A Night of Heroes in St. Louis

06.02.05 - By Umar ben-Ivan Lee: New York fighters should fight in St. Louis more often. From now on in New York boxing circles New York will be known as the place were Zab Judah dethroned undisputed welterweight champion Cory Spinks and were the Queens-native Monte "Two Gunz" Barrett scored a thrilling knockout victory over the game Jamaican Owen "What the Heck" Beck..

Over 22,000 fans packed the Savvis Center for a thrilling night of boxing and they were there to see their hometown hero Cory Spinks. While Judah was led to the ring by his father and mentor Yoel Judah and a small entourage and was all about business; Spinks was led in by Nelly and engaged in a several minute long choreographed dance routine with the Grammy award winning rapper.

Judah began the fight wild and was wild with his lefts for most of the fight and the first half of the fight was largely a chess match between the two slick-southpaws and neither fighter gained a clear advantage. It was in round seven that Judah took over the fight as he was finally able to get on the inside and hurt Spinks who appeared to be knocked down as time was running out in the round but the referee Armando Garcia ruled that it was not a knockdown.

Sensing his opponent was hurt, and with memory of letting Spinks off the hook in the first bout, Judah moved in for the kill in the eighth and appeared to have Spinks hurt for much of the round. The ninth round was much the same until about a minute left in the round Judah landed a huge left followed by a flurry that put Spinks down. Spinks got up to face more of the same as he was hit with a right-left that sent Spinks flying across the ring and into the ropes which caused the referee to call an end to the bout.

The pride of Brooklyn New York, Zab Judah, now joins an elite class of only two undisputed world champions in the world of boxing (the other being Bernard Hopkins). For those who have said that Judah has underachieved given his God-given talent, and for those who have constantly berated him and have not given him respect in the past it is now time to recognize the ability of Judah. When we see Judah we are witnessing someone who can punch like Kostya Tszyu. move like Floyd Mayweather and has the speed of a Sugar Ray Leonard. With the belts now all in the hands of Judah look for big fights to come and we shall see in the next year or two if Judah can establish himself as a true great as he has been reared to be by his father Yoel Judah. Oscar De La Hoya, Arturo Gatti, Tszyu, Mayweather and Cotto are all possibilities. With this impressive victory Judah must now also be considered one of the top-ten pound for pound boxers in the world and let us see if the Ring Magazine and others will give him the respect that he deserves.

A lot of people in boxing, and the boxing media, have always had a deep resentment against Judah because they do not like what he represents; a strong young and confidant black man from the streets who is a representative of the New York ghetto and Hip-Hop Culture. Judah is detested in much of the same way as others like Jack Johnson before him were detested for their skills and so-called arrogance.

This is a night that also has a lot of good guys and heroes that the world of boxing needs to salute. Let us salute Yoel Judah, who is a role model for black fathers in the inner-city and who has been with his son every step of the way. Don King deserves all the credit in the world for putting together an excellent card and once gain proving why, though he may be controversial, he is the greatest promoter in the history of boxing. Thank Showtime for making this night possible and most important thank all of the great fans in St. Louis who proved that they willsupport their own by selling out the arena. St. Louis fans have issued a challenge to other cities; can you support your local talent this much and with this amount of pride?

The St. Louis Police Department also deserves a lot of credit for maintaining a safe and secure environment which allowed fans to enjoy the night of boxing despite the fact that a hostile environment existed. Although the Savvis Center dropped the ball earlier on regarding a few matters they did prove to be a most capable host of a major-event at the end of the day and they should be saluted as well.

Umar ben-Ivan Lee may be contacted at

Article posted on 06.02.2005

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