On Saturday, February 23, world championship boxing returns to the Motor City when Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions present an evening of world championship action at The Masonic Temple Theatre which will feature Three-Time and Two-Division World Champion Devon Alexander “The Great” defending his IBF Welterweight World Championship against British star and number one rated IBF welterweight contender Kell Brook in a fight that will be televised live on SHOWTIME.
The fight has been set for quite some time, but right here you can find all of the presser notes, photos and quotes, as the final site and venue have just been determined.
The co-main event will see Detroit’s own Cornelius “K9” Bundrage defending his IBF Junior Middleweight World Championship against Las Vegas’ Ishe “Sugar Shay” Smith.
Also featured will be an all-Michigan battle as unbeaten Detroit prospect J’Leon Love takes on former World Champion Bronco McKart of Monroe in a 10-round middleweight bout which will be televised live on SHOWTIME EXTREME.
“2013 is going to be a big year for my career and I’m going to get it started right in an exciting fashion against Kell Brook,” said Alexander. “I worked extremely hard to win my title and I’m not giving it away to anyone. This will be a statement-making fight for me.”
“This is the biggest night of my life,” said Brook.
“When I turned up at the Wincobank Gym in Sheffield as a nine year old, this was what I dreamed about – boxing for a world title and on February 23, I’ll turn that dream into a reality. I’m in the best physical shape of my life and the best ever Kell Brook will be in the ring in Detroit and there’s no way that I am coming home without that world title. This is my destiny, it’s just meant to be and there’s nothing Devon Alexander can do to stop me.”
“I thank my Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing me to be able to defend my title right here in Detroit, in front of all of my family and friends,” said Bundrage.
“It’s an honor to be able to bring world championship boxing back to the city of Detroit. I always train hard and am prepared for what my opponent might show me in the ring. No man can close doors that God has opened. Nothing will be different this time and it will be a special night of boxing for everyone. I will be victorious February 23 in Jesus’ name.”
“I want to thank Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions for believing in me and my boxing talents and helping make this dream to fight K9 [Bundrage] for his title a reality,” said Smith.
“I know he’ll have the hometown advantage, but I’m not worried about that. I’m preparing for the fight of my life and I feel confident that I’ll beat him and become the new champion.”
“It feels great to be able to fight in Detroit, my hometown and the place where I learned how to fight,” said Love.
“I’m excited to show everyone that I’m on the road to a championship and nothing will stop me from achieving my lifelong dream. Training and working with Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions in Las Vegas has given me another level of appreciation for hard work and determination.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity to fight in Detroit one more time,” said McKart.
“I’ve had a long and great career and still feel comfortable fighting for pride and glory. J’Leon Love is a young and exciting fighter from this area too, but I feel that my experience will be too much for him to handle and that I’ll be victorious on February 23. I hope everyone in and around Detroit will come out and support this great night of boxing.”
“Devon Alexander and Kell Brook have been waiting to take care of business in the ring and we’re going to the fighting city of Detroit for them to settle the score in one of the biggest fights of early 2013,” said President of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya.
“Plus, Detroit’s own ‘K9’ Bundrage is back in his hometown to take on longtime contender Ishe Smith in an important showdown for both men. We also have ‘The Battle for Michigan’ when J’Leon Love takes on his toughest test to date in Bronco McKart. It’s a can’t miss night for Detroit sports fans”
“This is an exciting opportunity for Mayweather Promotions and everyone knows Floyd Mayweather is from the great state of Michigan too,” said CEO of Mayweather Promotions, Leonard Ellerbe.
“Detroit is tremendously important to boxing and we are excited to add to its history on February 23. In addition we feel extremely confident that our fighters, Ishe Smith and J’Leon Love, another Michigan man, will come away with victories, setting them both up for much bigger things in the near future.”
“Boxing fans are in for a real treat when Devon and Kell meet as they are two of the best 147 pounders in the business,” said Eddie Hearn Managing Director of Matchroom Boxing.
“Kell Brook is a special talent and has dreamt about this moment since he first laced up those gloves. He has trained like a man possessed and he is coming to America to make a huge statement and bring that title back to Britain.”
“We are looking forward to another great night of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING featuring two world title fights in the boxing-rich city of Detroit,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports.
“The event will showcase one of the most talented 147-pound fighters in the world, Devon Alexander, and the U.S. television debut of U.K. star Kell Brook as well as exciting undercard action.”
Full Quotes Round-Up
Cornelius “K9” Bundrage, IBF Junior Middleweight World Champion
“When it was time to decide who I was going to fight, I went to Golden Boy [Promotions] and they presented me with several fighter names. They mentioned James Kirkland, Alfredo Angulo and Ishe Smith. It was special with Ishe because not only did they say I could fight him, but they said I could fight him in Detroit. That was an easy decision for me to make and now we are here.
“Not only am I getting paid, but I am getting paid to fight right here in Detroit. How great is that?
“I had to look up Ishe Smith and guess what, he has some flaws. I won’t really say much about that because I’m not that type of guy. The closer it gets to a fight, the less I talk and by fight week, I barely say a word.
“I see him as a good opponent for me. I never look to fight bums. I always want to fight the best. I am a dog in that ring and trust me when I say I’m coming to bring it.
“I feel like a little Mike Tyson. I am coming to get it. When I was in the hood, I used to take from people. On February 23, he won’t be taking anything from me.”
Ishe Smith, Junior Middleweight Contender
“I know I’m not the fan favorite in Detroit. One thing I’ve learned throughout my boxing career is that haters come with the territory. It’s something you deal with and keep on moving.
“I want to thank Leonard Ellerbe for getting me to this point. I’ve had a roller coaster career and now I’m here. I hadn’t fought in 18 months and Leonard called me and said he was working on something big. Then he called and told me what he and Floyd [Mayweather] worked out. I couldn’t believe it.
“Floyd called me too and said, ‘we got it.’ I’m overwhelmed and am going to leave it all in the ring that night. I owe it all to them to make this happen.
“I owe a lot to Floyd. When he was incarcerated, he sent me a letter telling me to hold it down, he was going to take care of me and not let me down. Now here I am fighting for a world title.
“When you box for a living, you have to get in there, fight and may the best man win. I’m a Christian that believes in free will. It’s my choice to make the most of the situation and do whatever I have to do. I believe and have faith that on February 23, I’ll leave the ring victorious.
“I’m also doing something special for the [families affected by the] Newtown, Conn. tragedy. I have two kids, a son and a daughter, that I was taking to school the morning of that awful incident.
“When I first heard about the shooting, I thought it was another high school situation. Then I heard about those poor little kids. It broke my heart and I started crying just thinking about if those were my kids. So we are making t-shirts for this fight and are going to sell them to honor those kids. All of the money is going to be given to a charity supporting the families and the town.”
J’Leon Love, Undefeated Detroit Prospect
“It will be great to fight in the city of Detroit, my hometown and the place I love so much.
“I believe in God and that’s who I am. Whatever happens is going to happen and that goes for February 23 too.
“I wanted to fight Bronco when I heard we could make the fight. I’m a young fighter on my way up and he is a great veteran of the sport.
“I appreciate all that Leonard Ellerbe is doing to help make my dreams come true. He works really hard on my behalf and it’s a blessing. Just training and being around Floyd Mayweather, my trainer Roger Mayweather and the whole team has been a great experience for me.
“I’m going back to Vegas this afternoon and will be back in the gym tomorrow. I’ll be ready to fight and come February 23, me and my team will all be 15-0.”
Bronco McKart, Former WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion
“This is my twenty-first year as a fighter and I still love the sport. It’s my life and I’m honored to be on the card that brings world championship boxing to the great state of Michigan.
“This city, Detroit, deserves this fight night and this fight too.
“I like J’Leon. I think he is a great young fighter, but come February 23, we are going to get in the ring, do business and see what happens.
“The only thing I turn down is my bed sheets. This is a great opportunity for me. I stay in the gym and lead a very clean lifestyle so young fighters aren’t a problem [for me].
“I know in a couple of years from now I’ll get to say, ‘There is J’Leon [Love], the great middleweight champion of the world…and I beat him!'”
David Itskowitch, COO of Golden Boy Promotions
“On behalf of Golden Boy Promotions we are excited to be here in Detroit where boxing has such a great history. It’s going to be a great show, tickets went on sale today and everyone should come out and enjoy this fantastic night of boxing featuring a great champion in Detroit’s own ‘K9’ Bundrage and the all-Michigan fight between J’Leon Love and Bronco McKart.
“The fight at the Masonic Temple will be historic too. This building is amazing and we look forward to working with everyone here to make this a great night for boxing and Detroit.
“Tickets are priced starting at just $25. To get to see two world championship fights for $25 is an unbelievable deal.”
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“On behalf of Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions, I want to thank everyone for coming out today and supporting this fight. Who doesn’t know about the history of Detroit boxing and the champions who have come from here and the state including Floyd?
“We’re so excited to bring you this big event. Floyd will be here as he took a special interest in making this happen. Not just for our fighters, Ishe Smith and J’Leon Love, but for every fight fan and sports fan in and around the area.
“We want to thank the MGM too for supporting these efforts. We are looking forward to a great night and feel confident in the ability of our two guys.”
This exciting evening of world championship boxing is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions in association with Matchroom Boxing. The telecast begins at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT with preliminary fights to air live on SHOWTIME Extreme at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT. Tickets priced at $200, $125, $100, $75, $50 and $25 are on sale now and are available for purchase at the Masonic Temple box office and online at www.ticketmaster.com.