ST. LOUIS (April 24, 2009) – Former four-time world champion Cory “The Next Generation” Spinks walked into the ring Friday night sensing that he had something left to prove to his hometown fans. He walked out a five-time world champion with a close split-decision victory over fellow St. Louis native DeAndre “The Bull” Latimore Friday night on SHOWTIME.
Spinks fought back diligently after a suffering a first round knockdown to capture the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior middleweight world championship by the scores of 115-112 Spinks, 115-112 Latimore and 114-113 Spinks.
In what was ShoBox: The New Generation’s first telecast in St. Louis, World Boxing Council (WBC) No. 1 ranked challenger Devon Alexander “The Great” dominated Jesus “Chuy” Rodriguez, flooring his opponent with a short left uppercut with 58 seconds left in the ninth round of the co-feature. Down on the canvas with blurred vision due to a deep cut over his right eye, Rodriguez failed to get up for the 10-count giving the hometown favorite Alexander his 11th career knockout.
Spinks (37-5, 11 KOs), who seemed shocked to be showered with boos by the raucous crowd at the Scottrade Center, fought his way back from the swift knockdown, taking control of the fight and earning his hometown fans back. His vast experience and extensive resume proved to be the difference maker against the younger, untested Latimore.
“I was a little rusty, but I shook it off,” Spinks said. “I thought it was a slip in the first round just like they ruled my knockdown a slip in the last round.
“I knew I had to perform in the 12th, and I did. I’m a master at this. I went out like a dog and got it. I won back the world title at junior middleweight.”
While not as sharp and lacking the quick footwork that has made him so dangerous and illusive throughout his career, the 31-year-old Spinks had just enough gas to out last 23-year-old Latimore, who had never gone the distance in a 12-round fight before.
Latimore (19-2, 16 KOs), began to tire in the middle rounds and lacked the power and knowledge to knock out the crafty Spinks, his childhood idol.
“I’m a little upset,” Latimore said. “I dropped him in the first round. That decision should have been mine. The scorecard had it 114-113 (for Spinks). I should have had that edge.”
“I cut him and he cut me, what can I say? He got the decision.”
Spinks, who hasn’t won a fight by knockout in over eight years, seems to have made a living by close decision victories, according to ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood.
“It seems inevitable that Spinks is going to be in close fights that are decided by the judges,” Farhood said. “He won tonight for one reason and one reason only: experience. It enabled him to survive a very rough start and control the pace of the fight in the latter rounds.
“Latimore showed flashes of championship form early in the fight, but he didn’t have the experience to carry him through later in the fight.”
Alexander (18-0, 11 KOs) was the heavy favorite entering Friday’s co-feature and it showed. The IBF No. 1 challenger dominated the sloppy fight in which both boxers failed to land many meaningful or damaging punches.
With good hand speed and solid combinations, Alexander landed enough shots to hurt Rodriguez with a cut under his right eye. On the canvas with just 58 seconds left in the ninth round and behind on every scorecard, Rodriguez looked too discouraged to continue.
“Rodriguez was good,” Alexander said. “He gave me good work. He’s a rugged, awkward fighter. I’m ready for anybody at 140 pounds. I can and will get better.
“I give myself just a ‘B-‘ tonight. I’m the WBC super lightweight mandatory challenger. Now I’m ready for my first world championship appearance.”’
Rodriguez (19-4, 5 KOs), who took the fight on just three weeks notice after a scheduled bout with Zab Judah fell through, knew he couldn’t keep up with the younger, speedier Alexander.
“I got caught with a shot and I couldn’t see anymore,” said Rodriguez, of Salinas, Calif. “He was just too fast for me.”
While Alexander controlled the fight, Farhood would have liked to see more from the top, young prospect.
“Devin won every round, but not in an overly impressive fashion,” Farhood said. “He missed a lot of punches.
“He showed flashes of the skill that I now he has, but didn’t seem to adjust that well to a clever, but outgunned, opponent.”
Nick Charles called the action from ringside with the aforementioned Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of “ShoBox” is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Friday’s bouts will re-air this week as follows:
Thursday, April 30 at 10 p.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME TOO
AVAILABLE ON DEMAND STARTING 4/28 AND ENDING 5/25
For more information on “ShoBox: The New Generation” and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts, including complete fighter bios, records, related stories and more, please go to new SHOWTIME website at http://sports.sho.com/
About Scottrade Center
Scottrade Center, located in the heart of downtown St. Louis, is one of the finest sports and entertainment complexes in the country, with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment and an unprecedented commitment to quality and service. Opened in 1994, the arena is home to the St. Louis Blues Hockey Club and also features a full range of arena programming, including concerts, ice shows, family shows and other sporting events. The building is operated by Sports Capital Partners, owner of the St. Louis Blues, under the leadership of its chairman, Dave Checketts. For more information, please visit www.scottradecenter.com.
About ShoBox: The New Generation
Since its inception in July 2001, the critically-acclaimed SHOWTIME boxing series, ShoBox: The New Generation has featured young talent matched tough. The ShoBox philosophy is to televise exciting, crowd-pleasing and competitive matches while providing a proving ground for willing prospects determined to fight for a world title. The growing list of fighters who have appeared on ShoBox and advanced to garner world titles includes: Leonard Dorin, Scott Harrison, Juan Diaz, Jeff Lacy, Ricky Hatton, Joan Guzman, Juan Urango, David Diaz, Robert Guerrero, Kelly Pavlik, Paul Malignaggi, Kendall Holt, Timothy Bradley and, most recently, Bernard Dunne.
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