Chip Off The Ol’ Block???

By Francis Walker
Updated: March 24, 2008

NEW YORK — IBF junior middleweight champion Cory Spinks returns on Thursday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO. Spinks (36-4, 11 KOs), making the second defense of his 154-pound title, will face No. 7-ranked Verno Phillips (41-10-1, 21 KOs).

Spinks-Phillips will be the featured main event during the premiere of famed boxing promoter Don King’s “The Pride of St. Louis,” event webcast on

“I know Verno is a veteran that knows his way around the ring,” Spinks was quoted at an official press conference to announce the fight. “I want a moment of silence for Verno Phillips’s career because I’m going to put it to rest in St. Louis on March 27.”

Phillips is a former WBO junior middleweight champion. Phillips, although his losses have reached the double-digits column, he has fought former world champions Julio Cesar Vazquez, Julian Jackson, Kassim Ouma, and Ike Quartey. Phillips has only been stopped once, but that was 20 years ago in only his fifth professional bout.

But at 39, Phillips, of Belize, is a very good technical fighter and has a wealth of experience. However, Phillips may simply not have the speed to keep up with the younger, faster, taller, and more illusive Spinks.

The Spinks legacy continues

Cory is the son of Leon Spinks and the nephew of Michael Spinks – the first brother duo to win the world heavyweight championship.

Leon, became famous in only his eighth professional bout on February 15, 1978, after defeating Muhammad Ali by 15-round split-decision for the WBA heavyweight title.

Michael, after unifying the WBC, WBA, and IBF championships at 175 pounds during the 1980s, became the first light-heavyweight in history to win the world heavyweight championship following a 15-round decision over Larry Holmes on September 21, 1985.

Cory’s rise to the top

Cory, otherwise known as “The Next Generation, Spinks Jinx,” continues his family’s legacy and has done a pretty good job. At age 30, Spinks, a two-division world champion, once unified the WBC, WBA and IBF 147 -pound championship to become the undisputed world welterweight champion December 2003.

Spinks’ reign ended in his fourth defense in what turned out to be his most embarrassing loss. On February 5, 2005, in front of a record crowd at the Savvis Center in Spinks native St. Louis, the hometown favorite was knocked out by Zab Judah in the ninth round of a rematch for the undisputed world welterweight championship.

Spinks, however rebounded from the loss to Judah, by winning the IBF 154-pound title from Roman Karmazin in July 2006 in St. Louis. Afterwards, Spinks moved up to 160 pounds last May to challenge Jermain Taylor for the WBC/WBO middleweight championships in a rare champion vs. champion match.

Spinks’ slick southpaw style proved very difficult for Taylor to figure out, but came up short, losing a 12-round spilt decision of a very competitive fight to Taylor in his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Spinks hasn’t fought since then, but is eying a very active 2008. Should Spinks beat Phillips, a very durable boxer with great conditioning this Thursday; the champion will head directly into a showdown with IBF No. 1-ranked junior middleweight contender Sechew Powell.

Casamayor proves that 36 is just a number, TKO’s Katsidis

Coming off perhaps the worse performance of his career against Jose Armando Santa Cruz in November 2007, Casamayor proved that he is still one of the premiere lightweights in the world – even at age 36.

Casamayor (36-3-1, 22 KOs), not only out-boxed, but came off the ring apron outside the ropes to score an emphatic 10th round TKO of previously unbeaten WBO lightweight champion Michael Katsisdis (23-1, 20 KOs).

Katsisdis was nine years younger than Casamayor at age 27. Katsidis, of Australia, recognized for his all-action, come straight-forward fighting style was predicted by many to beat the Cuban, now living in South Florida, by decision. In the very first round, however, the southpaw dropped Katsidis twice – both times with a straight-left to the chin.

Casamayor was in control of the fight until Katsidis’ brawling style took effect in round four. The relentless pressure took its toll on Casamayor, as Katsidis knocked him through the ropes and onto the ring apron toward the end of the sixth. Casamayor was also docked one point for landing a low-blow in the ninth round.

The bout ended when Casamayor caught Katsidis walking straight into a long left hook to the chin. Katsidis was floored and hurt very badly, but returned to his feet. Casamayor pummeled Katsidis, as the bout was waved off that the 30 seconds into the tenth.

Casamayor vs. Campbell Next?

Casamayor, who was stripped of the interim WBC lightweight title for refusing to face Santa Cruz in a rematch of their controversial decision last November, picked up the interim WBO 135-pound title having KO’d Katsidis.

Campbell, who more than two weeks ago, lifted the unified IBF, WBA, and WBO lightweight championships following a 12-round split-decision against previously unbeaten Juan Diaz in Mexico.

Casamayor vs. Campbell, suddenly, has become the most attractive world lightweight championship fight in boxing today and it should be made.

Andrede TKOs Stieglitz in IBF eliminator

One year following an unsuccessful bid to lift the WBA/WBC super middleweight titles from then unbeaten Mikkel Kessler, Librado Andrede has positioned himself for a second world title bid.

Andrede will not be fighting Kessler in a rematch. Andrede will not face Joe Calzaghe, who beat Kessler to unify the WBC, WBA, and WBO 168-pound belts in November.

Andrede will challenge the man that either Calzaghe or Kessler has ever fought, undefeated IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute. Bute is fresh off his 10-round TKO of former three-time WBA middleweight champion William Joppy in February.

Andrede (27-1, 21 KOs) positioned himself for another world title shot by winning his last three fights – all by KO – including a stoppage of Robert Stieglitz (31-2, 19 KOs) at 2:53 seconds of the eighth round. Andrede is now the official No. 1-ranked challenger by the IBF.

Andrede, whose stock rose after his loss to Kessler, was simply too strong and too busy for Stieglitz, who at times trapped Andrede and caught with solid shots against the ropes. Andrede’s chin was too strong to be broken and hands were too busy, as Stieglitz simply couldn’t maintain Andrede’s faster pace.

Andy Lee TKO’d in Upset

Rising middleweight prospect Andy Lee suffered a major setback on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT. Lee (15-1, 12 KOs) was unexpectedly TKO’d at 2:17 seconds of the seventh round by Brain Vera (16-1, 10 KOs) during what was a very exciting battle.

The loss was a devastating setback for Lee because his trainer/manager Emmanuel Steward recently signed an agreement with well-known boxing promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank. Lee was a potential opponent for unbeaten WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik sometime in 2008.

It appeared as though Lee would make quick work of Vera after dropping him in the first round. But Vera fought back unmercifully behind wild left and right hooks. Vera’s haymakers caught Lee flush on his face. Lee kept dropping his hands and moving straight backwards, as Vera kept moving forward and applying pressure.

The bout came to an end at when the referee stopped the bout after Vera hit Lee with a solid right his face one more. Although Lee did not go down and immediately countered with a left, his face was a swollen mess and has lacerations underneath his right eye, nose, and mouth.

All is not done in Lee’s young career. It was only his first loss during an exciting fight that may warrant an immediate return match.