The Fabulous Zab Judah

By John G. Thompson: Zab Judah 39-6 (27 KO’s) looked fabulous in his destruction of the experienced Jose Armando Santa Cruz 28-5 (17 KO’s). In the first round Zab boxed well and showed the athleticism and boxing fundamentals which made him a world champion; he worked behind the jab and kept moving, ducking and side stepping the best of Cruz’s punches. Zab even made Cruz look amateurish at times. In the third round, Zab let Cruz chase him around the ring while looking for counters. With forty seconds to go in the round Judah caught Cruz with a left uppercut as Cruz was coming in. Cruz got up at seven. Zab stormed in knowing that Cruz was hurt, and beat him into the ropes. The referee jumped in immediately.

Zab Judah was once the undisputed welterweight champion. Before that he almost became the undisputed light welterweight champion, had he not been knocked out in the second round of a unification bout with the legendary Kostya Tszyu back in 2001. The knockdown was all the more sensational as Judah tried to get up too quickly and his legs wobbled comically, and he fell down again. Following the first loss of his career, Zab bounced back well, defeating DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corely for another version of the light welterweight title. Moving up in weight, Zab lost a unanimous decision to Cory Spinks for three belts in the welterweight division – a loss he avenged via brutal ninth round stoppage in their rematch.

Zab then went through one of the roughest patches in his career. He surprisingly lost a close decision to Carlos Baldomir and then a more lop sided decision to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. In the fight with Mayweather, Judah had been doing well early on. As Floyd took over Judah resorted to some dirty tactics, at one point punching Floyd in the groin, and then in the back of the head as Floyd was doubled over from the low blow. This of course prompted Floyd Mayweather’s uncle / trainer Roger Mayweather to leap into the ring and join the fight. Judah unfortunately obliged, and both he and Roger were suspended from boxing following the fight (Roger was actually escorted away from the ring immediately after the incident, though Judah was allowed to continue).

Zab also continued on his losing streak in 2007 with a No Contest against Ruben Galvan and then suffering an eleventh round TKO against Miguel Cotto for another welterweight title in a thrilling fight. After winning a few fights Zab lost another bout against Joshua Clottey when a cut opened over Judah’s eye following what was probably an uppercut from Clottey, though it was ruled to have come from a headbutt. Zab had won two fights since then, however, he fought only once in 2009 and this was his first in 2010.

In the post fight interview, Zab Judah made it clear that he wants the big names in the division – Timothy Bradley, Amir Khan, Devon Alexander and such. Does he still have it in him to win at that elite level? Zab does have the experience of about twenty title bouts on his resume. And while he may be somewhat more war torn than some of his competitors, he’s still only thirty two years old. Zab is moving down in weight, which is probably a good thing for someone who still has his power, and might be capable of an upset here or there. Will he again become the unified world champion? It seems unlikely. But while he tries, there will be fans who want to watch.

Questions or comments?

Article posted on 17.07.2010

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