Don King has promoted many of the biggest main events and best undercards in boxing history, and he’s still building great shows as evidenced by the fact he has added another world championship to his “Gateway to Greatness” on Aug. 7 in St. Louis, which is now a world championship tripleheader. King had said he would move the IBF junior middleweight championship featuring titleholder Cory Spinks against IBF mandatory challenger Cornelius “K9” Bundrage—originally scheduled for June 12— to Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Aug. 7. He made it official today.
In King’s other two world championship fights, WBC and IBF 140-pound champion Devon Alexander “The Great” (20-0, 13 KOs) will defend against former WBA junior welterweight champion Andriy Kotelnik (31-3-1, 13 KOs), and IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud (20-0, 18 KOs) will face the former holder of that belt, Glen Johnson (50-13-2, 34 KOs).
“Many sportswriters have been lamenting that other promoters do not present top-to-bottom stellar cards like I have always done, and they are exactly right,” King said. “I have even read where other promoters are now saying they are attempting to build cards like I do. Well, St. Louis, I want you to know that I’ve already put three world championships on my upcoming Scottrade Center card, and I’m not done yet!”
Tickets priced at $17.50, $35, $70, $150 and $300 are on sale at Scottrade Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or online at ticketmaster.com. A per ticket facility fee will be added to all tickets purchased at all locations, including at the Scottrade Center Box Office. Additional Ticketmaster service charges and handling fees apply. For disabled seating, call 314-622-5420. The event is promoted by Don King Productions. Doors to the event open at 5:30 p.m.
Spinks (37-5, 11 KOs), 32, is a five-time world champion who hails from the legendary fighting family of St. Louis that includes his father, Leon, and uncle, Michael—both former world heavyweight champions.
Cory will be fighting for the first time under new coach James “Buddy” McGirt, a former welterweight world champion before he became one of the top trainers in the sport.
Bundrage (29-4, 17 KOs), from Detroit, is also trained by a legend, Boxing Hall of Fame member Emanuel Steward from the Motor City’s famed Kronk Gym. Steward is also known for his television work as a boxing analyst for HBO.
In his last appearance, Spinks gave a gritty, crowd-pleasing performance when he took on rising young cross-town rival Deandre “The Bull” Latimore. The vacant IBF 154-pound crown was on the line when the southpaws met on April 24, 2009, at Scottrade Center.
Latimore lived up to his nickname as he charged his former idol from the opening bell, winging power shots. Midway through the opening stanza, Latimore landed a heavy straight left hand that sent Spinks to the canvas. To his credit, the veteran rose to his feet and regained his composure.
By round eight the tide had turned in Spinks’ favor as the power-punching Latimore began to fade. Still, Spinks had to make a dramatic rally and sweep the three judges’ scorecards in the 12th and final round. He did just that to earn a split-decision win.
Spinks captured his first world title by defeating Michele Piccirillo in 2003 to take the IBF welterweight championship. He added the WBC and WBA 147-pound titles by defeating Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga later that year.
After successfully defending his crowns in 2004 with a unanimous decision win over Zab “Super” Judah in a back-and-forth affair that saw both fighters hitting the mat, Spinks agreed to a rematch the following year. It was held in front of sellout crowd of 22,370 at Savvis Center (precursor to Scottrade Center), which was the second-largest attendance in boxing history for a match at an indoor arena. Judah scored a technical knockout in round nine to spoil Spinks’ homecoming.
After moving up to the 154-pound weight division in 2006, Spinks became a world champion again by defeating Roman “Made in Hell” Karmazin.
He took a one-time gamble the following year at 160 pounds by challenging then-WBC and -WBO middleweight champion Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor in Memphis.
Taylor had trouble exerting his will over Spinks, who proved he could compete at the higher weight by darting in and out of range while successfully landing punches during exchanges. Ringside experts and judges also had difficulty agreeing on a winner after the fight went the full 12 rounds. In a rarity, one judge favored Spinks by the wide margin of 117-111, while another judge favored Taylor by the same score. The third judge favored Taylor 115-113 to break the deadlock.
Spinks lost the IBF junior middleweight title he still held by dropping a split decision to Verno Phillips in 2008. Phillips subsequently vacated the title, which paved the way for Spinks to step in and regain his belt against Latimore last year.
The talented and determined Bundrage’s biggest triumph came in 2008 on a unanimous 10-round decision over former world champion Kassim Ouma. A victory over Spinks would be a career highlight for the top IBF junior middleweight challenger, earning Bundrage his first-ever world championship at age 37.
Another proud St. Louisan, undefeated cruiserweight contender Ryan “The Irish Outlaw” Coyne (14-0, 4 KOs), will face fellow unbeaten Warren “The Hit Man” Browning (12-0-1, 8 KOs), from London, Ky., for the vacant WBC USNBC cruiserweight crown.
A collegiate football player at University of Missouri in 2001 to 2002, Coyne has made steady progress and maintained an unblemished record since turning professional in 2006. He fought into the semi-finals during the fourth season of The Contender, televised on Versus, before suffering an accidental headbutt that forced him to leave the competition.
He is expected to face the toughest test of his young career against the sharp-shooter Browning.
Coyne trains out of the Sweat Pound 4 Pound Gym in Clayton, Mo., under the tutelage of trainer Jose Ponce. He recently added strength and conditioning expert Matt Brown, which has increased his power.