Zab Wasn't Super - It's Undisputed!

08.01.06 - By Mike Indri - Retired Boxers Foundation - The stage was set. The Theater at Madison Square Garden would play host to Zab Judah's mandatory World Boxing Council welterweight title defense against light hitting Carlos Baldomir, almost a 15-1 betting underdog, in a fight that would amount to presumably nothing more than a mere prelude to the undisputed welterweight champion's tentatively scheduled mega-fight against boxing's pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The problem was no one told this to Carlos Baldomir. On second thought, I'm positive the message was delivered to Baldomir, by many; including manager Javier Zapata and revered trainer Amilcar Brusa, that this was his opportunity for greatness.

Carlos Baldomir listened, and came prepared and ready. Zab Judah did not.

Judah, along with the 4,735 fans that were rooting for their local Brooklyn bred fighter, expected a quick and flashy knockout. All were shocked and dismayed as Baldomir outworked and outpointed the heavily favored Judah en route to a unanimous twelve round decision victory.

The early rounds saw Judah flicking jabs and moving, yet never exhibiting the type of razor precision punching and blistering combinations that enabled the speedy southpaw to lay claim to all the welterweight division's title belts last year in resounding fashion against former undisputed champ Cory Spinks (TKO 9: 2/2/05).

Baldomir never stopped pressing the fight and, while not pretty, was effective. With the boos cascading throughout the arena since round three, Judah relegated his dissipating offense to a sparse amount of jabs and even fewer meaningful power punches. Baldomir, to his credit, never took a backwards step and continued to fight; earning the crowd's respect..and more importantly, that of the three judges.

After landing his best punch of the fight in the sixth round Judah never proposed any further threat. Early in round eight, with the once pro-Judah crowd now chanting "Mayweather - Mayweather", Baldomir apparently hurt Judah and the Argentinean (with a knockout ratio of 21%) had "Super Judah" on the run! Managing to survive the round by holding on and backpedaling, Judah knew he was in trouble. With Joel Judah (father and trainer) lambasting his under productiveness Zab, while still groggy, clearly realized his Mayweather big money fight was now long gone.

Judah, a "no-show" at the NJ Boxing Hall of Fame awards dinner this past November where Zab was slated to pick up his "Fighter of the Year" award, was a virtual "no-show" for the rest of the fight, as attested by the judges scorecards: Melvina Lathan (115-112), Guido Cavallieri (115-113) and Julie Lederman (114-113) which all declared Baldomir as the winner and new champion.

While not the most talented WBC champion (Judah's WBA & IBF titles are now vacant) Baldomir has to be one of the proudest. Fighting on guts and heart, the new champion faced insurmountable odds to even get his fight for the title, let alone beat the superiorly gifted and skilled Judah in his hometown! Fighting as the underdog against Don King-promoted Miguel Rodriguez (26-1) in the WBC eliminator bout, Baldomir surprised most with his twelve round unanimous decision win this past May; earning his title shot.

"This is beautiful, a dream come true," stated an elated Baldomir (now 42-9-6), who now joins fellow countrymen and boyhood hero, the late great Carlos Monzon, as a world champion!

In Saturday night's co feature fight, Jean-Marc Mormeck, the WBA and WBC Champion took on IBF Champion O'Neil "Supernova" Bell in a thrilling cruiserweight unification championship bout. From round one's opening bell till the fight's dramatic ending, both champions excited the crowd with their brutal non-stop action.

All the credit must be given to O'Neil Bell. Mormeck, the stronger fighter and more devastating puncher, appeared to hurt Bell often; yet Bell forged on and showed the will and desire of a true champion. As Mormeck appeared to be on his way to stopping his willing foe, Bell's resilience grew and Jamaican born fighter appeared to gain confidence, and his second wind. Round seven will be remembered for it's three minutes of savage action by both fighters and as a turning point in the bout for Bell - as the seemingly indestructible Mormeck appeared to tire and show the effects of Bell's committed aggression. With the crowd driven to a climactic frenzy, Bell catches the heavily favored Mormeck with a picture perfect uppercut which hurts the Frenchmen who subtlety appears to be sitting on the ropes for a bit of support. After realizing that Mormeck isn't playing possum, Bell pounces on his now exhausted and hurt opponent and unleashes a multitude of punches which drive Mormeck (now 31-3, 21 KO's) crashing down onto the canvas where he is counted out by referee Wayne Kelly at 2:50 of round ten.

Bell, who improved to 26-1-1 (24 KO's), remarkably becomes the first undisputed cruiserweight champion since future hall of famer Evander Holyfield held all three belts in 1988.

While the SHOWTIME television audience were treated to two highly entertaining fights, Promoter Don King provided plenty of boxing on the undercard of the aptly titled "UNDISPUTED" fightcard.

Undefeated cruiserweight prospect Steve "USS" Cunningham, now 19-0 with 10 knockouts, improved his chances for a title shot with a convincing fifth round TKO win over a worn out Lloyd Bryan (21-12, 9 KO's). The likable Cunningham, from Philadelphia, is the IBF # 1 ranked contender and has his eye on the aforementioned O'Neil Bell.

Former three-time WBA middleweight champ William Joppy improved to 36-4-1 (27 KO's) with a fifth round TKO victory against an overmatched Erik Howard, who fell to 11-10-1 (6 KO's).

Mexico's Ulises Solis (20-1-1, 15 KO's) upset IBF jr. flyweight champion Will "Steel" Grigsby (18-3-1, 7 KO's). Solis became the new champion via twelve round unanimous decision.

Mark "Poison" Saurez stunned James "Spider" Webb in an IBF welterweight elimination bout. Saurez, (25-2, with13 KO's) pounced on the undefeated Webb, now 18-1 (15 KO's) dropping the hurt fighter to the canvas early and continuing his assault ,forcing a TKO stoppage in round one.

Hot featherweight prospect Elio "The Kid" Rojas impressed the crowd with a dominate first round knockout against veteran Tiger Smalls (18-10-1, 6 KOs). Rojas dropped Smalls to the canvas twice and stayed perfect at 15-0, with the former NABO champion becoming his eleventh knockout victim.

Heavyweight contender Owen "What the Heck" Beck stayed in the picture with an eight round unanimous decision win over Darnell Wilson (18-3-3, 15 KOs). Beck improved to 25-2 (18 KOs).

In the "mismatch of the night" Bermane "B.Ware" Stiverne stayed perfect at 5-0, with 5 knockouts, in crushing John Turlington (5-8-1, 4 KO's). Stiverne destroyed his hapless foe with body shots, dropping Turlington twice; the end coming at 2:23 of the first round.

As some sort of consolation for the Judah family, Zab's younger brother Josiah remained undefeated (5-0, 1 KO) picking up a unanimous four round decision win over Franklin Armstrong, who dropped to 3-8-3 (2 KO's).

A great night of boxing from the Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Boxing at it's finest. Two fighters (Baldomir and Bell), neither given much chance to survive - let alone win, did prevail; and in the purest way..with the heart of a champion and no quit in either of them.

Article posted on 09.01.2006

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