, one man has seemingly been showcased on the last three episodes of NBC's "The Contender". Fans have witnessed many strugles and heated exchanges from welterweight prospect turned middleweight contender "Sugar Shay" Ishe Smith. Last Sunday in the season's third episode, Smith, 15-0, scored a unanimous 5-round decision over the boxer he targeted with verbal assaults, Ahmed Kaddour, who himself was hell-bent on making Smith's time on the show miserable.
The win moved him into the elite eight along with headlines among entertainment's biggest names. "Howard Stern was talking about me, as was Regis and Kelly," Smith told TalkingBoxing.com.
Boxing fans knew about Smith's talent before "The Contender", racking up a 14 wins along with a decision win over Randall Bailey at welterweight, but this show is making a star out of the the 26-year old from Las Vegas. "It is going to allow me and other fighters to get endorsements," Smith said.
So can "Sugar Shay" still make 147, a weight he fought at before having to fight at the show's limit of 158? "There are some big fights out there for me," Smith said. "Right now I don’t think I can make 147, but there are a lot of big fights out there at 154 and 160, a lot of possibilities." Read on for more on Ishe Smith.
"SUGAR SHAY" ISHE SMITH
Julius Stecker: How is everything going man, long time no talk to?
Ishe Smith: Everything has been going excellent. It has been different since the show started.
Julius Stecker: So have you been still training?
Ishe Smith: Oh yes I have been still training, and staying in shape.
Julius Stecker: Man you have basically become the star of the Show, how does that make you feel?
Ishe Smith: It feels good, God has truly blessed me; there were a lot people out there who said I would never be anything. So it makes me feel good to go out there and do what I do best.
"it makes me feel good to go out there and do what I do best"
Julius Stecker: What do you think the show will do for your career?
Ishe Smith: I think the part that is going to help, is it is going to allow me and other fighters to get endorsements. Today Howard Stern was talking about me, as was Regis and Kelly. Now they are not talking about Bernard Hopkins or Winky Wright. But that is not to say they aren’t great fighters, because they are great fighters. And people should be talking about them. But what this show is going to do is bring greater attention to all fighters…I just feel real great about boxing right now.
Julius Stecker: Tell us about your relationships with the Fighters on the Show.
Ishe Smith: They were my comrades; I have nothing but respect for them. I appreciate every last one those guys.
Julius Stecker: What about your future plans after the show, what are you looking to accomplish?
Ishe Smith: You know what, when the time is right I am going to sit down with my team and discuss that. There are some big fights out there for me. Right now I don’t think I can make 147, but there are a lot of big fights out there at 154 and 160, a lot of possibilities.
Julius Stecker: Before this show, you were fighting at 147, but the weight limit for this show is 158, and you are required to fight bigger guys, so do you think this experience of fighting bigger guys has helped you?
Ishe Smith: I think it has helped me in good way. Fighting these bigger guys helped.
Julius Stecker: You mentioned you don’t think you can make 147, but is it still a possibility?
Ishe Smith: There are a lot of possibilities, right now I will probably fight at 160, maybe 154, but maybe I will hire a nutritionist and be able to get back down to 147.
Julius Stecker: You are Sugar Shay Smith, so what was it like to be around the great Sugar Ray Leonard for an extended period of time?
Ishe Smith: It was awesome. It was a great experience to be around a legend like him, and it was a great experience for all of us.
Julius Stecker: Why was the Experience of being on this Show so Great?
Ishe Smith: I mean, for example, I went to the mall today to pick up my wife and people recognized and acknowledge who I was. And if you look at a guy like Jonathan Reid, more people know about him now then who know about a great fighter like Winky Wright. It was just awesome for all of us guys.
Julius Stecker: So how would you compare this show to Oscar De La Hoya’s Next Great Champ?
Ishe Smith: That show was just terrible. To put it lightly their show was Beta while ours is DVD. I remember when they put that show on before ours, even before we saw our show. I watched it, and it was like ‘Wow’ that show was so bad. There is no comparison at all.
Julius Stecker: What was your opinion of the East-West competition portions of the Show, did you think they hindered you and other fighters?
Ishe Smith: You know it kind of hindered you, because it wasn’t conventional boxing training. But if you look at it really, it can’t hinder you, it just leveled the playing field. But I realized I was a part of something big, where else I am going to be seen in front of 10 million people.
Julius Stecker: In closing this short interview Ishe, what do you have to say to fight fans out there and to your fans?
"right now I am in the middle of my prime, and my best years are in front of me"
Ishe Smith: I am looking to transcend the sport. My faith in God is in impeccable. And right now I am in the middle of my prime, and my best years are in front of me. I am looking forward to getting back in ring. I look at fights like Kassim Ouma- Kofi Jantuah, and I just get amped up.
I would also like to thank all of my fans and I want to thank them for all of their support.
Julius Stecker: Before you head out I have to get your predictions on a couple of fights, what do you think about Pacquiao-Morales?
Ishe Smith: That is going to be Fire…Fight of the Year.
Julius Stecker: What about 2 guys you are pretty familiar with, who wins Shane Mosley or David Estrada in their upcoming Welterweight fight?
Ishe Smith: I think the early rounds will go for Shane, but after that I like Estrada. I mean you look at Shane, what is his record in his last 6 fights? He lost to Forrest twice and he lost to Winky twice. So I like Estrada, and with 9-1 odds you have to pick Estrada.
Julius Stecker: Thank you for your time Ishe.
Ishe Smith: Thank you and God Bless