By Corey Erdman
Former welterweight and junior middleweight champion Cory Spinks has rejected an offer to take part in an IBF elimination tournament at middleweight, and has decided to stay six pounds south.
"We’ve decided to stay at 154, to get back what’s rightfully mine,” said Spinks (38-6-0, 11 KO), who lost the IBF light middleweight strap to Cornelius Bundrage in August of 2010.
Many insiders had written Spinks off after the loss, but he insists that he’s as viable a contender as ever.
“I’m not the type of fighter to sit on one thing and worry about it, everyone makes mistakes,” said Spinks. “I’m a five time world champion. There are few people that get in the ring who are as smart as me.”
In order to get his hands back on championship gold, he has plenty of options. He could fight WBO titlist Sergiy Dzinziruk, regular WBA champ Austin Trout, or rematch Bundrage.
But “The Next Generation” has his eyes on bigger names.
“I will fight Miguel Cotto the day of the Puerto Rican Day parade, in New York City,” said Spinks.
Cotto (36-2-0-, 29 KO) holds the WBA super world light middleweight title.
The St. Louis native, who shut out Shakir Ashanti on the Devon Alexander-Lucas Matthysse undercard in June, has been rumored to face Cotto many times throughout his career. Both Spinks and Cotto have has similar trajectories, rising up in weight to 154, collecting titles along the way. In fact, prior to their rise to the top of the sport, the two were fighting on the same ESPN card in Austin, TX back in 2001.
“The first time Cotto ever got on TV was because of me,” recalls Spinks. “If my fight went the distance, he wasn’t gonna be on TV that night. So in the locker room-- he could barely speak English at the time, so I had to sign language it out for him. I told him I’m gonna get you on TV tonight.” Spinks floored Dennis Allen in two rounds, allowing a young Cotto’s first round knockout of Jason Doucet to sneak onto the broadcast.
In order for a Cotto title clash to happen, he would have to first defend his title and avenge a loss in a rematch against Antonio Margarito (38-7-0, 27 KO). Their first bout was marred in controversy afterward, when Margarito was suspended for illegal hand wraps in a 2009 bout against Shane Mosley.
In Spinks’ opinion, if things were on the up and up, the result would have been reversed.
“I think without the loaded gloves, Cotto should beat him,” Spinks said bluntly.
Even though the Spinks team says Don King has had preliminary discussions with Richard Schaefer regarding a matchup with the other “big money” name in the 154-pound division, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, he remains firm on his preference of Cotto.
“I’ll fight him in San Juan if I have to,” said Spinks.
Spinks eyes a tune-up bout in September prior to taking a potential title bout.
Corey Erdman is a member of the Yahoo boxing ratings committee, and a host at theScore on SIRIUS 158. Follow him on Twitter @corey_erdmanTags: Cory Spinks