Is Judah smart enough to beat Cotto?

zab judah05.06.07 - By Geoffrey Ciani: Zab Judah is clearly one of the most talented pugilists in the fight game. Possessing a unique blend of speed, power, and raw athleticism, Judah has exhibited sensational natural abilities throughout his career. In addition to his physical gifts, Judah has also displayed a fine array of skills, both offensively and defensively.

Unfortunately for Judah, there is one aspect of his game where he suffers miserablyóring intelligence.

Indeed, Judah is one of the least intelligent prize fighters to ever lace up the gloves. Heís easily distracted, usually unable (or unwilling) to stick with a fight plan, he has trouble making adjustments, and too often, he lets his ego get the best of him. Throughout his career, Judahís sheer stupidity has acted as a counterbalance to his raw talent.

Itís also led to great inconsistencies from one performance to the next.

Saturday night, Judah is slated to face the undefeated Miguel Cotto.

This should prove to be a very interesting match-up. In all probability, Judah represents the toughest challenge to date for the young Puerto Rican boxer. For Cotto, this will be just his third fight in the welterweight division and Judah is a giant step up in competition level. As such, Cotto certainly has his work cut out for himóbeating Judah will be no easy task.

It will be interesting to see how Cotto deals with the slickness and quickness that Judah brings to the table. On the flip-side, it will be interesting to see if Judah can fight an intelligent fight inside the ring.

That the styles of these two boxers inherently make for an interesting clash will make this one worth watching. Indeed, I suspect weíll see a competitive fight with a good share of fireworks. That Cotto and Judah each have a flare for the dramatic should only make things all the more interesting.

I suspect Judahís superior athleticism will give him an early advantage in this one. Cotto isnít the fastest starter, and it often takes him a few rounds to get settled and find a rhythm. Once a fight gets going, Cotto has exhibited an uncanny determination. He has an impeccable will to win and is capable of making the necessary adjustments which best exploit his opponentís weakness while also utilizing his own strengths. Whether or not he will be able to do this, come Saturday, largely depends on Judah.

Although Judah has proven to be most inconsistent, he tends to show up in top form when facing elite opposition. As such, I would expect to see him bring his A-game this weekend. That leaves just one question, which I believe is the key to the entire match-up:

Is Zab Judah smart enough to beat Miguel Cotto?

Frankly, Iím not so sure he is. As such, I believe Cotto will eventually make the necessary adjustments to reverse the early lead I suspect Judah will build. Once the adjustments are made, Judah should become an easier and easier target for Cotto to hit as the bout progresses, which should ultimately lead to a late stoppage or a clear points victory. If, however, Judah is able to fight a smart fight for the full twelve rounds, he has an outstanding chance to win. But thatís a big ďIFĒ.

Zab Judah has proven time and time again that raw athleticism will only take you as far as your ring intellect allows. If he can remain focused on the mission at hand, he can be victorious. Unfortunately for Judah, I just donít think he has it in him. In the end, I suspect heíll be outsmarted and outwitted by the hungrier and more resourceful Miguel Cotto.

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Article posted on 06.06.2007

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