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Written by Ian Wallwork 


Cory Spinks wins a tune up and is immediately given a title eliminator with Sechew Powell


Cory Spinks takes on Sechew Powell tonight with the winner getting a shot at Cornelius Bundrage's light middleweight title, but you'd be forgiven thinking the IBF has dropped the ball here. Spinks is on a poor run of form and Powell just lost an IBF title fight against Cornelius himself, but the sanctioning body has their reasons for making this a title fight, and whether you agree with them or not, it should be a decent match.

Last year Spinks (38-6-0) started the revitalization of a flagging career, one that once looked so promising, scoring a decision win over journeyman Shakir Ashanti. It wasn't spectacular; Spinks controlled the entire fight but failed to produce the kind of fireworks that usually hail a champion's comeback. After the fight, Spinks acknowledged his inability to win by knockout:
"I did what I had to do and I got the victory," Spinks said. "I shut him out."
That's what Spinks specializes in - shutting people out. It isn't the kind of style that wins over neutral fans, more one that gets a nod from lovers of technique. Somehow though, Spinks name is known to people who aren't diehard lovers of the sport- he did something to break through the fame wall. I'd say it was his welterweight unifying win over Ricardo Mayorga in 2003, where he scored a majority decision over the trash-talking villain. Back then Cory Spinks name was a big deal in sport, but four losses in eight fights later and now it is more of an echo.

That in mind, why is Spinks in a title eliminator? I knocked Don King in this blog for hiding Tavoris Cloud under a rock, but with Spinks it's the opposite; after one fight in 17 months the aging promoter has gotten Spinks a belt eliminator shout. Does he deserve it? Nope. Should King focus his energy on Cloud, a talented fighter who could unify his division one day? Yep.

I'm not going to tell him how to do business and if the IBF are allowing this fight to take eliminator status then more fool them. Spinks has fought 5 times in five years, losing three of them, and Powell's case for a title shot is only marginally better.

He was last seen losing an IBF title fight with Cornelius Bundrage, missing out on deceptively lopsided cards that made them 1-1 after Powell's 2005 knockout of Bundrage. Given boxing fans' love of trilogies it would surprise me if a potential third fight between Bundrage - Powell wasn't a factor in putting him straight back into a title eliminator. Bundrage - Powell is no Vazquez - Marquez but it would still sell because people love fights that come in sets of three.

To give him his due Powell (26-3-0) didn't disgrace himself in their last fight, I just think if you lose a title fight you have to prove yourself before you get a shot at another one. Will beating Spinks be enough to prove Powell worthy? It depends what Spinks has left.

Powell is the IBF's number one rated contender,so at least their screwy logic holds up there, but what has Spinks really done to be in a title eliminator? He's not fighting like a champion yet and even a win over Powell won't completely convince me. If he knocks him out, it will help his case, but we need to see a lot more from Next Generation.

Last time out he took his time beating forty-two year old Shakir Ashanti, outpointing him over ten rounds when most guys would have blown him out of the ring. You put on a show in your comeback fight, that's the golden rule isn't it? Think back to last year when James Kirkland took two years worth of pent up prison rage on a helpless Ahsandi Gibbs.

Spinks isn't that kind of guy though; he's never been known for bone crunching power. Powell, on the other hand does have some and it is his main edge against the slicker fighter. Spinks' pedigree might set him up him up as the winner in most people's eyes but I think Powell's power is going to decide this. Spinks lost by knockout to a hungrier, more powerful Cornelius Bundrage in 2010 and the same is going to happen tonight.