It All Starts Now for Zab Judah

07.02.05 - By Coach Tim - Sometimes you just gotta believe even if it is only you believing. For those who impugn the integrity of boxing or even debase themselves by attacking boxers on personal levels now is a time to give props. The singular act of avenging a loss and beating Corey Spinks does not make Zab Judah the best to ever lace up a pair of gloves nor does it excuse his actions against referee Jay Nady for stopping his bout with Kostya Tszyu. Hopefully in the eyes of boxing’s hopeful it will add even more spice to the welterweight division. With Oscar and Shane coming back to the already rich 147-pound weight class doesn’t it make the title fights even more appealing with Judah at the helm?

Zab is probably closer to being loathed than he ever was loved, at least since the Nady incident, but at least now he should be respected…even if only as a boxer. In the midst of overwhelming controversy leading up to his rematch with Spinks he encountered distractions from his entourage, was ridiculed by boxing fans and media alike, and taunted by the hometown crowd. When a clash occurred between members of his camp and another up and rising Florida boxing star Judah quickly spoke up and diffused what could have developed into a media monster. During that unfortunate incident he remained focused and poised.

When Judah entered the ring he seemed all business and was intent on disrupting the flow of Spinks. Disruption, after all, is the key to beating any boxer. If a boxer is custom to coming forward make him go backward. If he loves to take half steps back to plant and counter make him take one or two full steps. If he loves to move cut the ring off. If his right hand is really big force him to beat you with his left. In boxing you have to take your opponent out of their element if you want to beat them.

Coming into the first round that is exactly what Judah sought to do. To most people he seemed a bit wild on the stick as he pitched lefts from seemingly every angle imaginable. The purpose of those lefts became blatantly obvious as the fight progressed. Spinks who was wisely aware of the left opted to stay away from it, which opened up the body to attack. After 5 or 6 rounds of body shots the legs of Spinks slowed and the head opened up. Those lefts that at first were a foot short became 6 inches short, then 3 inches short and then they started landing regularly. By round seven you had a feeling that Spinks wouldn’t last. He fought most of rounds 7-9 hurt and ultimately did succumb to the power of Judah.

Now that he is a champion again his legacy is in his hands. The ultra-talented Judah, who has somewhat of a rough persona, can ultimately become a universally appreciated fighter if his next moves are calculated with fight fans in mind. Maybe take a tune up bout then make a serious and lasting run at the division’s big fish. Names like Mitchell, Damgaard, Forrest, Cintron, Margarito, and Reid come to mind as well Dela Hoya and Mosely. Maybe even a catch weight between 140 and 147 to take on the likes of Tszyu, Branco, Hatton, Cotto, Harris, Spadafora, Urkal, or Pinto is not out of the question. He can’t change his past but maybe, just maybe he can shape his future and give us someone worthy of calling champion.

If he gives us that we will lift him on our shoulders and metaphorically carry him around the arena on our shoulders all the while proclaiming his boxing greatness. Boxing fan’s memories are different than other sports fans. To pun a phrase from the movie “Field of Dreams” – “If he builds it we will come.”

Tim Walker

Article posted on 07.02.2005

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