Viewpoint: Judah-Spinks

By Tom Donaldson
Updated: January 14, 2005

Zab Judah

NEW YORK, NY—The Master Chess players are always several moves ahead of their opponent. The Masters know almost by instinct, if not by the actual maneuver what their opponent is up to. When Bernard Hopkins defeated Oscar De La Hoya, he performed as much as chess master as he did a boxer. Knowing that Oscar wanted to box and move, Hopkins allowed De La Hoya to come forward and be the aggressor. He gave away a few of the early rounds and this move proceeded against the prevailing boxing wisdom that stated he needed to jump on De La Hoya immediately. Just as a Chess Master allows the inexperienced player to move his or her pieces forward, Hopkins allowed De La Hoya to expose himself to Hopkins heavier barrage. De La Hoya moved into Hopkins’ trap. What resulted was a Hopkins knock out.

Hopkins did pretty much the same thing against Trinidad as well. He boxed Trinidad and took advantage of Trinidad aggressive style and when the time came, he checkmated Trinidad with the perfect right hand. The lesson that Hopkins learned is that sometimes, you have to ignore conventional wisdom to win. A Chess Master may on occasion; think outside the box to surprise his or her opponent and in his biggest fights, Hopkins also ignored conventional wisdom.

Next Saturday’s Jab Judah-Cory Spinks fight will resemble a chess match. It is a match between two Masters, who are carbon copies of one another. Both are boxers and both can move. Both are fast and quick. In their last fight, both hit the canvas and Spinks won, only because he took the early rounds by shedding his more conservative image and attacked. In this bout, the question that remains is what adaptation has Judah in store for Spinks? What did both fighters learn in their last match?

What this makes this fighting intriguing is that both fighters match up with each other. They are both boxers and usually when two boxers meet, it can be boring as they both prod and move. Caution between two boxers bring out the boo birds.

Spinks broke pattern in the beginning of the fight and Judah attacked at the end when it became obvious that he was behind. So will Judah begin on the offensive? Now if you are Judah, if you are attacked become vulnerable to a very good counter puncher and boxer. That is the negative. The positive is that you knocked Spinks down and you have the power advantage. So you may throw caution to the wind, especially since you are fighting in Spinks’ backyard. It is an old adage, the challenger must take the champion’s title. So Judah may challenge Spinks power and go for broke early.

Spinks is the natural welterweight and in the last fight showed that he could knock Judah down as well. In the last round, he went for the stoppage and almost lost the fight. So if you are Spinks, will you risk losing by going after Judah. You may the bigger fighter but you are necessarily not the most powerful puncher of the two. But you are a good boxer and your skills matches Judah, including quickness. So would it a better strategy be for you to step back and allow Judah to come to you? Since you are in your own backyard, can you count on the judges favoring you in a close contest? Or will the judges favor the more aggressive fighter regardless of location?

Hamlet asks, “To be or not to be” and Spinks may be thinking, “To be a slugger or not to be.”

Expect the unexpected. Judah will move forward and look to check mate Spinks early. Spinks reaction may be the surprise. Spinks is fighting in front of the home crowd and he may just accept the Judah challenge. Fireworks may follow.
Here is the final aspect to think about. Judah has been in two big fights and lost them both. When Spinks has been in the spotlight, he has come through.