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Spinks, Judah have Oscar on their minds

2/3/2005

Better break out the shades this Saturday during the welterweight world
championship rematch between southpaws Cory Spinks and Zab Judah.

With three world title belts dangling for the winner, viewers are going to
see more sparkle than cleaning day at Tiffany's when Spinks defends his
world championship against Judah at the Savvis Center in St. Louis. The
fight will be televised on Showtime.

And if that's not enough bling, the winner gets a shot at fighting the
Golden Boy.

With Oscar De La Hoya announcing his return to the world of 147-pounders,
those title belts may look shiny, but the chance to fight for possibly $10
million or more intensifies the whole affair come Saturday.

"I'd love to fight Oscar De La Hoya," said Spinks (34-2, 10 KOs), who
despite capturing all three titles when he defeated Ricardo Mayorga more
than a year ago and defending it against Judah last year, hasn't dazzled the
boxing world.

Expect both Spinks and Judah to fight with a lot more zeal.

"I am prepared to go in there and do what I have to do in this fight," said
Spinks, who will be fighting in his hometown.

Judah, a hip-hop influenced boxer straight out of Brooklyn, nearly beat
Spinks in their first encounter when he dropped him with a straight left
hand near the end of the 12th and final round. But he couldn't deliver the
finishing blow before the bell rang.

"The good thing is we don't have 30 seconds; we have 12 more rounds," said
Judah (32-2, 23 KOs), referring to their first fight when he ran out of time
after dropping Spinks with 30 seconds left in the fight. "I think it will be
interesting."

Prior to the 11th round, Spinks and Judah parried lightly with neither
fighter willing to take a chance. But after Judah was knocked down with a
left hand at close quarters, he cranked up the knockout machine and caught
the St. Louis fighter with his own left-hand bomb.

Spinks, whose father is Leon Spinks, the former heavyweight world champion
who beat Muhammad Ali in the '70s, knows this is his chance to break into the
elite.

In the world of professional boxing nothing means more to the fighters than
battling for million-dollar paychecks. For the last 10 years De La Hoya has
been the golden goose for any prizefighter near his weight class. From
lightweight to middleweight, boxers everywhere salivated at the chance of
fighting the East Los Angeles native.

Before De La Hoya declared he was returning to the welterweights while at a
press conference at the Staples Center several weeks ago, that weight
division was suffering from lack of attention. Not now.

Along with De La Hoya, Sugar Shane Mosley also announced he was
dropping down in weight for a second rendezvous with the welterweights.

Antonio Margarito, the WBO welterweight title-holder, had stated he was
moving up in weight for more lucrative paydays. No longer. With De La Hoya
and Mosley back in the division, he's staying put.

At the junior welterweight level, WBC title-holder Kostya Tszyu said he
would like to fight De La Hoya and so has his last victim Sharmba Mitchell,
a quick southpaw from Washington, D.C.

To borrow a line from St. Louis rapper Nelly, "It's getting hot in here."

He's got to be talking about the welterweights.

"I am going to put on the best performance of my life," said Spinks with De
La Hoya on his mind.

"If I don't win another fight, I will win this fight right here," said Judah.