If you were on the first season of The Contender, got eliminated early, and left a trail of enemies in your wake, you might get to fight the same night as Sergio Mora and Alfonso Gomez recently did, but you wouldn’t be showcased on Friday Night Fights with them. Rather, you’d end on the Spanish TV (Telefutura), even if you’re an African-American who wouldn’t know it if the commentators were talking smack about your mama. In other words, you’d be Ishe “Sugar Shay” Smith.
But don’t feel sorry for the usually glum Smith. He’s not doing that bad. Golden Boy Promotions recently signed the jnr. middle and the in-demand John David Jackson works his corner. He also improved to 18-1 (8) in stopping late replacement Oscar Gonzalez in two lopsided rounds (TKO 2 at 2:55).
Gonzalez, now 9-7-1 (3), is a mediocre opponent who apparently let too much dust settle on his Abs of Steel tape. Sensing this, Smith wasted little time exploiting Gonzalez’s shortcomings. He dug left hooks to the body repeatedly in the first. Gonzalez didn’t like it.
Smith, a stylish sharpshooter who often holds his left low and blocks with his right à la Floyd Mayweather Jnr., opened the second with hooks upstairs. When the hands went up, the body attack resumed. (One thing Smith does as well as anyone is stick a quick body shot at the end of a combination. It was a pleasure to take in, unless you were Gonzalez.)
Sometimes he let Gonzalez in close and swiveled his torso to create angles. He didn’t establish much of a jab, preferring to paw with it. It was like watching a cat toy with a mouse. Against a certain level of opposition, this schtick works splendidly. Try it with Kassim Ouma and he’ll get burned in seconds. But until he goes through a hell like that, why not be cute?
Midway through the round a right uppercut to the body put Gonzalez down. 30 seconds later another shot sent him horizontal; a left hook to the body set up by a combo up top. Gonzalez looked like he was going to take the whole ten, but quickly stood at eight.
There wasn’t much time left, but a right downstairs and a chopping one to the head closed the show. Gonzalez, conscious, took a knee. The ref had seen enough, though.
Smith has beaten some decent names—David Estrada, Sam Garr, Randall Bailey, and few from The Contender—and will likely get a shot a title shot someday. I’m not sold on him, however, and don’t know if it’s based on what I’ve seen in the ring or out of it. Admittedly, it’d be unfair if it’s the latter, because The Contender’s negative portrayal of him could easily have been doctored.
The WBC #5 ranked featherweight Martin Honorio won a UD over Baudel Cardenas. Scores were 95-93, 97-91 and 95-91. With the win Honorio moved to 22-3-1 (12) and Cardenas dropped to 14-6-2 (5).
Honorio got off to an early lead, flooring Cardenas twice in the first with left crosses, and once more with a counter left as the bell ending the third. Cardenas got some payback in the fourth, scoring a knockdown (which, revealed in the replay, didn’t actually connect).
Cardenas had more in the tank for the final four rounds. He marched forward and even buckled a spent Honorio in the ninth. One of the TV commentators had the fight a draw.
Puerto Rican cruiserweight Francisco Palacios moved to 9-0 (4), taking a UD over San Diego’s Carlos Ibarra. Scores of this six-rounder were 58-55 and 58-56 (twice). Ibarra, now 5-1-1, should have been awarded at least a draw.