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Ticket Alert: Spinks-Bundrage

Bob Barton

Don King Productions returns to the Gateway City of St. Louis on Saturday, June 12 to present a world championship fight card featuring hometown star Cory “The Next Generation” Spinks defending his International Boxing Federation title against IBF No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger Cornelius “K9″ Bundrage at Chaifetz Arena at Saint Louis University. Tickets priced at $28, $50, $87, and $200 go on sale on Saturday (May 15) at 10 a.m. at MetroTix.com, the Chaifetz Arena Box Office, MetroTix outlets at select Schnucks and Macy’s stores, or charge by phone at (314) 534-1111. This will be the first world championship boxing match at Chaifetz Arena.

Spinks (37-5, 11 KOs), 33, 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 career 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 in St. Louis.

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’s favor as the power-punching Latimore began to fade. Still, Spinks had to sweep the three judges’ scorecards in the 12th and final round to earn a split-decision win.

Spinks won his first world title by defeating Michele Piccirillo in 2003 to capture the IBF welterweight championship. 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 in 2004 with a unanimous decision win over Zab “Super” Judah in a back-and-forth affair that saw both fighters hitting the canvas, Spinks agreed to a rematch with Judah the following year. It was held in front of sellout crowd of 22,370 in his hometown, which will be remembered as 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 limit 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-World Boxing Council and -World Boxing Organization middleweight champion Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor at the FedEx Forum 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 left the door open for Spinks to step in and regain his belt when he faced Latimore last year.

Bundrage’s biggest win came in 2008 in a unanimous 10-round decision over former world champion Kassim Ouma. His hard work has made him the IBF’s top junior middleweight challenger. A win against Spinks would be the highlight of Bundrage’s career, earning him his first-ever world championship.

Another St. Louisan, undefeated cruiserweight contender Ryan “The Irish Outlaw” Coyne (14-0, 4 KOs), will return to Chaifetz Arena to appear on this card. A collegiate football player at University of Missouri from 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 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.




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