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Cornelius "K9" Bundrage-Late Glory


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Cornelius Bundrage became a world champion late in his career, 15 years after turning pro. At 5'6 (168 cm) he is one of the shortest world champs at 154 or light middleweight. Bundrage was a dangerous puncher and a true warrior in the ring, who upset then-still highly rated Cory Spinks to win the IBF belt in 2010. He also holds win over Kassim Ouma, Zaurbek Baysangurov, Sechew Powell and Carlos Molina. He won the IBF title twice but the second time he held it less than a year and brutally lost it to then-young contender Jermall Charlo. After that, his career wouldn't last long. He also became famous due to taking part in "The Contender" series in 2006. 

The guy with the unusual name was born 25 April 1973 in Detroit, Michigan. Despite standing only 5'6, he has an unusually long reach of 72" or 183 cm! Starting out of the Kronk Gym, he was trained by Javan "Sugar" Hill, the nephew of Emmanuel Steward-yes, the same guy who trained Tyson Fury. He turned pro in September 1995, aged 22, and was undefeated in his first 21 fights, also winning the UBA Intercontinental title in the 21st one by stopping Jonathan Corn by TKO2. On 6 May 2005 was his next fight, against fellow undefeated contender Sechew Powell. It was a freak fight which ended in only 22 seconds, as both guys went down at once in the opening round. As they quickly got up, Bundrage was again put down. Although he once again made it to his feet in time, he stumbled around the ring and the fight was stopped. It was one of the shortest fights between two undefeated top fighters. After this embarrassingly quick loss, Bundrage entered "The Contender" season 2, where he first beat Michael Clark by MD5 and then Walter Wright by UD5, before losing to Steve Forbes by UD5 and hence getting eliminated from the tournament. 

He came back by stopping Norberto Bravo by TKO7, and after two more wins, he was matched against a hot prospect, the hard-punching Joel Julio of Colombia. Julio was 31-1, that one loss coming on points to the more clever Carlos Quintana. The fight was at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, 11 July 2007 and it was a competitive fight, but Bundrage went down in the third round after his left knee touched the canvas following a barrage by Julio. He made it out of the round and came back, but in round 8 he was again down from an overhand right. Although he made it to his feet, he was shortly thereafter stopped on the ropes. On 28 March next year, he fought the former IBF-champion Kassim Ouma of Uganda and beat him by an unanimous decision. However, in his next fight against the cagey Grady Brewer, he surprisingly lost by SD10, after being down in round 3 and losing two points, for holding and hitting on a break. Without the deductions and the knockdown, Bundrage would've gotten the SD. He then went to Germany in December to fight the 19-0 Zaurbek Baysangurov of Russia, a new hot prospect who would later win the WBO title. Bundrage was expected to be a pushover, but in round 5 he connected with the perfect right hook to the chin which put the Russian down and out.

This huge upset win landed him first a fight for the IBF eliminator against Yuri Foreman, however that ended in a no-contest after 3 rounds after an unintentional butt cut Foreman too badly. K9 then finally got to fight for the IBF title against Cory Spinks, the former undisputed welter champion. The fight was in Spinks' hometown of St. Louis, 7 August 2010 and Bundrage the underdog produced yet another great upset victory when he stopped Spinks (taller by 3 inches and slicker) by TKO5 after dominating the fight and landing heavy shots in each round. In his first defense, he avenged the loss to Sechew Powell, his first, by winning a unanimous decision. He then again faced Spinks in the second defense and again stopped him, this time in 7 rounds, after knocking him down four times. He was alluding that he wanted to fight Erislandy Lara and called him out, but that fight never materialized. Instead, his opponent for the third defense was Ishe Smith, a very slick fighter who was also naturally bigger. The fight happened at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, 23 February 2013. Bundrage lost a point for hitting Smith while he was on the canvas from a slip and in the end lost by a majority decision, 111-116 twice and 114-114. This time, he was fighting a guy who was slick and not at the end of his career. 

Bundrage however was 40 years old now and without a title again. He however surprised again. After beating Joey Hernandez by UD, he recaptured his old title from Carlos Molina, a very slick and tricky fighter, who had taken it from Smith. K9 did the seemingly impossible and defied all odds on 11 October 2014 in Cancun, Mexico (hostile territory since Molina was Mexican) and sent the champion down in rounds 1 and 10. He also worked effectively with his jab and to everyone's surprised actually OUTBOXED Molina! At the age of 41, the good old K9 still had an ace up his sleeve. He hadn't fought for 11 months when he finally defended against the new young lion on the horizon, Jermall Charlo. It was on 12 September 2015 at Foxwoods Resort and the 42-yearold was helpless against the 25-yearold, 6 feet tall and hard hitting Houston-native Charlo. He was down in each of the first 2 rounds and twice in the 3rd, before being stopped late in that round. He came back in 2017 and scored a ko and a decision, but again took a break, coming back for the last time on 7 November 2020 and weighing at 157 pounds. He won his last fight by TKO4 against a fighter with a record of 4-25-3, indicating it was just a farewell fight. 

His final record reads 37(21)-6-0. He now works as a trainer and fitness coach and has his own gym, K9 Boxing Fitness. Cornelius Bundrage was a fighter who succeeded against all odds, after having a less than satisfactory career for a while. He pretty much ended the career of Cory Spinks, despite Spinks actually being almost 5 years younger. He was a late bloomer obviously and that is why he had his best wins in the latter half of his 20-plus year career. He will be remembered for his exciting fights and warrior attitude. He was a complete package in that he could box and punch and usually take a good punch as well. 

Cornelius Bundrage: I want a big name challenger like Saul ...



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- - Cornelius didn't have a lot of promoter backing for his career as I recall it, but managed to be something of an overachiever because he was always in shape.

Oh, but Carlos Molina who was still fighting last year was never slick, but more aptly awkward and sloppy. His fight with James Kirkland was classic comedy mixed with percussion if you ain't seen it. 

Ever do one on James?

There you go!


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