Spinks & Karmazin: Fighting To Prove A Point

By Francis Walker
Updated: July 1, 2006

NEW YORK — Former undisputed world welterweight champion Cory Spinks (34-3, 11 KOs) returns to the boxing ring for the first time in more than 17 months to challenge IBF junior middleweight champion Roman Karmazin (34-1-1, 21 KOs).

The bout will be the featured main event of a Showtime Championship Boxing telecast on July 8 (10 p.m. ET/PT). The bout will take place at the Savvis Center in Spinks’ hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.

The last time Spinks fought in his hometown, he lost the world 147-pound titles in a rematch to Zab Judah on February 2005.

Spinks was embarrassed during his a brutal one-sided beating that ended in an emphatic eighth round KO. He blamed his loss to Judah on “distractions” that included “personal problems” and “weight loss”.

Lighting could strike twice, as the 28-year-old Spinks acknowledges the pressure to perform well in his hometown against a world champion in a higher weight-class.

“I know I sent my fans home last time with a bad taste in their mouths.”, Spinks said during a recent teleconference. “I have corrected those mistakes that I made. They will be going home with a good taste in their mouths.”

Spinks said that he felt so weak trying to make the 147-pound limit that his managers wanted to call the fight.

“It was personal problems in life that had my mind elsewhere, plus the weight loss”, Spinks added. “I lost too much weight and it had me weak, I did not have any energy.”

Spinks appears to concern himself with putting forth a better performance for his fans. Spinks is out to prove that the Judah fight was just a bad night filled with plenty of distractions and fatigue.

Karmazin is not worried about anyone’s distractions or reactions. Karmazin is out to prove that he is one of the best boxers at 154.

Karmazin is a 33-year-old fro St. Peterburg, Russia. This year is his eleventh-year as a professional fighter. Karamazin has fought in Russia, Belgium, Spain, Germany, England, and Denmark. Karmazin has had only four fights in the U.S, but has not fought in nearly one year.

“There is not much of a concern about going into somebody else�s hometown”,Karmazin said. “I have done it throughout my entire career. I have defended titles in other people’s backyards and with other people’s judges and other people’s fans.”

“So I do not have any particular feelings about going into St. Louis. It is only more motivation for me to train harder and show everybody, including fans that may not be rooting for me, that I am the best in the world.”

Karmazinï’s last fight on July 14, 2005 in Las Vegas, NV, proved to be the biggest of his career. Karmazin won a unanimous 12-round decision against highly-talked about Kassim Ouma to capture the IBF junior middleweight championship. Karmazin also earned a majority-decision win over former WBC middleweight champion, Keith Holmes in 2005.

“I have always been confident and beating Ouma did not necessarily change my confidence”, Karmazin added.

“I am out to prove things to the so-called experts and so once I beat Spinks, hopefully any doubters that still exist will no longer exist. That is part of the motivation. I know it is tougher to defend the title than it is to get a title, so that has motivated me to work harder and prepare even stronger for this fight than I did for the Ouma fight.”

Karmazin also found pleasure in winning his first world title against Ouma, who is promoted by Oscar De La Hoya. Karmazin was once turned down as as an opponent for De La Hoya more than four years ago.

“If you watched the [Ouma] fight closely, you will see on at least two occasions when I was on the ropes, I was winking to De La Hoya who was sitting there with Shane Mosley”, Karmazin added.

“It definitely brought me pleasure to see the shock in his eyes when he saw me dismantling his investments. What happened in the past is in the past. [De La Hoya] is making future decisions and he made it pretty clear after the fight when we saw each other that I am too big a risk for him and he will probably not be getting in the ring with me any time soon.”

Karmazin maybe the champion, but he believes that he still has a lot to prove in his boxing career and is bracing for Spinks’ challenge. Karmazin also acknowledges that Spinks may be the slickest boxer he may ever face.

“When I go to St. Louis and I am within the walls of Cory Spinks’ hometown; that is something that fuels me and burns the fire and allows me to perform at the highest level”, Karmazin concluded.

“My entire life, my entire career I have been trying to prove to everybody that I am better than everybody else and nobody believed me. Step by step, fight by fight, I went through whatever was thrown at me in Russia and whatever was thrown at me in Europe and I specifically came to the United States to prove everybody wrong.”