On February 5, It's Showtime!
The first true world championship fight of 2005 will take place on February 5 at the Savvis Center in St. Louis, Missouri when the world's two best welterweights, undisputed 147 pound kingpin, Cory "The Next Generation" Spinks and Zab "Super" Judah, again mix it up to determine who will rule the rapidly resurging welterweight division. Spinks homecoming as unquestionably the slickest boxer with a world title has been a hot ticket. More than 12,000 seats have already been sold, and promoter Don King and Spinks manager and trainer Kevin Cunningham are expecting a sellout.
On April 10, 2004 Spinks and Judah squared off in by far be the most significant welterweight fight of the year. In the months leading up to the fight Judah was confident that he would be able to outbox the boxer.
He even went as far as telling Boxingtalk, "Spinks is not as slick as people think. I would have looked like Muhammad Ali against Ricardo Mayorga.
"Everyone knows he can't throw down with me, but I'm going to show everybody that he can't box with me either."
True to his word, Judah came out looking to outbox Spinks. The strategy failed miserably as Spinks consistently beat him to the punch. Spinks' jabs to both Judah's head and body took the talented southpaw from Brooklyn out of rhythm.
Many who thought that Judah's speed was going to be the differnce, that Mayorga was perfect for Spinks and the immensely skilled Judah would expose him as a one hit wonder, were surprised to learn that Spinks-in the worst cased scenario-was Judah's equal in terms of speed and quickness.
Spinks may have won each of the first six rounds, but Judah, like the champion that he is, managed to make the necessary adjustments that made the second half of the fight a give and take affair.
The action only heated up in the championship rounds.
Perhaps remembering what his trainer Kevin Cunningham told him earlier in the fight, Spinks put Judah on the seat of his pants with a clean left hand while Judah was pulling straight back with his hands down.
Regardless of how you scored some of the middle rounds, it was clear that Spinks was ahead on points headed into the twelfth and final round. Judah wanted to avoid going 0-2 in undisputed world title fights and he needed to do something drastic in the final three minutes to change the outcome of the fight. After losing the majority of the twelfth round, with thirty seconds to go, it happened.
WHAM! Judah caught Spinks with a powerful left handed counter shot and dropped the champ hard.
Spinks was clearly hurt a lot worse than Judah had been in the round before, but that didn't stop him from getting up, finishing the fight on his feet, and winning the decision on the scorecards.
"If I had another minute to work with, I would be the undisputed welterweight champ today," Judah told Boxingtalk shortly after the fight.
After not being able to secure fights with Felix Trinidad, Kostya Tszyu or Floyd Mayweather Jr., Spinks decided to give Judah another 36 minutes to work with. Judah tells Boxingtalk he's worked harder than ever for this fight, he feels that he has become a true welterweight, something he may not have been when he first faced Spinks in his welterweight debut, and he feels that his time is now.
Spinks, generally a man of few words, says he's heard it all from Judah before, but that hasn't stopped the pride of St. Louis from spending the past eight weeks waking up at five in the morning to scale Mount Charleston in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"This is going to be one of the most spectacular performances of Cory's career," said Spinks underrated trainer and manager Kevin Cunningham.
Spinks-Judah II has already become one of the most successful promotions of 2005. Needless to say, Spinks promoter Don King is thrilled.
"If the stars ain't shining in St. Louis, they ain't shining nowhere. We'll dance the hoochie coochie and I'll be you tootsie wootsie so meet me in St. Louis because I'll be at the fight. I'm exuberant and excited to be promoting in St. Louis. I think it's one of the greatest places and we're going have pure Americana. I'm at home in St. Louis, it's pure Americana, America at its best," said King.
As this goes to print, at least 13,000 people will be on hand to experience
pure Americana at its best...and yeah, they'll get to see who the best welterweight in the world is also.
Will it be a repeat performance for the slickest southpaw in boxing? Or will Judah "going after him early this time" be the difference as Zab says?
Spinks says that he would be able to expose Judah's aggression, but firmly added, "This fight isn't going to be about what Zab Judah does, it's about me doing my thang and him trying his best to keep up with me."
Spinks and Judah, who will do battle on Showtime Championship Boxing on February 5, agree on one thing, the winner of their rematch will hold all the marbles in a rapidly resurging welterweight division, so Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Kostya Tszyu, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto will know who they SHOULD be gunning for it they're looking to fight the best.
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