Coming Home: Karmazin-Spinks for IBF title!

By Rea Frey


Coming Home: Karmazin-Spinks for IBF title!

IBF junior middleweight champion Roman “Made In Hell” Karmazin will take on former world welterweight champion Cory “The Next Generation” Spinks Saturday, July 8, 2006 at the Savvis Center in Spinks’ home town of St. Louis, Missouri. Both fighters are coming off a long layoff. Spinks, after a devastating loss to Zab Judah, also in St. Louis, will come up to 154 pounds for the first time, and put it all on the line to prove that he is still a champion.  On a conference call today, both fighters answered questions about their upcoming bout and what the fans should expect on July 8.

Spinks began with a message for everyone, addressing his weight gain and concerns about his fifteen month layoff. “My mind is clear. I’m going in to fight totally focused. The Cory Spinks that they know and love is back. He’s faster, stronger, and I’m feeling so good coming back home. I’m focused. I’m just ready to get it on. This isn’t something I had to learn. This is my gift. Boxing is my talent. I’ll do what it takes to win. I can fight any way I want. I can fight any style I want. I sent my fans home the last time with a bad taste in their mouth. We did know there were some problems making weight at 147. My manager wanted to call it off, but it was me. I wanted to show my hometown and defend a world title in St. Louis. I corrected those mistakes that I did last time, so the fans will be going home with a good taste in their mouth.”

One reporter asked about how difficult it was to get over being knocked out by Judah in his home town. “It took me a while. I had to collect myself, so I think the time off…I needed it. It made me get back to what Cory Spinks do, which is being focused. I needed that time off so I can come back to the game fresh. I’m back now and I’m ready to go. I’m on weight right now. I’m fine. 155. Trust me, I’m ready. People will see the night of the fight. I’m stronger. I’m feeling so great.”

Karmazin took over next, saying that he feels good coming into the fight and wasn’t concerned about going into St. Louis. “There’s not much concern going into someone else’s home town. I’ve done it throughout my career. I don’t have any particular feelings about going into St. Louis. I plan on fighting my fight and going to work like I always do. Once we get in that ring, I’ll see how things pan out and react accordingly. I know it’s tougher to defend a title than it is to get a title. My entire life, my entire career, I’ve been trying to prove to everybody that I’m better than everybody else and nobody believed me. But step by step, fight by fight, I’ve gone through whatever is thrown to me in Russia, and I intentionally came to the United States to prove everybody wrong and to prove I’m just as good as everybody else.”

The first reporter asked why Karmazin, a reigning champion, has had a long layoff. “It’s been very frustrating,” Karmazin said. “We’ve been ready for a long time now. I wanted to come back as soon as possible. You need to ask my promoter [Don King] that. That’s something that’s out of my control. It’s part of the business.”

On his title-winning victory over Kassim Ouma, Karmazin said, “If you watch the fight closely at least on two occasions, I was winking to [Ouma’s promoter Oscar] De La Hoya. It definitely brought me pleasure to see the shock in his eyes when he saw me dismantling his investment.” Addressing his own style, Karmazin said, “I have a varied style. The United States hasn’t seen everything I have to offer. The offering will be a lot of different styles that Spinks won’t be able to deal with. I don’t doubt that he’s much more serious for this fight and I’m sure he’s got something to prove based on his last performance. The thing is, that last performance, that last knockout, that doesn’t go away. It’s something that you can’t erase and will be in the back of his head. That’s why I think he made a mistake fighting me. We’re kind of in the same boat as far as layoffs go. I’ve been in training for quite a few months now. All I’ve been thinking about is defending my title. He’s got other things to think about.”

And fans everywhere will see if those other “things” come into play on July 8 when Don King Productions promotes this bout. After putting personal problems behind him, including a divorce, and coming up in weight, Spinks will try to redeem himself after the loss to Judah. Karmazin will simply try to do what he does best: win. Tune in to Showtime see which fighter will reign supreme.