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25 OCTOBER 2014

 

Spinks Defeats Lattimore To Pick Up IBF 154lb World Title


Spinks rocks Lattimore: David Martin/DKP
Spinks rocks Lattimore: David Martin/DKP

By Michael Norby: In his first ring appearance in over a year, slick veteran Cory Spinks recaptured the IBF junior middleweight world title that he lost last time out by narrowly out-pointing promising youngster Deandre Lattimore on Friday night over 12 entertaining rounds at The Scottsdale Center in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Spinks 37-5 (11) dropped a devastating decision to Verno Phillips in March of last year and subsequently dropped off the boxing radar but, after surviving a scary opening on tonight’s ShoBox headliner, he propelled himself back to the top of the junior middleweight division with a hard earned victory.

Before this evening’s contest, some proclaimed that Lattimore 19-2 (16) was biting off a little more than he could chew by facing the vastly experienced two-weight world champion but, after knocking Spinks to the deck in the first round, it seemed that the young lion was more than ready for the challenge.

He was unable to capitalize, however, and, after Spinks took a couple of rounds to regroup and plot his way back into the fight, Lattimore just could not cope with the former champion’s guile and spirit – losing a close, split decision in an entertaining battle. That’s right…Cory Spinks was involved in an entertaining battle.

Both fighters, each trying to impress their hometown fans, began at a fast pace and Spinks landed the cleaner punches at the center of the ring as they traded combinations. Lattimore responded with a three punch sequence that forced the former champion to retreat and he sent Spinks sprawling to the canvas seconds later with a thunderous left hand at the midway point. Lattimore remained calm, patiently searching for an opening and he found a home for a pair of searing right hands throughout the final minute, although Spinks managed to hold on until the bell.

Both guys traded hooks to begin the second and it appeared that Spinks had his legs back under him after he absorbed another big left hand hidden behind a Lattimore jab. The veteran began to make his opponent miss as Lattimore began to swing wildly for the fences but what little got through was much more impressive than what the former champion had to offer.

Lattimore’s corner pleaded for a more measured approach in between rounds and, in the third, he began to work a lot more behind his right jab. Spinks answered with a swift combination in the opening minute but the cleaner shots continued to come from the golden gloves of Lattimore as the round progressed. Spinks, however, ended strongly after landing a brace of stinging left hooks as the young puncher lunged forward recklessly several times in the final twenty seconds.

The pace relaxed slightly in the fourth, allowing Spinks to draw up blueprints and he began to land more frequently as a result. Lattimore upset his rhythm at times with a handful of clean shots but this was a much better round for the 31-year-old and he finished the three minutes beautifully by landing hooks to the body supported by a clean straight left hand upstairs as Lattimore retreated to the ropes.

Spinks was cut above the left eye in that round but he pressed forward in the fifth and scored well with both hands and employed every inch of the 20 foot ring to frustrate Lattimore. He was frequently wiping blood away from his eye but still he took control and began to sap confidence from his younger opponent as the fight entered the middle rounds.

Spinks landed frequently in the sixth with crisp punches to the face of the tiring younger man. He countered impressively and trapped Lattimore against the ropes several times where both guys mauled at each other. It seemed, at this point, that the tide that began to turn a couple of rounds earlier was now fully flowing in favor of the former champion as the danger effectively drained from Lattimore’s fists.

The seventh round was largely fought at close quarters and Spinks continued to land the more telling punches. Lattimore was visibly dispirited and he badly needed a moment of success to reenergize his challenge. Spinks would not allow him to find that moment, however, and, although the round was closely fought, the veteran bit down and forced both fists towards the body and head of his opponent consistently.

Spinks continued to score with excellent counter shots in the eighth and ninth rounds whilst slipping the weary responses from Lattimore. He was relaxed, focused and sharp and complimented his technical superiority with moments of aggression that were sure to impress the judges and, with each successful attack, the memory of an almost disastrous opening round faded into the distance.

Lattimore began the tenth with blood seeping from his left eye but, to his credit, he dipped into his energy reserves and jumped on Spinks. He let his hands go more often and traded with his opponent, catching the former champion with hard combinations to the head throughout the second half of the frame. His efforts perhaps won him the round and, in doing so, ensured an enthralling climax.

Both fighters were tired and bloodied in the eleventh and traded moments of success but, in the crucial twelfth and final round, Spinks’ experience prevailed. He fought when he needed to and allowed Lattimore to miss before rattling off two and three punch sequences throughout the frame – cementing a winning return to the division and leaving Lattimore rueful that a golden opportunity slipped agonizingly through his fingers.

Scores: 115-112; 112-115; 114-113
Spinks is the IBF world champion: David Martin/DKP
Spinks is the IBF world champion: David Martin/DKP


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