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Boxing: Mayorga, Spinks Will Fight to Unify Title

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posted on Dec, 11 2003 @ 09:32 PM
Associated Press - December 11, 2003

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Listen to Ricardo Mayorga and you might think he was confusing Cory Spinks with his more famous father, former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks.

``I think he's a clown,'' Mayorga said.

Leon Spinks, of course, played that role well for many years, flashing his gap-toothed grin and partying his way through millions of dollars after upsetting Muhammad Ali to briefly hold the heavyweight title.

Like his father, Cory Spinks was born to fight. Unlike his father, he takes his boxing career rather seriously.

``The way I fight is the art of boxing,'' Cory Spinks said. ``They call boxing an art - the ability to hit and not to get hit in return. That's the skill I have worked hard on.''

Spinks gets a chance to test that skill Saturday night, meeting the big-punching Mayorga in a 147-pound unification fight as part of a marathon card of eight title bouts promoted by Don King.

Among the fights at the Boardwalk Hall is a middleweight title defense by Bernard Hopkins against William Joppy and a heavyweight elimination fight between former champions Hasim Rahman and John Ruiz. Also fighting are 140-pound champion Zab Judah and unbeaten 154-pound champion Alejandro ``Terra'' Garcia.

But it is Mayorga who tops the card, bringing his all-out attacking style against the slick but light-hitting Spinks. Both hold titles, and the winner will leave the ring the undisputed welterweight champion.

``I've lived my dream. Now I want to live my ultimate dream,'' Spinks said. ``I guess this was meant to be.''

In his father's time, the goofy one in a ring was usually a Spinks. This time, the honor belongs to Mayorga, who smokes, drinks and goes after his opponents so hard they sometimes have trouble figuring out what is happening.

Mayorga cuts down on his pack-a-day habit while training. But he's not about to change his unpredictable style.

``In this case I'm going to be the crazy man and go out and knock out Cory Spinks,'' Mayorga said through an interpreter.

Mayorga (25-3-1, 22 knockouts) began the year as a relatively unknown challenger from Nicaragua before stopping previously unbeaten Vernon Forrest to win the WBC and WBA titles. He defeated Forrest in a July rematch, and now he tries to cap his year by adding the IBF title Spinks won from Italy's Michele Piccirillo in March.

Mayorga has little doubt he will be successful and add to his growing legend in his home country.

``All of Nicaragua is already celebrating in anticipation of this fight,'' Mayorga said. ``There will be big parties all night.''

If the southpaw Spinks is going to spoil those parties, he will have to use all the discipline his father never had and hope to turn the fight into a boxing contest.

``You just prepare the way you usually do and don't worry about what he brings to the table,'' Spinks said. ``All that craziness and silliness won't trip me off. It's not a toughman contest. This is professional boxing.''

Spinks is 31-2, but has only 10 knockouts and is generally not regarded as much of a punching threat. His father and his uncle, former heavyweight champion Michael Spinks, both had the ``Spinks Jinx,'' but Cory Spinks needs to rely on his boxing skills instead.

Spinks said his father will be at ringside and already gave him some advice.

``He basically told me, 'Just go in there and do what you do, and that is boxing,''' Spinks said. ``We both have the same mentality when it comes to boxing, which is being tough and not being scared of anybody. That's the mentality every fighter in boxing should have.''

Mayorga certainly has it, and there could be rewards far beyond his usual postfight cigarette and beer if he unifies the title against Spinks.

King already has the outline of a contract for Mayorga to move up to 154 pounds and fight Shane Mosley in March, followed by a possible fight with Oscar De La Hoya.

``I asked him what order he wanted these guys in,'' King said. ``He said bring them all on the same night.''


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