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Verno Phillips dethrones Cory Spinks for IBF Jr Middleweight Title!

Phillips regains title, in a jr middleweight division that has become a wasteland.

I didn't actually see the fight, but it remains shocking that Verno Phillips went into defending IBF Jr Middleweight Champion Cory Spinks' backyard and left the Scottrade Center in St Louis with the title by a split decision. Live feed of this title fight was broadcast on Don King's website. If Phillips won a split decision in Spinks' backyard, then there's a chance he won the fight convincingly. Spinks' fight against Karmazin in 2006 was debatable in some people's eyes, but I would have to see last night's fight for myself before I make any assumptions.

Spinks may have seen better days, as he's been an inactive fighter as of late who has gone 0-2 in his last couple of fights. He labored in obscurity for months waiting for guys like Vernon Forrest (WBC champion) and Joachine Alcine (WBA) to unify, believing that they should be doing all of the work to unify the division. Spinks had basically been looking for reasons NOT to fight.

Add to the fact that he previously fought the defending Undisputed Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor in May of 2007 at 160lbs, remained inactive for nearly a year following the split decision loss he suffered to Taylor, and then probably had to work extra hard to shred the accumulated weight gain to come back down to 154lbs to defend his title there. It's not exactly an appropriate formula for victory.

Having said that, the 154lb division has really become a wasteland - it's what the cruiserweight division used to be. Cruiserweight, 200lbs, was either a wasteland to stop off at on fighter's treks from 175lbs to heavyweight, or a wasteland that was to be skipped all together. Recently, the cruiserweight division has seen some good action from its champions and top contenders such as Steve Cunningham, David Haye, Jean Mormeck, and O'Neil Bell. What the cruiserweight division used to be, prior to the comeuppance of the names mentioned, is exactly what the jr middleweight division has become.

At welterweight, we have Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Carlos Quintana, Paul Williams, Antonio Margarito, and Kermit Cintron. Middleweight does not have nearly as much of an adundance, with Kelly Pavlik, Arthur Abraham, Felix Sturm, Winky Wright (coming back down) and Giovanni Lorenzo, but there's more there than there is at 154lbs, which is a division that has practically nothing.

At this time, the titleholders are Forrest (WBC), Phillips (IBF), and Alcine (WBA). That combination does not make for lucrative mega fights by any means. Perhaps when Cotto grows out of the welterweight division and moves up to 154lbs, and he'll have those three guys waiting for him.

In any case, congratulations to Verno Phillips.