Memphis, March 29-Undefeated World Middleweight Champion Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor will put his titles on the line for the fourth time when 154-lb world champion Cory “The Next Generation” Spinks moves up to middleweight to challenge him on Saturday night, May 19th, at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. DiBella Entertainment and Don King Productions will present the boxing extravaganza, which will be Taylor’s second championship defense in Memphis..
The victor in this compelling title encounter pitting Taylor (26-0-1, 17 KO’s), the youthful megastar and favorite son of Arkansas against Spinks (36-3,11 KO’s), fighting out of St. Louis, Missouri, will emerge as a leader in boxing’s best pound for pound rankings. HBO Sports World Championship Boxing will televise. Taylor first captured the undisputed middleweight championship against the legendary Bernard Hopkins on July 16, 2006 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV, with a 12 round split decision triumph, and defended the title for the first time against Hopkins on December 3, 2005 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas with a unanimous decision victory.
Taylor has since defended his title twice in 2006, first in Memphis in a controversial draw against Winky Wright on June 17, and last December 9 defeating former champion Kassim Ouma in Little Rock.
Spinks rose to boxing stardom by scoring a majority-decision win over Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga to become the Undisputed World Welterweight Champion on December 13, 2003. Spinks was a 5 to 1 underdog heading into the fight with Mayorga.
Championships run in the Spinks family bloodlines. Cory is the son of former world heavyweight champion Leon Spinks, and the nephew of Michael Spinks, yet another former world heavyweight champion. Spinks is the current IBF Junior Middleweight Champion of the World and Ring Magazine’s #2.
“Jermain is fighting the best of the best, a World Champion from the neighboring state of Missouri. Cory Spinks is a great fighter and it will be Champion vs. Champion in Memphis, May 19th in a city vs. city true Border Battle,” said Lou DiBella, president of DiBella Entertainment.
“I know Don King will be ecstatic about Barbecuefest. He knows as much about barbecue as he does boxing.”
The Barbecuefest that DiBella alluded to takes place every May in Memphis and is inspired by the regions’ appetite for pork barbecue. Crowned as the barbecue cooking capital of the world, Memphis is the natural place for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. The three day affair is one of Memphis in May’s most popular events and draws crowds in the hundreds of thousands.
“It is going to be a great night. Memphis in May, the fight, and the barbeque thing,” said Taylor. “I have known Cory since he was a kid. I am looking forward to fighting him. I am coming in to win because that’s what I do. Everyone, come on out, and have a good time.”
“I’m a big believer in Cory Spinks and his abilities,” said Don King of Don King Productions, “but he’s got his work cut out for him against the young lion Jermain Taylor. That is why this is a fight the fans will want to see.”
“The outcome of the fight will not be determined until these two settle the matter in the ring.”
“I’m happy to get this fight,” Spinks said. “I’ve known Jermain since the amateurs when we traveled together. This fight reminds me of when my uncle Mike stepped up in weight to face Larry Holmes. Here’s to the Spinks jinx striking again.”
“I’ve always said I’m willing to fight the best and my history proves that.”
“I think this fight is going to be a great one,” said Kevin Cunningham, Spinks’ manager and trainer. “Fans will be seeing the best
junior middleweight in the world against the best middleweight in the world. What you have here is the bigger, stronger guy in Taylor against the smaller, faster guy in Spinks. This is similar to the match up between De La Hoya and Mayweather later this year.”
“This will be the biggest fight in Memphis since Mike Tyson versus Lennox Lewis.”
“We are honored that Memphis and FedExForum were selected to host this exciting championship fight” said Stephen A. Zito, Sr. VP of Arena Operations.
Tickets are priced at $550, $450, $250, $125, $95, $45, and $25 for students, seniors, and active military and will go on sale on Wednesday, April 4 at 10:00 AM Central time. Tickets are available at the FedExForum Box Office, All Ticketmaster Outlets, www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at 901-525-1515.
For more information, visit www.fedexforum.com.