The Myth regarding Cotto-Judah!

07.06.07 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: On June 9th, Miguel Cotto will take on Zab Judah in Madison Square Garden on HBO PPV. In the lead up to this boxing contest it seems that too many fans are making the incorrect claim and showing conviction regarding the notion that Zab Judah is somehow the best fighter that Miguel Cotto has ever faced..

In my eyes nothing can be further from the truth. Before I explain why I think that is I would like to just add that it’s a potentially positive phenomenon that will give fans an excuse to gush over Cotto once he takes Judah out. While a fan of Cotto, I really wouldn’t mind such an outcome except that my only concern would be conceding that Cotto didn’t do much work before the victory over Judah.

In just under 30 fights, Miguel Cotto has defeated five, top, undefeated and smoking prospects. Not only has he drowned Maussa, Pinto, Torres, Malignaggi, and Quintanna but has also taken out all but undefeated boxing Gold Medalist and Olympic adversary Mohammed Abdullaev, as well as Victoriano Sosa, Oktay Urkal and a few other relatively solid fighters. To me, a list of such consistency and frequency deserves at the very least top 5 p4p honors.

While none of the names by themselves can be considered “famously elite” the truth is all of these guys came to win and were REALISTIC showdowns not showcase fights of the Martell and Rangel variety. Based on what I have seen of Zab Judah over the years, I would give all of the above-mentioned Cotto victims the edge over this farcical excuse of a fighter from Brooklyn. Without question, I would certainly consider them at the same level or better then the “Super” one.

To insult Miguel Cotto’s caliber by asserting Zab Judah actually deserves to be in the same ring with him suggests either ignorance or an attempt to fool Miguel into training his ass off. As I said, however, I truly feel Cotto is a top 5 p4p fighter because not only does he possess the skill and record a fighter on that plateau needs as prerequisite, but also the dedication to make those seemingly competitive boxing fights turn into the Martell and Rangel victories of his opponent.

Zab Judah has failed constantly and consistently in his boxing career and the reason this has happened is he has never received a verbal slap in the face by an advisor or trainer. Shelly Finkel jumped ship because while perhaps Judah had a coach, in his dad, Yoel, who knew him, that coach never put the kind of military pressure on his son that the likes of Floyd Sr. or Oscar’s, and Shane’s dads have, to make the naturally talented fighter successful. Frankly, Yoel Judah is just not much of a trainer.

I don’t mean that in the sense that he does not know boxing but in the sense that as you saw this past weekend in the Briggs Ibragimov fight, he doesn’t know how to be anything more then some sort of weird boxing motivational speaker. As if there is a camera on him and it’s more important to entertain his fighter and the crowd with pseudo kung fu action advice instead of real corner-work, Judah constantly shadowboxes and yells in front of his fighter. Whenever the going has ever gotten tough for Zab Judah his corner-men failed him as much as he has failed himself.

If that wasn’t bad enough Judah actually won the 147 unified titles by knocking out a fighter, in Cory Spinks, who was more interested in dancing to the ring then fighting in it. That success has never allowed him to truly analyze his career and make the necessary changes in it to reach some truer pinnacle of success. It justified his own over-glorification of himself. Floyd Mayweather may have issues with his father, and so may Roy Jones, but both are and were the top p4p fighters in the world, and while most fans still cling to the notion that Judah can join them and clutch to his single Spinks-like success, at this point I believe that ship has sailed for port long ago.

While each fight is forever a 50-50 until it ends, and variants of the Cotto under-trains or slacks off are possible, I expect it to be one sided and end via KO or TKO in favor of Miguel Cotto. Judah will most likely blow his load early on Cotto’s guard, possibly winning a few of the early rounds, and then start panicking and running as Cotto keeps moving forward. As usual the Judah corner will shout unintelligible, useless, and pseudo-motivational crap in his ear that will probably only serve to make him more desperate and confused. In the end if he does not foul his way to a disqualification or have his dad run into the ring, Cotto should end it inside the distance. The only thing I would caution the Puerto Rican on is telling his corner to stay the f--- outside the ring until the final bell so that no mishaps of the type that happened in the Mayweather Judah fight take place and Zab gets a victory he doesn’t deserve.

On a separate note, I do not think this fight will signal the end of Judah’s career win or as I assert most likely lose. Even though a win would definitely earn him major respect from harsh critics such as myself (in case he actually cares what other people think) a lose would not mean anything for his fan base. For some reason there are still enough delusional boxing fans who believe that, as with Tyson, Zab is an Ali waiting to happen. That is why if, or better yet as I think AFTER, he loses for the next fight they will still claim he is fast, powerful, was unmotivated and is now, and all the other things we usually hear right around the time he enters the ring against a serious opponent. As I said without major, and I mean MAJOR reform to his attitude and training, even if he squeezes out a fluke win he will still be a fighter with losses waiting to happen. Nothing in HBO’s countdown suggested Judah has made that revolutionary reform I have spoken of and why I am more confident then usual in a fight’s result and Cotto’s victory.

As always, though it depends on the fighters themselves and to show some of that objectivity you guys claim I lack, I will at the very least wish them both luck come Saturday night.

Article posted on 07.06.2007

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