Detroit’s Bundrage successfully defends title

Cornelius Bundrage is one of the few bright spots left in a declining Detroit boxing scene.

Saturday night, he took advantage of a rare opportunity in the ring, defending his IBF junior-middleweight championship with a seventh-round knockout of former champion Cory Spinks in a fight televised by Showtime.

Bundrage, 39, has no question who he wants to fight next — Mexican redheaded star Canelo Alvarez. Alvarez is scheduled to fight on Sept. 15, but his opponent has not been named.

“I showed what I can do tonight,” Bundrage said. “Now it is time for the black Rocky against the redhead. I want Canelo on September 15.”

Bundrage is considered one of the top contenders to fight Alvarez, but he might have to go through Cuban star Erislandy Lara first. Lara, who beat Freddy Hernandez on the undercard, shares a promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, with Alvarez, while Bundrage has been promoted by Don King.

Bundrage, better known as K-9, didn’t exactly follow the normal path to a world title. His career didn’t take off until he teamed up with Kronk legend Emanuel Steward, and Bundrage was already 37 when he finally got a chance at a world title.

He took advantage of the opportunity, knocking Spinks out in the fifth round on Aug. 7, 2010 to become Detroit’s first champion since Thomas Hearns.

That didn’t make things easier, though, as King didn’t get him any fights. Before the Spinks rematch, Bundrage had fought only once in two years, winning an unanimous decision over Sechew Powell on June 25, 2011.

Bundrage claims his affiliation with King is now over, and that his age isn’t going to be a problem.

“I’m 39 going on 24,” he said. “It’s time for the big fights.”

Bundrage knocked Spinks down with a right hook in the first round Saturday, but the next several rounds turned into a wrestling match while Spinks tried to hold on. Bundrage struggled with Spinks’ clinching until ending the fight with three knockdowns in the seventh round.

“I knew like I was going to get him,” he said. “I got a little hard-headed in there, but he knew the dog was coming.”

Bundrage, as he does, finished the interview by barking into the camera. He’s going to need that and more than a little bite to knock off Alvarez.