Ishe Smith staying at 154, talks title reign, return and future UFC run

The now former IBF light-middleweight champion Ishe Smith is still taking stock of what was the greatest year of his career in 2013, even though the likeable American will end it without his coveted title belt.

At 35, Smith is facing up to the challenge of re-building for the future after going down to a split decision defeat to Carlos Molina in his very first defence – just seven months on from his defining night in Detroit against Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage.

Speaking to WBN, ‘Sugar Shay’ admits he does have some regrets about the way he fought Molina on the Mayweather v Canelo undercard, but ultimately has not finished with boxing and plans to get back to the top end of the division quicky. Trainer Eddie Muhammad had fallen ill immediately prior to the Molina clash, leaving Smith in the wrong frame of mind, although the ex-title holder refused to use it as an excuse to the belt changing hands.

“There was just so much going on the day of the fight,” Smith told World Boxing News.

“I mean with Eddie being sick right before, it was just really hard to focus like I should have been. But saying that, I let it slip away and it wasn’t my best performance.

“Neither of us looked great, but to say he came and did enough to take my title is saying a lot.

“No excuses though, the judges felt he did enough so they gave him the decision and my mindset continues to be that I let it slip away at the wrong time.”

After some weeks out of the sport, Smith is now ready to meet with promoter Floyd Mayweather and advisor Leonard Ellerbe to see what could be next, with a return to action mooted for early next year.

“The way things happened against Molina has me anxious to return to the ring ASAP,” said Smith.

“I know how this game works though as I am dangerous and people won’t be knocking at the door to fight me. I will just have to climb and claw my way back to the top.

“Hopefully I will have something in place at the begining of the year. I am with the best team in the business and I am sure they will have me a date real soon.

“Its a tough spot to be in, but I have been here before, even worst than this and I have faith it will all turn out good.

“Right now I am just spending some time with my family and relaxing. I spent the whole summer traning, 18 weeks and I haven’t thought of anyone in particular that I could fight.”

A return to welterweight or a move back up to middleweight has been dismissed by Smith, who intends to keep plugging away at light-middleweight before contemplating a switch in codes towards the end of his time in the ring.

“154 is where I want to be and I will finish my career here. I will try UFC before its all done, but as far as my boxing career goes I will stick at 154.”