By Jake Donovan
It hasn’t been a kind year for Cory Spinks, though things are finally looking up.
The first two months of 2010 has seen the former lineal welterweight king and current junior middleweight titlist lose his trainer, a televised slot and an actual date for his eventual mandatory title defense against Cornelius Bundrage.
He continues to wait on a date and a venue for the aforementioned fight, but can take comfort in knowing that someone will be in his corner whenever the bout finds a home.
Spinks will now be training with former two-time champ and 2002 Trainer of the Year Buddy McGirt, it was announced on Wednesday afternoon. The defense against Bundrage, who is trained by Hall-of-Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, will serve as their first venture together.
“I have always wanted to work with Buddy,” said Spinks in a statement issued from his native St. Louis. “My weight is good and I feel great. I am looking forward to winning (against Bundrage and making the biggest fights possible after that.”
The hiring of McGirt comes several weeks after Spinks’ split with longtime trainer, Kevin Cunningham. The disarray in Spinks' camp was enough to have his bout with Bundrage bumped from the March 6 undercard featuring his stable mate Devon Alexander, who is slated to face Juan Urango in a junior welterweight alphabet unification match on HBO.
No date has yet been announced , though March 26 has been tossed around. Promoter Don King presently has that date reserved for a cruiserweight bout between Steve Cunningham and Matt Godfrey, which will air on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights series.
Whenever he fights, Spinks promises to be ready – for this fight and for a return to the way things used to be in his career.
Spinks (37-5, 11KO) won the lineal welterweight championship with a 12-round decision over Ricardo Mayorga in December 2003, adding to his family legacy. Leon and Michael Spinks – Cory’s father and uncle, respectively – captured Olympic Gold in the 1976 Summer Games, and both went on to win the lineal heavyweight crown.
Cory’s world championship run lasted 14 months before being stopped in nine rounds in his February 2005 rematch with Zab Judah.
The return go with Judah was his last ever at welterweight, going on to twice win titles at junior middleweight and come up short in a controversial split decision loss to then-middleweight king Jermain Taylor in 2007.
His second tour as junior middleweight titlist began with a split decision nod over Deandre Lattimore in their all St. Louis grudge match last April. To date, it remains the last time he’s stepped foot in the ring, and for the moment appears to be the last time he will enter one with Kevin Cunningham in his corner.
“After this one, I would love to unify the titles like I did at welterweight. Of course, if Manny Pacquiao wants to do something historic and try for my title at 154, I would welcome that.”
The historic part references Pacquiao having won major titles in seven separate weight classes – already an all-time record – and perhaps considering alphabet hardware in an eighth.
Before Pacquiao can entertain the notion of expanding on his own record-breaking run, he must get past Joshua Clottey on March 13. Spinks is well aware of this, and – should the March 26 date pan out – believes the timing to be perfect for a possible summer showdown.
Of course, it remains a long shot, and just getting Spinks into the ring in recent years has proven to be problematic, which is why news of his securing a top trainer in McGirt comes as a sigh of relief.
With leadership in his corner, he can now focus on his next fight- whenever it may come.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com and an award-winning member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Contact Jake at JakeNDaBox@gmail.com.