ST. LOUIS—Don King has assembled a tremendous boxing undercard supporting his Gateway to Glory main event of International Boxing Federation junior middleweight champion Roman “Made in Hell” Karmazin defending his title against St. Louis’s own former undisputed world welterweight champion Cory “The Next Generation” Spinks on July 8 at Savvis Center.
World title implications abound with four fighters on the card returning to the ring for the first time after surrendering their titles (Spinks, Daniel Santos, Jean-Marc Mormeck and Maselino Masoe).
The vacant 200-pound limit IBF cruiserweight championship will be will be decided when respective IBF No. 1- and No. 2-ranked fighters Steve “USS” Cunningham and Guillermo “El Felino” Jones meet in a rematch that has been added to the SHOWTIME Championship Boxing telecast, along with the main event, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
In their first meeting on April 2, 2005, Cunningham won a split decision by disparate scores in Worcester, Mass. Two judges favored Cunningham with one at 97-93 and the second closer at 96-94. The final judge saw Jones as the wide-margin winner at 97-93.
Cunningham was to have faced undisputed cruiserweight world champion O’Neil “Supernova” Bell in March, but Bell opted to not fight and was stripped of the IBF belt.
“I guess Bell would rather lose his title rather than face me,” Cunningham said, “and that’s fine with me. Jones and I have earned the right to fight for the title. The Panamanian is a gutsy guy but nothing’s going to keep me from winning the world title.”
Cunningham (19-0, 10 KOs), 29, was born and raised in Philadelphia before joining the Navy in 1994 straight out of high school where he discovered boxing. He turned professional in 2000 and has remained undefeated.
The veteran Jones, (33-3-2, 26 KOs), 36, from Colon, Panama, holds one of the most miraculous stories in the history of boxing. He fought his first 15 fights at the 147-pound welterweight limit. Since then he has moved up an astonishing 53 pounds, twice skipping two entire divisions moving up in weight.
After losing the split-decision to Cunningham, Jones has rallied to score back-to-back fourth-round technical knockout wins over two former cruiserweight world champions. He defeated former IBF titlist Kelvin “Konkrete” Davis in Chicago on May 21, 2005, and former World Boxing Council king Wayne “Big Truck” Braithwaite in Cleveland on Sept. 3.
Jean-Marc Mormeck, (31-3, 21 KOs), from France, will make his first appearance since surrendering his World Boxing Association and WBC cruiserweight titles to Bell at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 7. Mormeck started strong against Bell but was unable to finish him.
Mormeck’s quick start led to fatigue in the later rounds, but he was still ahead on one scorecard going into the 10th round. Late in that round Bell knocked Mormeck down, and The Frenchman was unable to beat the count.
If Mormeck wins this scheduled 10-round attraction against “Dangerous” Damon Reed, (41-22, 29 KOs), from Topeka, Kan., he could be in line for another title shot in a rematch against Bell or the winner of Cunningham vs. Jones.
Maselino Masoe vs. Randy “The Gentleman” Griffin
World Boxing Association Middleweight Elimination to Become No. 1 Challenger
Former WBA middleweight champion Maselino Masoe will face Randy “The Gentleman” Griffin in an elimination match to determine the No. 1 position.
Masoe (26-3, 25 KOs), a Western Samoan now living in South Auckland, New Zealand, lost his title after suffering a unanimous decision loss on March 11 in Hamburg, Germany, to Felix Sturm—a fighter best known for a narrow loss against “The Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya that many felt he had won.
Griffin (23-1-2, 12 KOs), from Philadelphia, has not lost in his last 14 matches. His lone defeat came early in his career when he lost a six-round decision in 2002. This is clearly the biggest fight of Griffin’s career, and a win here would catapult him into the thick of the best middleweights in the world.
The fourth former world champion on the card making his first appearance since losing his world title will be Daniel Santos, a two-time world champion that lost his crown in a close decision against Sergiy Dzinziruk on Dec. 3 in Magdeburg, Germany.
Santos (29-3-1, 20 KOs), from Puerto Rico, became the World Boxing Organization welterweight champion in 2000 and retained his crown four times before moving up in 2002 to win the WBO title at the 154-pound limit, which he successfully defended four times—one a technical decision win over Antonio Margarito—prior to facing Dzinziruk.
Santos looks to get back on the winning track against Keith Clevenger (10-6, 7 KOs), from Independence, Mo.
Three-time WBA middleweight champion William Joppy (36-4-1, 27 KOs) will make his second appearance at super middleweight when he faces veteran Jonathan “Native Sensation” Corn (44-14-2, 23 KOs), from Menominee Territory, Wis.
Joppy has faced great fighters in his career like Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran, Julio Cesar Green, Felix “Tito” Trinidad, Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins and Jermain Taylor. The 35-year-old Joppy would like to capture a super middleweight world title before he hangs up his gloves.
Undefeated Devon “The Great” Alexander (8-0, 3 KOs), a 19-year-old from St. Louis, will compete for the WBC Youth Welterweight championship against Tyler Ziolkowski (8-3, 6 KOs), from St. Joseph, Mo. A recent graduate of Vashon High School, local favorite Alexander wants to remain undefeated and further develop his skills in a scheduled eight-round contest.
Rounding out the undercard are two undefeated heavyweight prospects: Mario Preskar (9-0-1, 6 KOs), from Zagreb, Croatia, will meet Matt Greer (7-2, 6 KOs), of Parkville, Mo., while Bermane “B-Ware” Stiverne (6-0, 6 KOs), from Las Vegas, takes on undefeated Franklin Lawrence (4-0, 3 KOs), from Indianapolis.
Middleweight Louis Turner (3-0, 2 KOs), from Chicago, will square off against Andy Utterback (3-3, 3 KOs), from Hannibal, Mo., in a match scheduled for four rounds.
Tickets priced at $25, $45, $60, $100, $200, $300 and $500 are on sale at Savvis Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers including Famous-Barr, Schnucks Video Clubs, Streetside Records, the BlueNote Sports Shops and the IceZone at St. Louis Mills or by speaking to a sales representative by phone at (314) 421-4400 or (618) 222-2900. Tickets can also be purchased on the automated phone line at (314) 241-1888 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. The event, Gateway to Glory, is being promoted by Don King Productions and Savvis Center in association with Budweiser. Karmazin vs. Spinks and Cunningham vs. Jones will be broadcast domestically in a special edition world championship doubleheader on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.