Cory Spinks is approaching his rematch with Zab Judah by following this simple philosophy: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
So when Spinks and Judah climb into the ring on Saturday night in St. Louis, with the undisputed welterweight title on the line, don’t look for a drastic change from the Spinks corner.
"We may do a few things slightly different just to give him a few different looks," said Kevin Cunningham, Spinks’ trainer and manager. "For the most part, we’re pretty much gonna do what we did last time, just a little bit better. Cory knows he can beat Zab."
Added Spinks: "He’s a good boxer, but I don’t think he can outbox me. I learned from my mistakes and his mistakes and I plan to exploit them in this fight. I just have to keep doing what I was doing."
Spinks managed to retain his title last April with a unanimous decision – 114-112 twice and 116-111. From the Spinks perspective, the mistake was coasting in the second half of the fight and getting dropped in the 12th round.
"I kind of got distracted from what I was doing," said Spinks. "I started to fall into his plan. But you learn from your mistakes. I just have to stay focused and stay on my game."
Much has been made of Judah’s power advantage and the Judah camp has talked openly about being aggressive and taking the fight to Spinks. When asked if the New Yorker hurt him at all during the first bout, Spinks admitted the knockdown got his attention.
"But it was a flash knockdown," said Spinks. "I prefer him to be aggressive."
It hardly appeared to be a flash knockdown. Spinks was clearly hurt and if the knockdown did not occur late in the round, the result may have been different. In a conference call last week, Judah admitted that knowing he was able to hurt Spinks has given him confidence for the rematch.
Despite that, Cunningham dismissed the knockdown and didn’t think it would be a factor this time around.
"Cory got a little bored," he said. "So much is at stake in this fight, he can’t afford to get bored. He got caught with a decent shot, but it was more about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It definitely won’t affect him this fight."
While Judah may have the psychological advantage of scoring a knockdown, Spinks does carry the advantage of knowing he already beat Zab. And he believes he will do it again.
"I trained harder and I feel much better than the first fight," he said. "I’m ready to go do my thing. I think I will win the fight."
Judah (32-2, 23 KOs) is not your typical southpaw. He is quick and a capable boxer, but he has enough power to turn a fight in his favor with a single punch. On the other hand, Spinks (34-2, 10 KOs) is a classic southpaw molded in the form of Pernell Whitaker. He boxes and moves and counters effectively.
"I think Cory is really just starting to come into his own," said Cunningham. "I don’t think fans have seen the best of Cory yet. He’s going to execute his game plan. There is nothing Zab can possibly do to try and stop him from executing that plan. He’s going to put on one of the finest boxing exhibitions the boxing community has seen in a long time."
Cory Spinks vs. Zab Judah is on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2005. In the co-feature, Owen “What The Heck” Beck faces Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett in a 12-round heavyweight elimination bout. SHOWTIME will televise the doubleheader at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?