Cory Spinks returned home to St. Louis with one thought in mind: Redemption. Spinks even had the word printed on the backs of t-shirts for all the members in his entourage to wear. It was a word that fit his purpose well. After all, the last time Spinks fought in St. Louis he was punished by eventual winner Zab Judah. Most of Spinks’ hometown following was left in a daze and many wondered if the one-time world champion would ever return to championship form.
That was 17 months ago, before Spinks got the chance to escape to rural Iowa and train at promoter Don King’s boxing gym. Against Judah, Spinks fought at a lower weight class and complained of not having any pop in his punch. The St. Louis native believed that returning to his more natural weight division, 154-pounds, would allow him to be at his best.
Spinks proved that thought to be true and gained every ounce of redemption as he beat Roman Karmazin in 12 rounds for the IBF junior-middleweight title, Saturday. Other than entering the ring to a live performance, the two fights were vastly different for Spinks. Criticized for his lethargy against Judah, Spinks came out with lots of energy against Karmazin and hung on just enough to convince two out of three judges he was the better fighter that night.
Karmazin seemed confused and surprised by Spinks’ quick feet, jabs, and left hook early in the fight. But it was Spinks who looked to fatigue midway through the fight as Karmazin took control in the seventh round. Perhaps driven by the crowd’s chant of “Cory, Cory,” Spinks displayed enough elusiveness and found enough energy to reclaim his spot as champion.
An emotional Spinks said after the victory, he’ll now seek a big money fight with Floyd Mayweather. Maybe Spinks will replace those redemption t-shirts with ones that say “CHAMP.”