Zab Judah Solves the Riddle of the Spinks
By Coyote Duran (February 6, 2005)  
Photo © German Villasenor
Who’d a thunk it?

Who would have thought that such cautious beginnings would give birth to a rebirth and death to a dream? Wasn’t this a lead-pipe cinch, kids? I mean, former two-time junior welterweight titlist Zab 'Super' Judah wasn’t really going to beat undisputed 147 pound kingpin Cory 'The Next Generation' Spinks, was he?

Spinks, who entered the Savvis Center (as my grandpa would say) “kicking up a stocking” with multi-platinum R&B artist Nelly, had the city of St. Louis in his pocket and their dreams on his shoulders. It was gonna be easy money (even easier with over a mil for the champ and only 100 large for his challenger!) and an easy night for 'The Spinks Jinx' because when you enter the dance already dancing, there’s no one in the gymnasium that’ll beat you, right? Right?…

Hello? (Echoes)…

I guess sometimes scripts really can be re-written while the movie is made, huh?

The first round saw both the champ and his challenger measuring jabs. Both gauge warily with a whole lot of back and forth action but not a whole lot of connecting. Spinks and Judah are both very, very wary and their movements show it. The second heat sees a lot of jabs from both men leading into a hefty left cross from Spinks that comes up short. Feints and tie-ups are in abundance until Spinks fires a right hand uppercut that really just glances Zab. Cory works some decent looking combinations but that’s merely what they remain: decent looking. A lot of busy work, very little dividends.

Round three opens up and Zab gets the champ backpedaling. Although Cory spends the rounds constantly moving away from his better in-fighting challenger, Judah seems a little frustrated with having to chase all this cute movement around, thus putting in a much harder workday. Judah opens up a can of flurry late in the round but the activity is short-lived.

Zab starts up the fourth stanza aggressively moving forward and shooting and Spinks, as expected, is a counterpunching machine. Halfway through the round, a short Spinks left cross finds its way home. Spinks manages a left to the jaw and a quick right to the body followed by a neat little combo that leads into to a round closing flurry. Round five slows considerably and the only highlights in this heat are a minor Spinks slip that coincides with a jab to the body by Judah that precedes two effective rights from the challenger.

Up to this point, Spinks seemed reserved to not look affected but seemed to get further drawn into the Judah trap. Before, Judah would dominate center ring by keeping the champion moving and countering but this round saw Spinks attempt to share Judah’s space for once in the sixth. Spinks would stick to his formula of swift counters but also find a couple of spots to throw slightly effective combos. Judah, however, made this round his as the unwitting challenger would indeed fight the fight Judah would orchestrate.

The seventh would see Judah warmer and much more confident as he would make lunging attempts to trap the champ. After a tie-up, Spinks would eat a quick hook and jab from the crafty Judah. The often-smiling challenger would continue to control the action from center ring but would end the round with a combo that floors Spinks! A confused but delighted crowd, I imagine, reacts as referee Armando Garcia declares the fall not to be a knockdown. Much debate arises since the drop was at the bell, but to be terribly honest, I saw a knockdown. At this point, Spinks’ chief second Kevin Cunningham is understandably livid with his charge. Spinks’ carelessness was coming in by the truckload.

The challenger opens up the eighth with a brand-new sense of vigor and chases Spinks down to bring him into a trading war. Zab works the jab and misses with a big left only to meet a Spinks flurry. Judah would work the champ into a corner but his exuberance would beat him there as a minor clash of heads shakes the resolve of Spinks. In an unusually unwise move, the undisputed champion pulls out his mouthpiece and laments the headshot Judah unwittingly delivered. From here on out, it seems that Spinks pulled the plug on a kitchen sink full of confidence and let nerves take the wheel. Spinks would throw some combos and even get one back from Judah before a small Spinks tackle to the ropes ensues and the round comes to a close.

If there’s anything 'super' about Judah tonight, it has steadily become his confidence. The champion opens the stanza with some rather ineffective combinations but soon after, catches Judah with a hard left hand. Judah returns fire but eats a Spinks counter left. But this would be the last initiative by the defending champion for Judah would catch Spinks with the left hand from Hell followed by the combos that would officially put the champ on his butt. Spinks would get up with only his heart intact for shortly after, Judah moved like a starved shark that smelled blood in the water and would drive Spinks toward the ropes with two hard lefts. A pained look would cross Spinks’ countenance as Armando Garcia would tolerate no more and halt the contest with 11 seconds left in the round, much to the dismay of the sold-out crowd. At the time of stoppage, Judges Tommy Kaczmarek, Craig Merritt and Joe Pasquale scored the battle all in favor of Judah with cards reading 77-75, 79-73 and 78-74, respectively. My card? 76-76, homeys.

So let’s look at what we’ve got here: An absolutely renewed Zab Judah with an absolutely renewed sense of being, the distinction of being THE man to beat now at 147 and a huge sack of “I told you so's”. With this win over a cat who was making 12 times his salary, Judah rises to 33-2 (24) and gains not only the undisputed welterweight crown, but something he very well may never have touched if tonight never happened: the key to possibly entering the vaunted mythical pound-for-pound ratings club. What’s next for the (crest) fallen ex-champion Spinks? I wish I knew. In walked a man so confident and so full of St. Louis love that he could’ve danced all night. Maybe if he danced a little more and gave in a little less, he would leave his hometown arena with his three belts. This isn’t just any loss. A capacity crowd and a loving community lost as well. The near future will see Cory Spinks, now 34-3 (10), with much to evaluate as his chance for revenge could very well drown in the mire of a decidedly (and wonderfully) deeper division.

And for all of you Arthur Murray aficionados in The Dog Pound?

Sorry, no 'Judah Dance' tonight

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Click here for Replay info Spinks vs Zab II DHB
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