Spinks keeps tradition alive

ATLANTIC CITY: Cory Spinks continued a family championship tradition here on Saturday, taking the undisputed world welterweight title with a controversial majority decision over Nicaragua's Ricardo Mayorga. 

The son of former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks and nephew of former heavyweight champion Michael Spinks continued the family championship legacy by handing Mayorga his first loss in five years after 18 bouts without a defeat. 

Two judges gave the American the verdict by scores of 117-110 and 114-112 while his father and uncle looked on. The third judge scored the fight a 114-114 draw. 

Referee Tony Orlando took two points from Mayorga, one after the fifth round for hitting after the bell and another in the 11th round for holding and hitting behind the head of Spinks, who repeatedly ducked low when attacking. 

Had those points not been deducted, the bout would have ended in a draw. 

“Absolutely I thought I won the fight,” Mayorga said. “If it wasn't for the referee I would have won the fight.” 

Mayorga also protested bitterly about knockdowns that were waved off by Orlando, the most controversial coming in the final seconds of the 12th round. 

Spinks, 25, rose to 32-2 and retained the International Boxing Federation title while taking the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council crowns from Mayorga, 30, who fell to 25-4 with one draw. 

”You have to keep your head into it and do what you have to do,” Spinks said. 

Meanwhile, John Ruiz put himself in position to reclaim a piece of boxing's heavyweight title, but his ugly victory over Hasim Rahman will not be bringing him fights against Roy Jones or Lennox Lewis. 

Ruiz took the World Boxing Association interim crown here on Saturday with a unanimous 12-round decision over Rahman, winning the all-American battle of former world champions by judges scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 115-114. 

But a sellout crowd of 12,346 booed through most of the inactive final rounds, cheering the news the last round was about to start and booing both fighters at the closing bell after paying up to US$600 dollars to attend. 

“He tried to make it an ugly fight,” Rahman said. “He grabbed me every time I threw a punch. I don't know what the judges were watching. 

Ruiz, 38-5 with one drawn, will become the WBA champion unless WBA champion Jones fights him within 120 days. Jones has said he will not defend the crown, opting instead for trying to fight bigger-money opponents such as Mike Tyson. 

Jones beat Ruiz last March for the WBA crown, becoming the first former middleweight champion in more than a century to take the heavyweight title. There was nothing in Ruiz's triumph to spark interest in a rematch by Jones. 

Rahman's dream of a third fight against World Boxing Council champion Lewis is dead. Rahman, 35-5 with one draw, is winless in four fights since knocking out Britain's Lewis in South Africa in 2001 for two world titles. – AFP  

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