Pulling no punches, SHOWTIME will come out with both fists blazing on Feb. 5, 2005, when its first telecast of the year will feature a grudge rematch between World Boxing Association/World Boxing Council/International Boxing Federation (WBA/WBC/IBF) Welterweight Champion Cory “The Next Generation” Spinks and former IBF and World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior welterweight champion Zab “Super” Judah. In a sensational co-feature, two boxers ranked in the top 10 in each of boxing’s four major governing bodies will square off when undefeated Owen “What The Heck” Beck faces Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett in a 12-round heavyweight elimination bout on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. SHOWTIME will televise the doubleheader at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). The event will be promoted by Don King Productions.
Question: Cory, do you feel extra pressure fighting in your hometown?
Spinks: No, not at all. I am going into this fight like I go into any other fight – clearheaded and ready to go into the ring and handle my business.
Question: Why do you feel you need a rematch since you beat Zab fairly easily in the first fight?
Spinks: Well, this is something that happens. He is still one of the best guys in the welterweight division. I am all about fighting the best and I am ready to go.
Question: Do you think that the reason some people think the rematch is warranted is because they forgot about the 11 rounds you dominated and only looked at you getting knocked down in the last round of the fight?
Spinks: Yes, I truly think so, but it is something that I am not worried about. I am prepared to go in there and do what I have to do in this fight.
Question: Cory, what kind of shape are you in?
Spinks: I never go into a fight out of shape. I am always prepared for any fight, so you know what type of shape I am in.
Question: Were there other fights or options you would have liked to have taken before fighting Judah again?
Spinks: Of course, any boxer wants to fight the best. We were willing to fight Kostya Tszyu, even willing to take on Felix Trinidad. But sometimes that is not the way the ball bounces, so we have to go with the next best.
Question: Zab, talk about your training. How do you feel now?
Judah: I feel excellent. I just want to thank Cory, Kevin Cunningham and Don King Productions for giving me another opportunity to fight them again. I am just going in to do my best.
Question: What are you going to do differently this time?
Judah: I do not think that I have to do anything differently. I will go in there with the same game plan. Just be myself.
Question: Do you think you can finish the job this time?
Judah: I guess the good thing is we do not have 30 more seconds or one more round; we have 12 more rounds and a whole new fight and two fresh men. So I think it will be interesting.
Question: What is the capacity of the arena?
Promoter: Official capacity will probably be over 21,000, but the sellable seats are 20,423.
Question: Cory, did you consider training in St. Louis for this fight?
Spinks: Never. We do not train for any fight in St. Louis, no matter how small or big it is.
Question: Why is that?
Spinks: Well, first of all, if you are going to prepare for a fight, especially a fight of this magnitude, you do not want to be around any distractions – at home, around your woman, your boys, your buddies and just relatives. It is just all a distraction when you are trying to focus and get ready for a fight of this magnitude. This fight here is life and death. That is how we see this fight.
Question: Cory, you have fought small fights in St. Louis, but never anything like this. Do you treat the rematch any differently?
Spinks: No, I am just going into this fight like I am fighting any other big fight. Even though it is in my hometown, I have more energy because it is there, but I will not let that get to me because I am a smart fighter. I have been doing this all my life, so I know what it takes.
Question: Cory, can you tell us just a little bit about your life growing up in St. Louis?
Spinks: The neighborhood I grew up in was terrible. It was killing here, killing there. It was basically all about survival. I am just happy I survived it. As far as my daddy having an impact on my career, my dad had his own life. I was more close to my mom. My mom was my backbone, but once my mom passed, my daddy started to play that dad role. As he started to play that dad role, I just embraced him. He is a cool guy. I see where I get some of my personality from.
Question: Zab and Cory, the last fight was a boxing match for 10 rounds and then it turned into a fight and both of you were down in the last two rounds. Are you going to pick up from there?
Spinks: Well, sometimes that is the way the fight goes. You want to put on a good show and when good fighters get in there, they know what it takes and that is what happens.
Judah: I think I am prepared for anything. I am prepared to go boxing and I am prepared to fight.
Question: Would you prefer to fight more than box in this one, Zab?
Judah: I am prepared to do whatever. However the fight should come to me, I am ready for it.
Question: Cory, why does your ring entrance have such a big effect on people?
Spinks: I guess because of the dancing. That is the dance that is really out there now and I just know how to do it. Just brings me extra energy.
Question: Cory, what does your ring entrance tell us about your state of mind just before a fight?
Spinks: Well, lots of people do not know this. My brother, when he was alive and boxing, that is what he used to do and he taught me how to dance and everything. I took that from him and I am continuing that. That just shows people that I am relaxed and ready to go.
Question: Cory, do you think the fight was as close as the scorecard said last time?
Spinks: Well, it was not that close – 116 to 112. But I came out with the win. That is all that counts.
Question: Zab, do you have any regrets about not following it up more aggressively after you knocked down Cory in the 12th round
Judah: Well, I did not have any more time to do anything. By the time I came in after the knockdown, I threw a punch and Cory grabbed me and then the bell rung. So I did not have much time to finish him off.
Question: Cory, what part of St. Louis did you grow up in and where do you live now?
Spinks: I grew up in the north side of St. Louis, the water tower area. I live in St. Charles now. I am married now, grounded, have a daughter. So I am not as wild as I used to be when I used to live in the city. I am more settled, stay at home a lot with my family, just relax.
Question: Cory, you had mentioned when you were in St. Louis before that you would probably come into town a week before the fight. Based on the distraction factor that you mentioned earlier, what kind of schedule will you have when you come into town?
Spinks: We are not coming in town a week before the fight. We are coming in three or four days before the fight.
Question: Will there be any sort of public workout?
Spinks: We are working on that for Wednesday, a media workout.
Question: Cory, how important and meaningful is it to be at this stage of your career fighting in front of a sold out crowd? Is this a statement fight for you?
Spinks: Yes. I just want to show St. Louis what type of champion they have. It has been a dream for me to defend in St. Louis and it just so happens that I have all three and it is just a blessing.
Question: Zab, does it give you more confidence knowing you were able to knock Cory down?
Judah: Yeah, I guess because I am known as a knockout puncher. I figure that any time that I choose to turn it up, I can do whatever I want to do in the fight.
Question: Have you replayed that in your mind how you are going to finish that, Zab, if you get that opportunity again?
Judah: Oh, definitely. If the opportunity came around again, I would not let it pass me this time.
Question: Zab, what, if anything, would you have liked to have done different at the end of the Tszyu fight and are you still hopeful of getting a rematch with him?
Judah: I would have loved to kept composure of myself and took the time and relaxed for a second and let everything play out and just let everything blow over. Of course, I would love to fight Kostya Tszyu again.
Question: Cory, do you feel that you have gotten the respect you deserve for being an undisputed world champion?
Spinks: Well, kind of not because I have not turned down any fights. I have given boxing what they need more of – real champions.
Question: Do you think your style has something to do with it; since you are not a let-it-out, knock-them-down guy?
Spinks: Well, that too. I just stick to the rules. I stick with what boxing is. It is called an art. Hit and not get hit and that is what I stick to.
Question: Zab, in the past you have been accused of showboating. This is probably the biggest fight of your career. Are you going to be doing any of it this time around?
Judah: No, definitely not. Like I told my dad already, if I choose not to win another fight in the world, this fight right here means a lot to me and I will win this fight right here.
Question: Cory, do you have any final thoughts and a prediction on this fight?
Spinks: I predict I will win. I am going to put on the best performance of my life. I guarantee you that. I am so prepared. Every fight I have I learn a little mistake I made and I come back and correct them. But I am very, very focused for this fight. Trust me, I am going to put on a show.
Question: Are you going to win by knockout or by decision?
Spinks: See, that is what I do not do. I do not predict anything because when you predict things, it does not happen. But I think that I will win this fight.
Question: Zab, what are your thoughts and do you have a prediction on this fight?
Judah: I would like to elaborate on what Cory said. In layman’s terms, what he is really saying is that he has prepared himself well and he is bringing his running shoes to run around the ring from that hard hitting junior welterweight, Zab Judah. That is what he really means to say.
Question: And what are you going to do about that, Zab?
Judah: I am going to finish him forever. Like I said, no disrespect to Cory Spinks – I like him a lot as a person – but my whole thing is this. I am here to take. I am going to his back yard because I am from Brooklyn. That is what we do. I am from the home of the taking state. Now watch this.