James “Spider” Webb: Boxing’s Soldier Always On Call!

28.12.05 - “I’m starting to become the King of the Two Weeks Notice fights.” - So proclaims unbeaten welterweight contender James “Spider” Webb, as he prepares for his last-minute offer to challenge Mark Suarez on January 7 at Madison Square Garden. The winner will be declared the IBF welterweight mandatory challenger, and will also get a good look at the champion; Zab Judah defends his undisputed welterweight crown against Carlos Baldomir in the main event on SHOWTIME..

The pride of Columbia, TN, Webb (18-0, 15KO) stayed in shape for much of the year, having previously prepared for multiple bouts that ultimately fell through for various reasons. Believing that he was finished for the year, Webb broke training in order to celebrate the holidays with his loved ones.

Then came the call, right before Christmas; a long-distance last-minute gift. It was less notice than Webb would have preferred, but the reward is well worth the risk.

“You’d always like to have a little more notice, especially with the schedule I have to juggle,” says Webb, who works full time at a local oil change shop, and also presently serves as a Sergeant in the National Guard. “I’m not the first boxer to get a call on short notice, so you always have to stay in halfway decent shape. An opportunity to fight for a mandatory ranking doesn’t come often, so you grab what comes your way and make the most of it.”

For most, it doesn’t come often. For Webb, it’s actually the second time in less than two months that he has received such a call. A similar fight was on the table for the unbeaten welter in November, as he agreed to travel to Germany to face Michel Trabant two days after Thanksgiving. One day before Webb was scheduled to travel abroad, Trabant suffered a cut during training camp, thus canceling the fight.

It was the third fight in less than three months to hit the scrap heap for Webb, though this one hit the hardest.

“I can’t lie, that one had me questioning if my big break would ever come. Coming back from that emotional letdown to return to camp on short notice was the biggest challenge for me. I took off work to train and prepare to travel for that fight. When it got cancelled, I came down from the mental high of readying for the biggest fight of my career. Then when Doc delivered the good news, I had to get back up – and back into shape. I’m always in shape, but I have to get back into boxing shape. There’s a big difference, especially when the stakes are this high.”

The elimination bout with Suarez, ranked #8 by the IBF, represents a series of firsts for #10 ranked Webb. He is fighting for the first time since his thrilling eighth-round stoppage of Jose Celaya this past May on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights. It is also his first fight under the Don King promotional banner, having signed with the world’s greatest promoter this past summer. What better place to make his DKP debut than in Madison Square Garden, where Webb will be – you guessed it – fighting for the first time as a pro. Finally, the IBF elimination bout is the first bout that Webb will be fighting under the auspices of a major sanctioning body.

What he also hopes to become is the first fighter to help change the pre-conceived notion the boxing world has regarding Mid-South prize fighters.

“People maybe heard my name, but never seen me. To them, I’m just some tough white kid from Tennessee. This is the first time that they’re getting to see me up close and personal. All I hope for is to win in another crowd-pleasing event and let people know that no matter when I’m called upon, I’m ready to prove myself in the ring.”

Webb is presently in his fifth year as a pro, after having served as an alternate on the 2000 US Olympic squad. The unbeaten welterweight, who is also ranked #8 by the WBA, has won his last five fights by knockout. The Celaya win earned Webb hometown honors, where July 7, 2005 was declared “Spider Webb Day” in Columbia, TN, the ancestral hometown of our nation’s eleventh President, James K. Polk

Article posted on 28.12.2005

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