31.01.07 – By Kirk Allen: IBF light middleweight champion Cory Spinks (35-3, 11 KO’s) returns to the ring on Saturday night when he defends his title against Rodney Jones (37-3-1, 22 KO’s) at the Silver Spurs Arena, in Kissimmee, Florida. Spinks, 28, is coming off of a controversial majority decision over Roman Karmazin in July 8, 2006, a fight that many people thought should have gone to Karmazin based on his superior work-rate and harder blows landed. Nevertheless, Spinks got the win, whether it be the case of an old fashioned home down decision, it matters little at this point now that the bout is behind him. In Jones, 38, Spinks is presented with arguably his easiest opponent in years, possibly dating back as far as 2002.
Though, Jones is ranked as the #1 challenger in the IBF, it hasn’t come about because of wins over solid, top-ranked opponents, since Jones has hasn’t beaten any of those, aside from a 12-round decision over Raul Frank on February 24, 2006, an opponent that I personally don’t consider to be a top 10 light middleweight.
That, in fact, was Jones’ last fight, and since then, he’s been inactive. Not a good a sign for a fighter as old as Jones, particularly when having to face a fighter as slick, and talented as Spinks.
Up to this point, Jones’s career high point came in 1996, when he defeated Antonio Margarito, then 18-years old, winning an easy 10-round decision over the inexperienced Margarito. Coming after that big win, though not considered big at the time, Jones would later win the WBO NABO light middleweight title by stopping Jose Alfredo Flores in the 11th round in November 18, 1996. Jones would successfully defend the title six times before challenging Harry Simon, the WBO light middleweight champion, in September 23, 2000, a bout that Jones would lose by a disappointing majority 12-round decision.
Though, Jones was later to win the vacant NABF Light Middleweight Title in a 9th round knockout over Andres Pacheco in April 15, 2004, it was bittersweet, for there was more expected of Jones earlier in his career by many ring experts, whom thought Jones capable of winning a major belt. As it is, Jones likely could not hope for a better chance at a title than this, for Spinks doesn’t have the power or offensive arsenal to worry Jones like, for example, Shane Mosley or Oscar De La Hoya would. However, Spinks is capable of landing powerful shots on rare occasions, as Zab Judah could probably testify, so Jones will have to keep his guard up and not get sloppy.
Spinks, the younger son of Leon Spinks, a former Olympic gold medal boxer, Cory was largely ignored as a fighter until 2003, when he shocked an out of shape Ricardo Mayorga, winning a 12-round majority decision to capture the IBF/WBA/WBC welterweight titles. Spinks defended the title twice, beating Zab Judah and Miguel Angel Gonzalez, both by 12-round decision in 2004. However, in February 5, 2005, Spinks was stopped in the 9th round by Judah, a win made worse by the fact that it occurred in front of Spink’s home town fans in St. Louis. After that defeat, many people thought that Spinks was washed up, finished as a welterweight, partly due to his poor showing, but also because of the new blood that had emerged in the division, namely Antonio Margarito and Paul Williams. Nevertheless, instead of sticking around and perhaps having to test himself against one of these offensive machines, Spinks decided to wise up and move up to the junior middleweight division, where the pickings appeared easier with a relatively unknown Roman Karmazin sitting at the top.
Now, after beating Karmazin in a close battle, Spinks appears to have few threats to his title in the near future, aside from fighters like Rodney Jones, ones that he can easily win, in other words. Spinks’ defensive style, counter-punching style, make him not a particularly attractive opponent for the big name fighters in the junior middleweight division, like De La Hoya, Mayweather, and Mosley. Though, if Spinks can can get by Jones and perhaps one or two other little-known opponents, there’s a possibility of a match up with a big named opponent down the rode, maybe even Mayweather, if he doesn’t retire following his match with Del La Hoya.