26.08.04 – Cory “The Next Generation” Spinks will defend his undisputed welterweight title against former WBC champion Miguel Angel Gonzalez on Saturday, Sept. 4, on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING at 10 p.m. ET/PT. In the co-feature from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, WBO Heavyweight Champion “Relentless” Lamon Brewster will defend his crown against Pan Pacific Heavyweight Champion Kali “Checkmate” Meehan. Tickets, priced at $500, $300, $200, $100 and $40, are on sale at the Mandalay Bay Box Office and all TicketMaster outlets. To order tickets by phone, call (702) 632-7580. Don King Productions will promote the world championship doubleheader.
Spinks: I cannot wait to step back in the ring and I am so anxious to get back in there. I am ready for anything.
Question: Cory, you have defeated two really top-notch guys back to back in Ricardo Mayorga and Zab Judah. Now, some people think this could be an easy fight for you. Are you looking at this fight as an easy fight? What is your take on Miguel Angel Gonzalez?
Spinks: He is a great fighter. I do not see how people can look at him like that because he has a lot of skill. So, that is what people think, but I am thinking it is going to be a pretty tough fight.
Question: Cory, have you have noticed any difference in the way Miguel fights now as opposed to when he was champion?
Spinks: I do not see any because you do not lose the skill that you always have possessed.
Question: How influential has Michael and Leon Spinks been on your career, and did they inspire you to want to box?
Spinks: They give me advice here and there and always tell me to continue to work hard. They have inspired me to push forward and work hard.
Question: If you win, will you move up to 154 pounds or continue defending your welter titles?
Spinks: I am not looking ahead to anything right now. I am just concentrating on this fight. After this fight, then we will see.
Question: In your last fight against Zab Judah, you were doing very well, but in that last round, he connected with a left hook that knocked you down. Do you think that is something that will become a game plan for future opponents?
Spinks: No. I fell asleep in there. I was beginning to look too good. Things happen in there. But some of the best (boxers) take falls, but get right back up and dust it off.
Question: Cory, does it bother you that you have already beaten the best in your division, yet still do not get the respect that you feel you deserve?
Spinks: Yes, but you cannot trip off of what people think. You have to maintain your composure and continue to do what you have been doing, and that is winning. It is what I plan to do.
Question: What did you gain most from your two early losses? Did you think they helped you eventually win the world welterweight championship?
Spinks: You always have to keep your hope alive. I am not into boxing just for fun. This is my job. From those losses, it was a learning experience on how this game could be. It just made me stronger and tougher.
Question: Cory, do you feel that you have become a better fighter since you won the title?
Spinks: It seems that way. Definitely, once you get there, it seems like things get a little better because you start to understand the game more and learn your art more. In this game, you can never stop learning. I adapted from amateur to pro very well.
Question: Do you have a major concern fighting with Miguel Angel Gonzalez?
Spinks: To be honest, I have no concern when I fight anyone. I am just a normal, tough fighter. You cannot worry about too many things going into the ring because, if you do, you can get hurt. That is what I try not to do. I try to clear my mind and just focus on the task at hand.
Question: Cory, did you go to a lot of your dad’s and uncle’s fights when you were younger?
Spinks: I was born five days after my dad beat Muhammad Ali, so I did not get a chance to go to a lot of them. I went to about two, but I have watched most of them. That is because my mom was real strict on letting me go out of town, but my brother went.
Question: How has life changed for you outside the ring since you have won the title?
Spinks: Well, you get more attention and everything. Like I said, you just have to stay humble and controlling what you do.
Question: Can you speak about your amateur career?
Spinks: It was great. If I would have stayed in it, I would have been in the Olympics. But we decided it was time to go pro. I quit for a couple of years and came back and was right back on top. I got some national titles under my belt. I am satisfied with my amateur career.
End Press Questions for Cory Spinks.
Conference call switches to Miguel Angel Gonzalez.
Question: What are your thoughts about fighting for the undisputed 147-pound championship?
Gonzalez: First of all, I would like to thank God for giving me this opportunity. I know it is through God’s grace and help that on Sept. 4, I will be the next welterweight champ of the world.
Question: Miguel, some think this is going to be an easy fight for Cory. What do you think?
Gonzalez: I have seen Cory Spinks. I admire and respect him. I think he is a good champion. But when I fight him, I will beat him.
Question: Do you have to win by knockout, or do you think you can win a decision?
Gonzalez: I am going to win by knockout.
Question: You have won your last four fights by knockouts against guys who had a combined record of 27-20. Is this an advantage or a disadvantage?
Gonzalez: I never chose my opponents. They just put them in front of me and I do what I have to do. Of course, Cory Spinks is another kind of rival, a lot better class. But that is why we have been training in Big Bear the last two months. I am in the best shape of my life, I am not going to just fight Cory Spinks, but defeat Cory Spinks.
Question: Miguel, how is your weight right now?
Gonzalez: I am 146 pounds.
Question: Is it unusual for you to be at weight or even under a week-plus out before a fight?
Gonzalez: I was kind of surprised that I made weight so easily, but I was no more than 153 to begin with. I have been working out so hard yet I have eaten well, so it is OK for me to be at this weight this early.
Question: Besides what is at stake, do you feel that you have something to prove?
Gonzalez: I want to fight for and win the title. I want to thank the Hispanics that live in the United States and I wanted to prove to myself that I could come back. That is why I am back.
Question: Does it intimidate you that Cory Spinks is from the Spinks family and he has that big boxing name? Also, what is your strategy against him?
Gonzalez: I would like to thank Spinks for giving me this opportunity to knock him out — because that is the strategy. I admire Cory for being a Spinks, but unfortunately, Cory is not fighting with his father or his uncle. He is fighting me “ a man like himself. That night, it will be just me and Cory. I would be worried if I were fighting Michael Spinks because he is a heavyweight, but I am fighting Cory who has two arms and two legs just like me.
Question: Miguel, you defended your title 10 times. Did you take care of your money and how much do you need this fight financially?
Gonzalez: Financially, I am set pretty good. I did not really need to come back for money. But, of course, because I signed for the championship and money is an incentive, I might as well take advantage of the opportunity. Winning will give me a greater financial incentive.
Question: It looked like you ran out of steam when you lost that split decision to Manuel Gomez back in 2001. What was going on with that fight?
Gonzalez: The fight with Gomez was a fight that I was not really motivated for before, during or after. That is why I decided to retire. But now I am more motivated than ever before. Also, by the way, Manuel Gomez refused to give us a rematch.
Question: Miguel, who have you been sparring with?
Gonzalez: It is nearing the end of sparring and I have gone through 17 sparring partners. One guy I work with now, welterweight Jose Celaya, is more elusive than Cory. I have sparred with a bunch of different pure, elusive, fast little southpaws from super middleweight all the way down to a super lightweight in preparation for this fight.
Question: Is there a fighter you have fought in your career that you could compare to Cory?
Gonzalez: No southpaw has ever beaten me. The only one that I can compare to Cory Spinks is David Sample, who I beat by decision.
Question: Do you believe that this is your final opportunity at a title shot?
Gonzalez: I have not thought about losing. That is not even in my mind. So that is why I have worked so hard for this fight. I just want to make sure that it is not just an opportunity but a victory.
Question: If you win, do you plan on continuing in this division or moving down in weight?
Gonzalez: This weight class is the one I want to be in.
Question: Do you think that fighting big name opponents like Oscar De La Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez have helped as you prepare for this?
Gonzalez: Fighting fighters like them has given me a lot of satisfaction, and it also gets me prepared for a fight like this. Even though it is not on the grand scale of fighting someone like De La Hoya, it is for a championship for the world. That is why I feel a little bit more relaxed.
Question: When you retire and you look back on your career, what will you see as your brightest moment?
Gonzalez: I will think of being the lightweight and the welterweight champion. I just want to win this championship. That is my ultimate goal right now. Then defend it a few times. After I beat Cory Spinks and take his belt, I would love to fight Floyd Mayweather.
End of Press Questions for Miguel Angel Gonzalez.
Gonzalez: I would like to thank everybody for participating on this call. I will give all the Mexicans the gold medal that Mexico could not get in the Olympics.