|The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire|
August 17, 2001|
Spinks beats Marks
By Ted Kluck
Depaul University Fieldhouse, ESPN 2
Promoter: 8 Count Productions
"I look for good, competitive fights primarily," said the man seated to my left, "sometimes the card falls apart a week before the fight and you have to rebuild the whole thing."
The man was matchmaker Jerry Alfano, who also answers to the moniker "the rock" - and if one were to cast a film version of a Chicago Boxing Promoter, it would be him. He occupied the seat next to mine and watched the proceedings like a proud parent or a producer at an opening night premiere. Adding to the premiere-like atmosphere was an appropriate collection of notables - including Leon Spinks, a couple of Olympians, Mike Adamle, and Angel Manfredy strutting happily through the premises like a college freshman back for homecoming.
The scene was festive and tonight Alfano delivered. He delivered war in the form of a last second fill-in for the co-main named Ron Weaver. Weaver, who would sign to fight Emil Baku (19-1) on Wednesday evening, gave a first-class beating to the Jr. Middleweight prospect, who was lucky to leave Chicago with a split-decision and a faceful of blood.
Sometimes plans change, and on a night that the writer was planning to feature Cory Spinks, ranked WBO #2, IBF #5 and WBC #10, (who would outpoint Larry Marks in a 12 round unanimous decision) - the real action of the evening came from the fists of Baku and Weaver.
Weaver was clearly a child of the fight film. Like clockwork, he charged across the ring to open each round with a thunderous, Tyson-esque left hook. Like Ali, he would grab Baku by the nape of the neck and mutter gibberish through his mouthpiece into the crowd of 3000, which never failed to excite them. Also like Ali, he practiced the occasional rope-a-dope defense, slipping, feinting, and letting Baku punch himself out.
Baku entered the fight as the favorite, and fought through five stationary and painful rounds in which he provided a statuesque target at which the impish Weaver danced and pounded at will. This, combined with Weaver's occasional childishness, ignited slugfests which left the hittable Baku bloody and tired. The pace was torrid. One could almost see Baku's mood darken - what was once fun had become the grim work of survival.
"I can make this kid alot of money," said a giddy Alfano, as it looked like Weaver would cruise to a knockout victory. Baku, to his credit, regrouped when a standard post-round taunt session in the 8th found Weaver jawing at referree Gino Martinez and losing a point. Weaver also probably lost favor in the eyes of the ringside judges with his antics.
A slick defensive fighter with a punch, Weaver (now 27-8-1) appeared to cruise to victory, however after losing a close split decision, his manager Pam Opdyke was pragmatic. "It was a great showing for Ron. I'm not shocked by the decision. We were the opponent."
After entering the ring with an entourage that seemed to number half of the audience in attendance, Cory Spinks (27-1) used crisp right-left combinations to measure Larry Marks in the first. After slipping on a short ring apron and almost falling into the judges lap, Spinks would settle into a rhythm of counterpunching and generally out-quicking the game Marks. Spinks' shots hit their target with a thud, while Marks slapped at his speedy opponent. Marks, although tough, was outclassed - a moment of discovery that must be especially painful for the losing boxer.
To his credit though, he would not die easily. Spinks could not put him away, and Marks would rally later in the fight. Sorely in need of a knockout for marketability purposes, Spinks would instead settle for a unanimous decision and the USBA welterweight title in front of family and friends.
In meaningful undercard action, Chicago favorite Rocky Martinez went the distance with Freddy Cruz (Alfano: "A tough-ass journeyman"), winning a split decision in a fight that would test his endurance and sanity. Cruz was tough and crafty - showing guts, chin, and power against Martinez, who was lucky to run his record to 35-5-1 with an 8 round UD.
Forgive me for feeling compelled to give an opinion of women's boxing. For a sport (boxing, in general) struggling with credibility issues, two women flailing at each other for 16 minutes could be construed as a lapse in judgement. Granted, ever the hypocrite, I was the first to stand on my lunch table in school to watch them fight. Tonight, Jimi Chartrand of Joliet punched to a 4 round decision over a girl named Angela (Bordelon). They are both someone's daughter.
Jerry Alfano makes battles - and tonight he was a success. It was good professional boxing in Chicago. It was a night that cigars were smoked in celebration and the Elevated train rumbled by so often nobody even noticed it.
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