By Cliff Rold
Second verse, (almost) same as the first.
It took seven instead of five rounds, but IBF 154 lb. titlist Cornelius Bundrage proved again that Cory Spinks just has nothing to keep “K9” at bay. Does WBC titlist Saul Alvarez?
For Bundrage, that’s the question and the dream. The former “Contender” contestant has become more than that. His belt remains in place but, with so many belts to go around, the real prize in prize fighting comes in the form of the rare, real draws in the field. Those are the men who can make dreams come true by signing on the dotted line.
It seems like just about everyone within weight range loves the idea of being the resolution of Alvarez’s “TBA” on September 15. If Bundrage gets the nod, fans have a unification bout on their hands and, for as long as it lasts, a fan friendly brawl.
Was the win against Spinks enough? The announcement could be made before this goes to print. If not, allow speculation to run wild.
Let’s go to the report cards.
Pre-Fight: Speed – Bundrage B; Spinks B+/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Power – Bundrage B; Spinks C-/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Defense – Bundrage B-; Spinks B/Post: B-; B-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Bundrage B; Spinks B/Post: Same
Bundrage showed off both why he could be a fun opponent for “Canelo” as well as why he would be vulnerable enough to get it. In the first, and seventh, he pasted Spinks with nasty, wild shots to score a total of four knockdowns on the night. Spinks, who once used his legs and reflexes to narrowly avoid being stopped by the crude Ricardo Mayorga late in their fight doesn’t have that in him anymore.
Ignore that Spinks was winning on two cards at the time of the stoppage. There’s something spiking the punch in boxing right now, and judges are just bad, bad, bad in 2012.
Bundrage, almost 40, has the fire to fight like a younger man. His chances were a longtime coming and he wings like he wants to keep them coming. He’s been stopped twice previously and, in the second round on Saturday, was visibly hurt by a Spinks body blow.
Alvarez fights in the heavy-handed style of many a Mexican favorite. He doesn’t ignore the body. If he’s looking for a dance partner, and a second belt, Bundrage is the sort of risk/reward ratio that his team would have to like.
Alvarez is an interesting case. Given his age (still only 21), he’s clearly being brought along at a firm but measured pace. The best available fight to be made, against fellow Golden Boy stablemate Erislandy Lara (a winner on Saturday), is fraught with danger. Lara is a much more complete fighter, a skill set Alvarez may not be ready for despite having a belt on his waist.
This scribe is firmly on the side of seeing Alvarez-Lara, but understands why it is unlikely at this juncture. Alvarez could be worth a fortune later this year against a Miguel Cotto and is clearly being groomed to someday cash in with Floyd Mayweather. Maybe we will all be surprised; maybe Alvarez-Lara can happen and Alvarez can prove better than realized at this point.
And it is no lock that Bundrage is in the race. Prior to Bundrage-Spinks II, Golden Boy hinted the opponent is chosen. We’ll see whom that turns out to be. All Bundrage could so was win and cross his fingers.
He got the winning part right.
Report Card Picks 2012: 35-10
Results lined up with the ratings so no changes but that doesn’t mean the full ratings update isn’t worth a click
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]