Super welterweight contender from Detroit promises to become the first fighter to stop the former 154-pound champion in the main event of PBC on Bounce tomorrow night in Las Vegas.
Aside from showcasing two highly-skilled and entertaining fighters, tomorrow night’s Bounce TV main event (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) between former 154-pound champion Ishe Smith and contender Tony Harrison is anything but a typical television headliner.
The outcome will serve as a major step forward in the career of both the winner and loser. That fact serves as motivation for Smith and Harrison. That will bring out the best in both boxers when they enter the ring at Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 39-year-old Smith’s accomplishments, which include a 154-pound championship, during an 18-year pro career are impressive. But he’s also experienced his share of disappointments — primarily a number of judges’ decisions that he felt didn’t properly go his way.
In the past, Smith (29-9-0, 12 knockouts) easily put those disappointing issues on the sideline while preparing for an upcoming fight. That hasn’t been the case, however, for his meeting with Harrison.
Disputes with the scoring of judges and what he feels is a lack of respect from boxing pundits have been magnified by a devastating personal matter that Smith and his family experienced last year. Smith’s ex-wife — mother to three of his children (Latoya Woolen) — was brutally murdered, shot in the head, March 2017.
While Smith still feels the emotional pain of his ex-wife’s death, it has increased his determination to exit the ring victorious Friday night. There is no room for a setback, because he believes his children are totally dependent on him now.
“The motivation is just my kids,” Smith said. “When she was murdered a lot fell on my plate. I’m not fighting for just the money. I fight because I still love it and I’m still competitive. I know what happens to people who stay in it too long. But, of course, I have to take care of my family.
“My kids [two boys and a girl with my ex-wife] are my motivation, making sure they have health insurance and a good education. There’s a lot on my plate right now.”
“ No guy with two knockout losses is going to beat me. Every time he’s stepped up, he’s been knocked out. Nobody like that is beating me. ” Former 154-pound World Champion Ishe Smith
Harrison believes he is equally inspired to win the bout. He hasn’t experienced Smith’s emotional pain, but he share’s Smith’s determination to provide for his children’s wellbeing.
Harrison (26-2, 21 KOs) vows Smith will never have an edge on him in that department.
“My condolences are with him,” said Harrison. “I don’t know how I’d be in that situation, but it would definitely be motivation for me. But boxing is my job. I get up early every morning and go to the gym. It’s how I feed my son and my daughter. This is all the motivation I need.”
While the 27-year-old Harrison believes he is Smith’s equal in the motivation department, he is convinced of being the superior fighter in other key offensive areas — punching power, hand speed and jabbing. Harrison does concede experience and stamina to Smith.
Harrison however, plans to eliminate the issue of stamina with an early knockout. If he is successful, it would represent a major accomplishment as no professional boxer has ever stopped Smith, who possesses tight defense, a granite chin and solid body.
“Not only is it (knocking out Smith) a statement for my career, it’s a long-term accomplishment for me,” Harrison said. “To be able to say that I was the first or only one to knock out this former champion, I’d have to say I’m doing that for me. That’s an (accomplishment) I will share with my son.”
Smith chuckled at the talk of a Harrison knockout. Facing a highly motivated Harrison is a fact Smith accepts, but being a knockout victim is comical to him.
“I have no idea what it is that people see in this guy that makes this a (tough fight),” Smith said. “I’m ready for anything. That’s why no guy with two knockout losses is going to beat me. That’s just how it is.
“Every time he’s stepped up, he’s been knocked out. Nobody like that is beating me.”
For a complete look at Smith vs Harrison, check out our fight page.