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Wednesday, February 2, 2005
Updated: February 3, 9:00 PM ET
Spinks, Judah have Oscar on their minds

By David A. Avila

Better break out the shades this Saturday during the welterweight world championship rematch between southpaws Cory Spinks and Zab Judah.

With three world title belts dangling for the winner, viewers are going to see more sparkle than cleaning day at Tiffany's when Spinks defends his world championship against Judah at the Savvis Center in St. Louis. The fight will be televised on Showtime.

And if that's not enough bling, the winner gets a shot at fighting the Golden Boy.

With Oscar De La Hoya announcing his return to the world of 147-pounders, those title belts may look shiny, but the chance to fight for possibly $10 million or more intensifies the whole affair come Saturday.

"I'd love to fight Oscar De La Hoya," said Spinks (34-2, 10 KOs), who despite capturing all three titles when he defeated Ricardo Mayorga more than a year ago and defending it against Judah last year, hasn't dazzled the boxing world.

Expect both Spinks and Judah to fight with a lot more zeal.

"I am prepared to go in there and do what I have to do in this fight," said Spinks, who will be fighting in his hometown.

Judah, a hip-hop influenced boxer straight out of Brooklyn, nearly beat Spinks in their first encounter when he dropped him with a straight left hand near the end of the 12th and final round. But he couldn't deliver the finishing blow before the bell rang.

"The good thing is we don't have 30 seconds; we have 12 more rounds," said Judah (32-2, 23 KOs), referring to their first fight when he ran out of time after dropping Spinks with 30 seconds left in the fight. "I think it will be interesting."

Prior to the 11th round, Spinks and Judah parried lightly with neither fighter willing to take a chance. But after Judah was knocked down with a left hand at close quarters, he cranked up the knockout machine and caught the St. Louis fighter with his own left-hand bomb.

Spinks, whose father is Leon Spinks, the former heavyweight world champion who beat Muhammad Ali in the '70s, knows this is his chance to break into the elite.

In the world of professional boxing nothing means more to the fighters than battling for million-dollar paychecks. For the last 10 years De La Hoya has been the golden goose for any prizefighter near his weight class. From lightweight to middleweight, boxers everywhere salivated at the chance of fighting the East Los Angeles native.

Before De La Hoya declared he was returning to the welterweights while at a press conference at the Staples Center several weeks ago, that weight division was suffering from lack of attention. Not now.

Along with De La Hoya, Sugar Shane Mosley also announced he was dropping down in weight for a second rendezvous with the welterweights.

Antonio Margarito, the WBO welterweight title-holder, had stated he was moving up in weight for more lucrative paydays. No longer. With De La Hoya and Mosley back in the division, he's staying put.

At the junior welterweight level, WBC title-holder Kostya Tszyu said he would like to fight De La Hoya and so has his last victim Sharmba Mitchell, a quick southpaw from Washington, D.C.

To borrow a line from St. Louis rapper Nelly, "It's getting hot in here."

He's got to be talking about the welterweights.

"I am going to put on the best performance of my life," said Spinks with De La Hoya on his mind.

"If I don't win another fight, I will win this fight right here," said Judah.