Spinks wins a big one

By Tom Donelson
Updated: April 25, 2009

Boxing Gloves IOWA CITY — Cory Spinks was fighting for the IBF version of the junior Middleweight championship and coming off a two fight losing streaks.

Spinks’ opponent was fellow Saint Louis native, Deandre Latimore, a young hard slugging prospect. In Latimore’s previous fight, he upset contender Sechew Powell with a seventh round knockout and this earned him a shot for the IBF version of the title.

For Spinks, this was one of those crossroads fight as he was facing a fighter whose previous nineteen victories included only four fighters with winning records and a lost could be devastating for the Saint Louis native.

Dubbed as “The Next Generation”, Spinks comes from a family of championship fighters as his father Leon defeated Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight championship and Michael Spinks, the great light heavyweight fighter who also won a heavyweight title from Larry Holmes.

Spinks wanted one more title and one more shot at a unified junior Middleweight. A portion of the title would allow Spinks to get one more big pay day beyond that.

In the first round, Spinks came out firing as he hoped to jumped on the younger fighter; all he did was run right into a Latimore buzz saw and he went down half way through the round.

Latimore’s punches had more power when contrasted with Spinks’ punches. He had his opportunity in the opening stanza to end the fight and throughout the first four rounds — this was Latimore’s fight.

Spinks did not have his legs and found himself fighting a trench battle with a younger harder puncher. What Spinks had left was guts and guile.

He took his inside game to another level and forced his younger opponent to fight; this appeared to be a suicidal strategy.

Starting in the fifth round, Spinks threw punches and clutch when needed or occasionally move to force Latimore to chase after him. What occurred was that Spinks tired his younger opponent as Latimore punches lost its steam.

Those punches that shook Spinks from head to toe simply ricochet off Spinks in the later rounds. He started to walk the stronger Latimore down and Latimore started to retreat throughout the second half of the fight.

Beginning in the fifth round, the fight turned Spinks way.

This fight ceased to be a boxing match and more of a brawl as both fighters stood toe to toe. This was a brawl to determine who would be the true champion of Saint Louis and for Spinks, this could easily end up to be his Waterloo.

Both fighters saw their eyes get cut and with blood occasionally spurting. This brawl had Saint Louis fans screaming.

This was not the sharp shooting Spinks fighting a brawler but the brawling Spinks out brawling his younger opponent.

The 12th round saw Spinks put everything on the line as he did not leave nothing in the ring as he out punched his exhausted opponent.

This fight was close and many of the rounds down the stretch were separated by a significant punch or two.

One judge had it 115-112 for Latimore and the other had 115-112 Spinks. As the ring announcer announced the score 114-113 and new IBF championship, the fans stood at attention wondering who would be the new champion.

As the announcer yelled Cory Spinks, the tears and relief could be seen on Spinks’ face. For Spinks, his career continued as he once again was a champion.

As for Latimore, his second lost was nothing to be ashamed as he showed that he was a worthy opponent. He had his opportunity to win the fight but after the fourth round, it was Spinks experience that proved decisive.

In the opening bout, junior welterweight prospect Devon Alexander fought the veteran Jesus Rodriguez. Alexander won his first 17 fights and now he was going for number 18.

Rodriguez proved an exclusive target as he moved his head and proved difficult for Alexander to hit. Normally an accurate puncher, Rodriguez often was wild but most of the fight, he was contented to play defense.

Occasionally a Rodriguez would find a target on left side of Alexander face but for the most part, it was Alexander who was the puncher.

In the eighth round, Alexander finally found rhythm in his attacks and sent Rodriguez to the canvas. Rodriguez got back up but the Rodriguez that got up looked like a defeated fighter as he looked to his corner as to say, “What do I do now?”

The fight ended with a ninth round TKO as Alexander finally ended the fight. What this fight showed was that he’s a talented fighter with much left to learn and prove before he actually earns a championship shot.

Alexander is a talented fighter but there was time in this fight he proved over anxious as he missed shots that in past fights he nailed.