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Interview with Ishe 'Sugar Shay' Smith

Dec 19, 2003  By Ed Ludwig, Picture © Mary Ann Owen
On Thursday January 15, 2004 Ishe Smith (13-0 7 KO’s) will face the toughest challenge of his young career when he faces off against the former two time world champion Randall Bailey (27-3 26 KO’s) for the vacant USBA and WBC Continental Americas Welterweight titles. The bout will be brought to you by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC and it is scheduled to take place from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Ca. This big title clash will headline the next edition of Showtime’s SHOBox: The New Generation. Many boxing insiders see the rising star known as “Sugar Shay” as the prospect of the year in 2003 and I for one share the same sentiment. With three big wins, the most recent coming over previously undefeated David Estrada, capped off a great year for Smith. I briefly spoke with Smith’s manager Mike Levy and he said the Bailey fight is without a doubt a huge step for Smith at this stage of his career, yet with each fight the level of competition has increased and he has rose to the occasion. A victory over Bailey will launch Smith’s career to the next level as he is aiming to be the first Las Vegas born world champion. I would like to thank Ishe Smith for taking the time to speak with Doghouse Boxing.

Ed Ludwig: Randall Bailey is a huge step up for you. I assume you are very confident facing an opponent of this caliber?

Ishe Smith: This is a big step up for me, I am ready and I think everyone is ready for this fight.

Are you concerned about Bailey’s power as he has only gone to the cards once in his twenty seven victories?

I have sparred with a lot of guys who can punch, Vargas is a puncher, De La Hoya is a puncher and Mosley is a puncher and they are all better then him. Bailey is strong and that’s it. He will need more than power. I watched one of his fights on tape and that was enough for me because I know what I have to do.

I know you don’t like to look past what’s in front of you but I was wondering what you are hoping for should you knock off Bailey?

First off, this has been my hardest training camp to date. I have been training for a month now. We have added a strength coach and a dietician. Adding them has been great and I feel I am getting stronger. After I beat Bailey then I will take a little break. I will sit down with my promoter, Gary Shaw and see what we can put together and take it from there. There are a lot of guys I would like to face. Fighting the likes Kermit Cintron, Chris Smith and Anthony Thompson right now would be pointless until they step it up. I would love to fight Cory Spinks, Antonio Margarito or Jose Rivera.

Are you looking at 2004 as the breakout year for you?

I want to clear any doubt as to who is the best prospect in the Welterweight division and after this fight, no more doubters, no more debating. Chris Smith and Kermit Cintron can say what they want but the argument is soon to be over. When I signed with Gary Shaw, my manager Mike Levy told him I want the tough fights. There are a lot of good prospects and contenders and I have worked hard to make myself known. In my mind I know I am the best and if I don’t get recognized for that then it’s okay. I had a good year winning three fights all on television.

What did you think of the piece The Ring magazine did about you in their “New Faces” section in the February 2004 issue?

It was great. I was very happy with the write up and speaking to Joe Santoliquito. Many people got to know the personal side of me. It has been amazing from when I look at myself two years ago and where I am at today. The recognition is great and when I saw Avalino Chavez fight, people would come up to me for an autograph. I am very grateful when I open a magazine or log onto the internet and I get to read about myself. I don’t take it for granted and not all people have this luxury. Speaking with you about my big fight means a lot and something I never take for granted.

Were you surprised with the outcome of the Cory Spinks vs. Ricardo Mayorga fight last weekend?

I was not surprised at all. I wanted Spinks to win. I knew if he didn’t get into a slugfest with Mayorga that he could win. I am very happy he won because I didn’t appreciate the comments made by Mayorga about Cory’s mother. No one should ever speak that way about anyone especially someone who has passed away. I am glad god blessed Cory Spinks with the victory. He fought a smart fight and I wish him all the best.

Going back to Bailey for a moment, what do you think he is expecting from you?

Bailey is basically a guy who can punch. My style changes like the weather. If he is coming into the fight thinking that I am going to do this and that then he is wrong or if he is thinking that I can’t punch he is wrong again. I have had over a hundred fifty fights as an amateur and pro and I have never been stopped or knocked down. I believe I have one of the most durable chins in the world and if Bailey thinks he can knock me out then he has another thing coming. This is my time, I am young, hungry and I’m coming to beat him. It’s my time to shine and get on HBO and I am ready to die if I have too. It will be a war.

Any comments for your fans?

This has been a great camp and I am healthy and in very good shape. I might come across cocky but it is confidence and I hope my fans don’t think I’m cocky when I call out names. I am very humble and competitive and I do not want to give the wrong impression to anyone. Sometimes I get excited and right now I’m focused on Bailey. I hope everyone tunes in for a great fight on January 15th. Watch out for my sparring partner and talented young fighter named Avalino Chavez. I would also like to thank Gary Shaw, Shelly Finkel and Danny Smith.

Thanks for you time Ishe and happy holidays to you and your family.

Thank you and we will talk in the new-year!

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