyard. He’s actually in Detroit and from Detroit. It’s a blessing to work with him. When he tells you something you know to do it because he has had like 100,000 champions. So when he tells you, you better listen to him because you know he knows what he’s talking about as opposed to someone who is in your corner and never did anything. When he told me to go ahead and go get him, he let me off the chain and I went to go get him, unleashed.”

On whether or not we have seen the best of him or if the best is yet to come:

“Oh listen, trust me when I tell you, you ain’t seen nothing here. The best is yet to come! I’m a young 37. Like Emanuel was telling me, I didn’t have a whole lot of amateur fights where I got burnt out. A lot of guys who had a lot of amateur fights, when they go pro they’re burnt out. Look at a lot the Columbians. You go pro and you’ll be burnt out. They keep on trying to win the Olympics. I’m fresh! I’ve been in like maybe one or two wars and that’s it. I mean you look at some of these fighters, at 31 or 32 they’re done. I’m 37 and fresh. I’m good. I’m ready.”

On his experiences and involvement with ‘The Contender’ series:

“That was a real, real good experience. I mean when I was actually on the show I was relying to so much on what they were going to do for me, so when I was actually on the show and that lady Michelle McNulty called me into the dressing room and she said, ‘Congratulations, you made it!’ She said I made it on the show and didn’t even have to go through the tryouts and I couldn’t believe it. I went back to my room and couldn’t wait to go to sleep to wake up to see if it was even real and if I was really on the show. I got the chance to hang out with Sugar Ray Leonard. I got a chance to see something I thought I would never see. It was a blessing. People knew who I was all over the world. I went as far as the UK and the crowd was going, ‘Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf!’ They were barking for me! I couldn’t believe they knew who I was, everywhere I go all around the world. From the hood to Hollywood, I became an instant broke celebrity.”

On whether he felt the need to prove himself in ‘The Contender’ following his first round knockout loss to Sechew Powell:

“You know what, that was a blessing. It was a blessing. At first I was thinking the show was tape delayed and they’re going to be laughing at me all around the world. Then a scripture popped in my head. I remember reading a scripture by Matthew where God said ‘The first should be last and the last should be first’. So instantly I was like oh yeah, I’m straight. The first should be last and the last should be first. I didn’t know what was going to happen but I knew I had to keep God first and that whether I won or lost, that I would be okay. The next thing you know, Michael Clark was on his back and I won the first fight. From then on out I made the show. As far as losing my first fight, it was truly a blessing because it let me know I had to take boxing seriously. I had to get better. I couldn’t just be relying on my strength and I couldn’t be just trying to intimidate guys. It actually helped me a whole lot. It made me the fighter I am today.”

On what he learned from losing a five round decision to Steve Forbes in ‘The Contender’ Finals:

“Well, I learned that with God all things are possible and with one door closed another door opens up. I just took it and ran with it. I just didn’t feel like it was my time and that’s why I lost that fight. It was up to God. It could have went either way. It could have went to him. It could have went to me and it went to him. So I just took it and shook it. Now I’m cut up and ready for the world. I just learned from it and I just continue to get better. Now I’m a world champion. If you look up now, there are a lot of guys that beat me. They’re looking at me now saying, ‘Wow, this guy’s a world champion’. On season two of ‘The Contender’, those guys I wish them the best, but I’m the only guy like I said, the first should be last the last should be first, that’s a world champion now.”

On how disappointed he is to not be a part of the big card in Detroit featuring the junior welterweight unification bout between Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander:

“Man, it’s pain and suffering to not be on that card, and I’m a local celebrity. Before ‘The Contender’ people knew who I was. Now I’m a world champion and it’s my hometown and I’m not on the card! I’m mad as I don’t know what. You call me ‘Mad Dog’ because it doesn’t make any sense. I mean I’m promoted by the Hall of Fame probably the greatest promoter of all-time, Don King. He’s throwing a show and I’m not on the card. I’m the IBF world champion. I was good enough to fight in Alexander’s hometown with Cory Spinks on his undercard, but then I won that belt and I came home and I can’t fight on his undercard in my hometown. It’s a black eye. It’s pain and suffering. I mean I don’t understand. Why promote me if you’re not going to put me on the show? I’m not trying to be on the shelf. I’ve been on the shelf long enough. The people need to see the best of K9 and I got a lot left. If I’m not fighting how can they see it? It’s not because I don’t want to fight. I want to fight everyday if I can. I’m ready man. Believe me. I’m ready.”

His views on fellow Emanuel Steward-trained fighters Andy Lee and and Domonique Dolton:

“Man, I would say Kronk back then when you had tommy Hearns and y ou had Milton McCrory the stable was just awesome, and even to this day the stable is awesome. We have an awesome team and there is a lot of up and coming guys. It’s just that time is everything. It’s about the time. Andy Lee in time, which won’t be long, he’ll be a world champion and the same thing with Domonique. You got some of the best fighters in the world right here in Detroit, Michigan. Sparring with Andy Lee getting ready for Cory Spinks, when I got in there with Cory Spinks he was nothing because I was sparring with this guy. He is taller. He’s athletic. He’s sharp. I mean this guy’s going to be a champion real soon. I mean that was a fluke. That loss he had was a fluke. Believe me when I tell you that boy can fight. He’s no joke. Domonique is super sharp, super sharp. They call him 3-D. You know what I’m saying. There are a lot of up and coming guys. I mean even Erick DeLeon. Erick DeLeon, he’s from the Kronk Gym and he passed Oscar De La Hoya’s record with national wins. I mean we got a lot of good talent coming up. Believe me when I tell you, we’re getting ready. So I don’t really have to go out to camp. My last fight getting ready for Cory Spinks, I went to camp like the first two times. I went to the Cotto camp in Florida and then I went to another camp. But at home the last time getting ready for the fight, I didn’t have to go to camp. I was right there sparring with Domonique. He went southpaw, and I was sparring with Andy Lee to get me ready. I don’t have to go to camp. When I say ‘camp’ I mean out of town. We got the best fighters in the world in Detroit, Michigan. You already know the history—Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, come on now, Tommy Hearns, Bernard Mays. You don’t even know about Bernard Mays, and K9—Arf! Arf! Arf!—the dog is coming, for real.”

On whether he believes a fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will ever happen:

“To be honest with you, I don’t think that fight is ever going to actually take place because Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to me, it’s like they’re playing tug-of-war. Floyd don’t need Manny Pacquiao and Manny Pacquiao don’t need Floyd. Floyd wants Manny Pacquiao to take a test and Manny Pacquiao is saying I don’t have to take no test. So I really don’t think it’s going to happen. Manny Pacquiao, if he keeps fighting these big guys who knows how long he’s going to continue to win. All it takes is one loss and the fight ain’t worth nothing anymore. I believe that’s the reason why I’m not getting a fight like that, because there is so much money invested in that, that they can’t take any chances on losing to a guy like me because it will take a lot of money out of the pockets of the fighters and the networks. So it doesn’t make any sense. If they’re the best then fight the best. I’m one of the best right now. I’m willing to fight whoever. I was supposed to get into a fight with Cotto. I would have recommended that fight. I would love to have that fight. Cotto’s a good guy and everything but this is business. I got to feed my family. I was happy the other day that Emanuel told me he would just eat some popcorn with a Coke and a smile and watch the fight because he trains Cotto and he manages me. Afterwards he will continue to train Cotto and he will continue to manage me, but I recommend all of the challenges. I just want it to make sense. Boxing is a business. One of the reasons I have a lot of respect for Floyd is because if he was losing or he lost a fight, promoters and managers they’d get rid of him. So he’s doing what he wants to do. Look at me. I’m a world champion and it’s like people don’t even know. It’s like I don’t even exist. I heard that the odds for me beating Cory Spinks were 42 to 1. I couldn’t believe that, 42 to 1. So why am I not the Fighter of the Year in 2010 if I beat a guy and the odds were 42 to 1? That kind of reminds me of the Buster Douglas-Mike Tyson fight. It shocked the world and was the news of the town. When I beat Cory Spinks the son of a legend, when I beat someone it’s always the guy wasn’t ready, or the guy’s not training the same, or he’s doing this. Come on now, give credit where credit is due.”

On whether he believes he would match-up well against someone like Manny Pacquiao:

“Let me tell you something. Styles make fights. Manny Pacquiao is a good fighter but he don’t want to see the dog. I would destroy Manny Pacquiao. He’s a good fighter and people are going to say, ‘Yeah right! He said he would destroy Manny Pacquiao!’ Trust me styles make fights. If you all would have seen what I did to Cory Spinks you would all know what’s going to happen to Manny Pacquiao. He’s a little guy. Pacquiao’s too little to step up there with the style that I have. I would control him. I would outmuscle him. I would hit him everywhere. I would hit him in the arms, and in the stomach, and inthe chin. He wouldn’t be able to deal with me. He felt the power with Margarito and Margarito doesn’t have the speed I got. He doesn’t have the power I got. Those guys, they’re doing the right thing. The promoters are doing a good job with him and I can’t be mad that they’re not giving me any opportunities because it’s a risk. It’s a big risk.”

On how he would sum his career up in a single word:

“Wow! That’s it. The word would have to be ‘wow!’ My career is like ‘wow’. There was a song a long time ago called like ‘whoa’. Well my career is like ‘wow!’ you know what I mean, because wow! He lost the fight. Wow! He came back and won a bigger fight. He was on ‘The Contender’ and they said he wasn’t going to do anything. Wow! He won a bronze medal. Wow! He was the last win picked and the first one to win. Wow! He came from the hood and went all the way to Hollywood and did something when the odds were against him. Wow! He’s one of the best fighters in the world right now and we don’t recognize that. Wow! He’s a Don King fighter and he’s not fighting in his hometown and he’s a world champion. Wow! I mean I would have to describe my career as ‘wow’. What’s next? Wow! We don’t know.”


For those interested in listening to the Cornelius Bundrage interview in its entirety, it begins approximately twenty-three minutes into the program.


This article also appears on East Side Boxing

Contact the author at .

About the author: Geoffrey Salvatore Ciani shall someday name his first-born son “Santino” because he fancies the name “Santino Ciani”.

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