Sunday, June 04, 2023  |



Leonard Bundu is all smiles for Sunday

Fighters Network
Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

The eyes of Leonard Bundu tell you a few things. One, he frequently smiles.

The lines of the 41-year-old Sierra Leone boxer Bundu (33-1-2, 12 knockouts), in New York to play the underdog role against young-superstar-in-the-making Errol Spence Jr., suggest he’s quick to grin.

That was evident on Thursday afternoon, as the Italy-based welterweight fielded press queries at the trek to NYC. Will there be smiling after he and Spence tussle? I asked Bundu about this assignment (Premier Boxing Champions, Sunday, NBC, 5 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. PT), which he scored after about 10 other guys turned it down.

“Is Spence the best I’ve fought on paper? (IBF welterweight titlist Keith) Thurman was very, very good. But maybe, from what I’ve seen of Spence, he is more…looking to finish,” Bundu told me. “Thurman looked very good winning against (Shawn) Porter. But I’m good.”

And is Bundu sure he can beat Spence? He hesitated and not because of a language barrier; his English is high grade. “It is a very good chance. To me, I say it is a 50/50 fight,” he said, as his wife looked on, impassive.

Bundu grinned and was led away by a handler, after offering a gracious adios. Spence too is a gracious guy, he was patiently answering all questions, including one from my daughter (“Do you have a dog?”) till the very last press person left.

This really is a situation in which you’ll be happy with either guy getting the W. For Bundu, no bomber, to be able to keep Spence from exploding on him will be a taller order than avoiding the chicken cutlets on Thursday.  His grin after that win would be something to behold.

The bout screens on NBC, after the Olympics men’s hoops gold medal game.


Feeling left out, Woodsy asked his daughter Bella why she doesn’t ask him questions with such enthusiasm. “Uh, I already know that we have a dog, Dad,” was her reply. Yeah, Dad; get it together, man.