Cory Spinks won’t take anything away from Cornelius Bundrage. In fact, he feels he gave him something the first time they fought.
The former RING welterweight champion and junior middleweight titlist gets a second crack at Bundrage this Saturday in a Showtime-televised card from Indio, Calif. Their first meeting ended with a vicious knockout that left Spinks dangling between the ropes, and his career hanging in the balance along with him.
Spinks claims he could barely get through those ropes in the first place.
“I take my losses like a man, and that’s what I did. I didn’t try to make any excuses afterward, because you know how people talk,” Spinks told RingTV.com. “I got sick a week before the fight, I shouldn’t have fought. I should have pulled out of the fight, but sometimes boxers get naive and think we can pull through anything and that wasn’t the case.”
By “sick,” he means that he lives with Crohn’s Disease, an incurable gastrointestinal ailment that causes a wide variety of problems in the human body on a periodical basis. While it can be controlled to some extent, there is no telling when it will escalate. For instance, during Spinks’ preparation for his second bout with Zab Judah, or prior to his first meeting with Bundrage.
“I had a flare up the week before the fight. It affects my limbs and everything, my muscles and gets me real sick. Usually if it flares all the way up, I’ll be out for at least two months trying to nurse myself back up to health,” said Spinks (39-6, 11 knockouts), noting that he has been without incident during his current camp.
The loss to Bundrage was just one of many recent misfortunes for the second generation fighter. Prior to that, he suffered back to back losses to Jermain Taylor and Verno Phillips, then eked out a win over a limited Deandre Latimore for the vacant IBF light middleweight strap he then lost to Bundrage (31-4, 18 KOs).
There was also the 12-month probation and 200 hours of community service he incurred as a result of a 2010 DUI arrest.
“I was trying to fix everything, but it wasn’t coming together. I had the wrong trainer, I had the wrong manager, things were spiralling out of control. It’s just been a blessing to be in the place that I’m in now,” said Spinks, who has relocated his training camp to Florida after years of training in Ohio. “I’m not partying or anything of that nature. Just staying focused on my task at hand and training.”
It was barely a year ago that the 34-year old was mulling a move to middleweight, even taking a 2011 tune-up fight with Shakir Ashanti slightly above the 160-pound limit. A move down south, he says, provided the right environment to get himself in optimal shape at 154 instead.
“I can focus more down in Florida. Being in Florida, everyone works out. Being around that type of environment makes you want to work out all day, so it’s been very good for me,” said the St. Louis native.
Extended time period between his recent bouts and a perceived lack of direction have led to the former two-division titleholder falling out of the boxing public’s consciousness. On top of that, even when he was thriving, Spinks’ ultra mobile approach in the ring made him one of the most polarizing figures in the sport purely on the basis of style preference.
Call it “The Spinks Jinx.”
Regardless of taste, Spinks has compiled an undoubtedly impressive resume. Over his career, he has defeated seven current or former major titleholders. Even in the aforementioned losses to Taylor and Phillips, he was winning on one judge’s scorecard in each, dropping a pair of split decisions. Had he defeated Taylor, he could have been undisputed champion in two weight classes.
“I think I have solidified myself as being in the Hall of Fame when I hang the gloves up,” boasts Spinks, who could be a three-time light middleweight beltholder with a victory on Saturday.
If he does exact revenge on “K-9” on ShoBox, two fights on drastically different ends of the spectrum have been suggested for him.
Don King Productions stable mate Joey Hernandez has been tapped as a possible challenger for “The Next Generation” were he to regain the IBF title.
Spinks has bigger plans, such as a September 15 date with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez that still remains unoccupied.
“But really, ask yourself. Does (Hernandez) deserve a shot? I’ve worked hard to be in the position I’m in. I’ve been champion previous times. Like, really? Shouldn’t I be looking for something better than a Joey Hernandez?” said Spinks. “I want big fights. I’m not looking for anyone that’s lesser than me to try to come up on something I’ve worked hard for. I want to be paid for what I did and how many years I’ve been in it. I want to get my just due.”
To get that respect, and what could be one last big shot, he knows he can’t be in a giving mood this time against Bundrage.
“I don’t want to give anything away. I just want people to see what Cory Spinks is capable of doing when he’s focused,” said Spinks.
Photos / Joe Murphy-Getty Images
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