The three best boxers in St. Louis will be showcased on the same Don King-promoted fight card at Scottrade Center on Friday, April 24. The main event will feature the long-awaited hometown showdown for the vacant International Boxing Federation junior middleweight championship between former four-time world champion Cory “The Next Generation” Spinks (36-5, 11 KOs) taking on IBF No. 6-ranked contender Deandre “The Bull” Latimore (19-1, 16 KOs). The co-feature showcases the Gateway City’s fastest-rising star, undefeated World Boxing Council No. 1-ranked super lightweight Devon Alexander “The Great” (17-0, 10 KOs) meeting an opponent to be announced. Both fights will be televised on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME beginning at 11 p.m. ET/PT (10 p.m. CT, delayed on the West Coast). A full undercard will be presented. Doors open at 6 p.m.
“I love St. Louis and I’m happy to have the top three prizefighters from this great American city on the same card at Scottrade Center,” King said. “Spring is almost here so it’s the perfect time to meet me in St. Louis on April 24 to see the best of the old and best of the new. It’s going to be what we call a Lou thing.”
Tickets, all in the lower bowl, priced at $100 ringside, $60, $40, $25 and $10 (with a limited number of Golden Circle seats available at $300) are on sale now 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 with Spinks vs. Latimore presented in association with Rumble Time Promotions and DiBella Entertainment.
Spinks, 31, is a former undisputed welterweight champion who also held the IBF junior middleweight championship, a crown he won in St. Louis on July 8, 2006, by winning a majority decision over then-champion Roman “Made in Hell” Karmazin.
Spinks lost that title at Scottrade Center on March 27, 2008, dropping a split decision to Verno Phillips after making the decision to split with his longtime trainer and manager Kevin Cunningham. Spinks and Cunningham have since reconciled and are working together again, and Phillips has vacated the title to move up to the middleweight division. Spinks thinks he will regain the title because his vast world championship experience will be too much for his 23-year-old cross-town rival.
“Deandre faced my stablemate Devon Alexander in the amateurs when they were both coming up,” Spinks said. “My question to Deandre is who have you faced? The first time he met a guy with a winning record, Ian Gardner knocked him out in three. He stopped Sechew Powell in his last fight but he’s not ready for me yet.”
Latimore, 23, met Powell in the biggest fight of his young career during his most-recent appearance on June 11 at the Hard Rock Times Square in New York. Powell had earned the IBF’s No. 1 ranking in the junior middleweight division and was mandatory challenger to face the newly crowned champion Phillips but decided to face Latimore first.
The match was competitive until the seventh round when Latimore broke through, hurting Powell with a right hook. Latimore rocked Powell again with an uppercut before pinning him in a corner. Powell’s lack of an appropriate response led the referee to halt the contest in a major upset victory for Latimore.
Latimore co-promoter Lou DiBella, president of DiBella Entertainment, is looking forward to the event. “It is an honor to work on this show with Don King, as well as co-promote boxing’s next great young champion, Deandre Latimore, with our partner Rumble Time Promotions,” DiBella said. “The Battle of St. Lou will guarantee high drama.”
Alexander, a 22-year-old phenom who is also trained by Cunningham, was recently named mandatory challenger to the WBC 140-pound champion, so he has his first world championship match riding on this fight.
“A world championship fight is what I have been working towards my whole life,” Alexander said. “To earn that chance in front of my hometown fans in St. Louis would mean a lot to me.”
Spinks won his first world title by defeating Michele Piccirillo in 2003 to become the IBF welterweight champion. He added the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association 147-pound titles by defeating Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga later that year.
After successfully defending his crowns with a unanimous decision win over Zab “Super” Judah in a seesaw affair in 2004 that saw both fighters hitting the canvas, Spinks agreed to a rematch with Judah in front of a record crowd of 22,370 in his hometown on Feb. 5, 2005. Judah scored a technical knockout in round nine to spoil Spinks’s homecoming.
After moving up to 154 pounds and becoming world champion again, Spinks took a one-time gamble at 160 pounds to challenge then-World Boxing Council and -World Boxing Organization middleweight champion Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor at the FedEx Forum in Memphis on May 19, 2007.
Taylor experienced tremendous difficulty exerting his will over Spinks, who proved he could compete at the higher weight by darting in and out of range while landing during exchanges. Ringside experts and judges had difficulty agreeing on a winner after the fight went the distance. 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.
Nick Charles will describe the ShoBox action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood serving as expert anlyst The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phil dir directing.
For more information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go to the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http://sports.sho.com.