posted on Apr, 11 2004 @ 02:31 PM
Associated Press - April 10, 2004
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Cory Spinks was boxing beautifully and seemingly on his way to an easy win in his welterweight title fight with Zab Judah. Then he
got careless, and almost lost his undisputed title on one big punch.
Spinks, despite a warning from his corner before the 12th round, had to get off the canvas with 25 seconds left in the fight Saturday night to keep
his 147-pound (66.2-kilogram) titles with a unanimous decision over the former 140-pound (63-kilogram) champion.
Spinks was well ahead on all three ringside scorecards and had knocked Judah down in the 11th round when he got some advice before the final round.
``Don't get reckless,'' trainer Kevin Cunningham told Spinks before the final round.
Spinks did just that, taking the end of a big left hand to the head from Judah and crashing to the canvas. He managed to get up and survive the rest
of the round, then walked wobbling to his corner to find out if he had still won.
He had, winning 116-111 on one scorecard and 114-112 on the other two. The Associated Press had Spinks winning 115-111.
``I got a little careless,'' Spinks said.
Spinks, son of former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks, retained the welterweight titles he unified in December against Ricardo Mayorga in a fight
that got better as the rounds went on.
Judah, who was fighting at 147 pounds for the first time, accepted the decision calmly, unlike his November 2001 loss to Kostya Tszyu where he went
after the referee and threw a ring stool.
``I think I could have done more, especially in the early rounds,'' Judah said. ``But I think I did enough.''
The fight was on the undercard of the heavyweight fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Lamon Brewster at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino.
Spinks dominated the early rounds and seemed to have the fight well in hand after a flash knockdown with a left hand of Judah in the 11th round. All
he needed to do was survive and he did - but barely.
``I tried to tell everybody I was more than just a boxer,'' Spinks said. ``I can get mean too.''
Spinks (33-2) got a hug from his father before the first bell and came out strong, working his right jab and winning the opening rounds.
Judah not only gave away a few inches in height to Spinks but also some pounds. Judah weighed in at 146 on Friday and 147 in an unofficial prefight
weigh-in, while Spinks was 147 at the official weigh-in and 157 just before the fight.
Spinks controlled much of the fight with his jab and landed the harder punches. Judah had trouble getting inside and threw a lot of wild punches
early, and by the end of the fourth round his father and trainer, Yoel, saw a disturbing trend developing.
``You've got to take it to him,'' Yoel Judah told his son. ``You want the championship, you got to go get it.''
Judah (30-2) did go after Spinks in the late rounds, but it was not enough to overcome the big lead on points that the champion had built up.
Spinks, who was a slight underdog despite being the undisputed champion, was looking for some recognition he felt he had not gotten in beating
``If I don't get the credit now, I don't know what I'll have to do,'' he said.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.