Carlos Baldomir Takes WBC Title From Judah!

08.01.06 - By Frank Gonzalez Jr., photo by Tom Casino /Showtime - Congratulations to Argentina’s new WBC Welterweight Champion, Carlos Baldomir (41-9-6-12 KO’s), who outworked and outscored the inconsistent and foul former Champion, Zab Judah (34-3-25 KO’s) of Brooklyn New York. This victory for Baldomir shakes things up in a division Judah was perceived to have locked up—so long as he could successfully avoid fighting WBO Champ, Antonio Margarito.

Baldomir demonstrated that just because the boxing media insists certain fighters are great doesn’t make it true. Make no mistake, Zab Judah is a dangerous puncher and has a flair for the flamboyant, but Saturday night belonged to the underdogs. O’Neil Bell got off to a bad start but shocked a lot of fans when he knocked out power punching and body punishing, Jean Marc Mormeck in 10 and Carlos Baldomir bested Zab Judah. This could be a good start for 2006. Cheers!

Judah’s big money fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., who successfully avoided fighting Ricky Hatton by moving up to 147 after beating Arturo Gatti, who was arguably the weakest Champion in the 140-pound division, seems irrelevant now and if Floyd wants a Title at 147, the signpost up ahead says Baldomir, who says he wants Mayweather next.. Studious boxing fans know the biggest threat at Welterweight is Antonio Margarito, who I suspect would be the last guy on Mayweather’s list of potential opponents. Since Floyd only fights for WBC Titles anyway, Baldomir is the logical choice. If Floyd beats Baldomir, he’ll be hailed as the greatest fighter on the planet even if Baldomir was just a relatively unknown fighter last week.

Baldomir wasn’t fancy, he didn’t have a great defense and he’s not blessed with a big name that influences promoter-friendly Judges, but he got the job done against Zab with good old-fashioned heart and grit. Baldomir’s gritty performance made Zab Judah look ordinary and unimpressive. Though he suffered a gash on his nose from a head butt, Baldomir never let it interfere with his mission, and now, he’s an official member of the elite class of fighters in the 147-pound division.

The most disappointing part of Zab Judah’s performance was not his lack of consistency on offense, nor his shaky defense, it wasn’t that he only fought in spurts—it was the way he talked after the fight. If Judah wants to blame anyone for losing to a fighter that worked harder than he did, forget Don King, forget complaining about having to work the publicity (hype) machine or all the other attention he was showered with. He just needs to look in the mirror.

Silly as it sounds; Judah was the victim of his own arrogance.

After the ref instructed both fighters to touch gloves, Judah threw a low blow that hit Baldomir on his thigh. And this was before the opening bell sounded to start the action. That despicable act invited bad karma and begs the question of what Judah represents and why he’s promoted so strongly. With all the mismatches, bogus decisions and Pay-Per-Views shrinking the number of boxing fans, it appears that bad manners sell tickets.

When the fight actually started, Baldomir showed no fear of Judah and pressed the action immediately, exchanging and landing decent shots. Judah threw a low blow and even though he fouled at the onset of the fight, the next foul drew nothing but a, “keep ‘em up” warning. I had to wonder what penalty Carlos Baldomir would have suffered had he done what Judah got away with. The first round was close and I scored it even since both did about as much as the other.

As the fight progressed, Judah was showing signs of fighting dirty and the referee, Arthur Mercante Jr. told him to, “act professional.” Much of the local hype was centered around Judah fighting in front of his hometown audience in New York City’s Madison Square Garden, where boxing was at one time, the king of all sporting events.

I found the early rounds to be very close but as the rounds passed, Judah was doing less than necessary to win, while Baldomir always kept the pressure on. Maybe Judah assumed that being in Don King’s stable would ensure favorable status with the Judges. Maybe he felt he could just show up and get a W.

Baldomir didn’t possess any special talents, other than a big heart and the willingness to put it all on the line to win a major Title. He rocked Judah more than a couple of times and reduced him to running, holding and posturing more than trading punches as the rounds wore on. Judah tried to steal rounds by throwing flurries in the final seconds, but it was too
little too late. To my amazement, justice was served as Baldomir won a Unanimous Decision that quite frankly, he deserved.

After the fight, Judah said he had a rematch clause in the contract. As it turned out, that wasn’t true. Baldomir’s corner was quick to inform that there was no rematch clause and that there would be no rematch. I have no doubt that Judah’s poor sportsmanship rubbed Baldomir’s camp the wrong way.

Judah said he wasn’t making any excuses for losing the fight, then went on to rant and blame his promoter, Don King, for his poor performance, claiming that King had him too distracted with interviews and appearances in promoting the fight and that he was doing King’s job, etc, etc. Zab even implied that King controlled the Judges and steered their scoring against him. Judah appeared to have gotten under Don’s skin. Maybe King instructed the Judges to score it honestly. But fans want to see Judah do that dance again, so he still has definite market value that King is unlikely to relinquish.

King confirmed that there was no rematch clause and that Judah would have to approach team Baldomir if he wants to arrange a rematch. That seems unlikely.

Back in 2001, during a press conference promoting the Judah vs. Kostya Tszyu fight, Judah was asked if he would give Kostya Tszyu a rematch if he won. Arrogantly, Judah replied, “Winner take all.” implying that he never give Tszyu a rematch. After Tszyu KO’d Judah in 2, he gave Judah what Judah would have given him, no rematch. You get what you give. Karma.

If boxing wanted to improve its image with its diminishing fan base, a good way to start would be to arrange tournaments in each division so that the so-called Champions would fight each other and leave ONE Champion at the top of the heap instead of what we have today, where a guy with a big name promoter can pick and choose who he fights, then win one big fight and suddenly be hailed the best in the division…even though he won’t fight the other top guys in the division. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is an excellent example of this phony practice. If Hatton moved up to 147, Floyd would probably jump back down to 140, or jump up to 154, wherever it’s safest. It’s a damn shame that we loyal fight fans won’t get to see Hatton vs. Mayweather.

Cheers to the Judges for scoring the Baldomir Judah fight in a manner that rendered the true winner the victor. Lets hope this becomes a trend. It could save boxing from losing more fans and lend a more legitimate air to what once was the greatest of all sports.

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Article posted on 08.01.2006

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