Friday, March 24, 2023  |



Spinks wants critics to recognize his talent


By the time Cory Spinks enters the ring on June 12 to face Cornelius Bundrage, he’ll have gone 14 months without a fight. That’s not good for a guy who makes his living as a prizefighter.

Fighters fight. Or they starve.

A smart-ass would say Spinks has had 42 professional fights and hasn’t fought yet, so what’s the difference?

A lot of guys don’t like soft-handed boxers like Spinks, who has scored just 11 knockouts while going 37-5 over a 13-year pro career. A lot of fans want to see a guy stand in one spot and eat punches all night like they’re so many M&Ms.

That’s not Spinks. At least, it didn’t used to be. In a split-decision win over Deandre Latimore last year, Spinks stood his ground and out-punched a younger, fresher opponent.

Afterward it was confusing to many to have to describe a Cory Spinks fight as “entertaining,” but that’s what it was. It was a long way from his desultory affair with Jermain Taylor in 2007.

Don’t suggest to Spinks that he’s changed his style.

“I can fight any way I want,” Spinks recently told “People don’t know that about me. I can fight coming forward. It was my choice to hit and not get hit, which is what boxing means. I’m always going to show my talent but I can also put a little hurt on you too.”

Spinks said he is versatile enough to handle whatever Bundrage, largely a muscle-bound clubber, can bring.

“Whatever it takes to beat Bundrage, I’ll do it,” Spinks said. “If I feel that I can stay there and get him out of there, I’ll do that. If I have to box him, I’ll do that. It’s about adjustments in the ring, too.

“So I’m not worried about what he’s bringing to the table. He can come forward all he wants. He’ll be in for a big surprise.”

Potentially more troublesome for Spinks is the inactivity that has almost certainly harmed his career. He’s fought just six times in the last five years

When I asked him how it happened that he hasn’t fought in a year, he gave me the usual fighter’s lament about different things going wrong, dates falling through, etc.

He also said, “It’s the promoter’s job to keep you active.”

Spinks is promoted by Don King, who has a long history of making a big production of signing guys and then neglecting them. One has to think only of the largely wasted career of Tim Austin, a terrific bantamweight belt holder in the early 2000s.

Spinks, who ended a long relationship with Kevin Cunningham and is now with Buddy McGirt, admitted he wants to be busier but stopped short of criticizing his promoter.

“You can’t worry about it,” he said about the lack of activity. “You just have to know that when your time comes you have to be ready. Our relationship is OK. I’m happy with where I’m at now and looking forward to bigger and better things. But he also has to deliver.”

So too does Spinks, who feels he’s been under-appreciated throughout his career.

“I’m just trying to show the talent that I have, because I didn’t have to learn how to box,” he said. “It was a gift from God, something I was blessed with. That’s something I want to show, that not a lot of fighters are blessed with the talent I have.

“I just want my critics to know that I’m one hell of a fighter.”

Whether he is or not, his promoter owes him the opportunity to try to prove it.

Some random observations from last week:

Saturday night’s Boxing After Dark broadcast sailed along as though it were suddenly free of a 6foot-5, 250-pound albatross. Between that and Max Kellerman’s maturation as a keenly articulate analyst, the BAD team has come a very long way indeed. ÔǪ

Speaking of improved broadcast teams, as a prior stint on ShoBox implied, Curt Menefee is an entirely competent blow-by-blow man, especially for a football guy. Kudos to Showtime for bringing him back. 

The rumors are true: Sergiy Dzinziruk is going to be a hard out for anyone at 154 pounds. Same with Amir Khan at 140. …

Note to John David Jackson: With all those “good rounds” for Nate Campbell, I’d hate to see what you think a bad round looks like. ÔǪ

The Kahn-Malignaggi weigh-in melee was at least as entertaining as the fight. It’s great fun watching the suits have anxiety attacks when things get a little out of control. This is the fight business, boys. Take a Xanax, sit back and enjoy the ride. ÔǪ

Anyone else find Harold Lederman more annoying than usual Saturday night? 

My apologies to Main Events for writing last week that Steve Cunningham had left them for Sauerland Promotions, and my thanks to those of you who wrote to straighten me out. It was Don King Productions that Cunningham left. You can guess why. 

Why would anyone want to see Winky Wright in a boxing ring again, particularly against Sergio Martinez? 

I never thought I’d see a fighter better at moving his mouth and saying absolutely nothing than prime Oscar De La Hoya. Then I watched editor Michael Rosenthal’s interview with Victor Ortiz on this site. One word: Wowi>. If he wants it, Ortiz has a brilliant future in politics. ÔǪ

Make no mistake: To the extent that anyone can be coddled in this business, Ortiz has been coddled. And there’s more coddling where that came from. As far as fighters go, he’s softer than a Larry King interview. ÔǪ

There is no way that Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez IV can be as brutal as their third meeting. If it is, boxing has no place in a civilized society. Or this one.

Bill Dettloff, THE RING magazine’s Senior Writer, is the co-author, along with Joe Frazier, of “Box Like the Pros.” He is currently working on a biography of Ezzard Charles. Bill can be contacted at [email protected]