Sharkie´s Week in Boxing: Who says nice guys never win?
Showtime´s Tim Smith / Tszyu vs Judah / Bojado vs Lucero

By Frank Gonzalez

05.11 - Every so often in Boxing, we get a big fight that we will talk about for a long time. Douglas vs. Tyson, Holyfield vs. Tyson, Barrera vs. Hamed and a few others. This weekend, the much hyped contest between Zab Judah (27-0-1 NC-21 KO’s) holder of the IBF’s Junior Welterweight title and Kostya Tszyu (27-1-1-22 KO’s) owner of the WBA and WBC’s version of the title, proved to be one of those.

In the preflight interviews, Judah said that this fight wasn’t about Tszyu, that it was bigger than Tszyu. The fight was about him making history. To listen to him speak English, his first language, is to understand who he is, where he’s from and what he is all about. Zab had basically discounted Tszyu in his vanity. He was the favorite that most people were saying would win. Zab was asked if he would give Tszyu a rematch if he wins the fight and Judah said arrogantly; “Winner take all, ya know what I’m saying.” The only regard Zab has is for his own image, which may do well among the underclass in the hood, but in the eyes of the rest of humanity, reeks of poor sportsmanship and excessive bravado.

Tszyu was humble during the interviews. In his best English, which is obviously his second language, he credited Judah as a great fighter, and assured Boxing fans that he trained well for this fight. His soft demeanor hid the ferocity of his abilities. Knowing he was a three to one underdog coming into the fight, he made no remarks about it. If you wanted more, you had to look at his body language, which was that of an honorable man, the antithesis of everything Zab Judah, with all his gold chains, poses and posses, stands for.

I was surprised that Judah’s ring entrance did not include the usual ‘gangsta rap,’ but a patriotic tune instead, as Zab entered with an American flag wrapped around his neck like an ascot. Among his entourage was the vile Mike Tyson, a fellow Brooklyn born fighter and stable mate under shared manager Shelly Finkel.

Tszyu’s entrance music was a woman dressed in questionable taste singing a song saying that “Today; I’m going to knock you out.” We laughed, thinking it odd that Tszyu would have such a song for his entrance. We had different predictions for the fight too. I thought it would go the distance, with Zab winning a questionable decision. My friend had Zab winning by knock out in the fourth round.

The under card fight featured the young and heavily touted Panchito Bojado - Photo: Tom Casino/ Showtime - (8-0-0-8 KO’s) against Mauro Lucero (34-8-1-22 KO’s). Lucero threw himself to the canvas from a non-punch early, throwing the fight in an obviously fixed match. 18 year old Bojado was embarrassed and noted that the punch he did hit Lucero with wasn’t even a hard one, and he didn’t understand why Lucero “took a knee.” Really? It was more like took a nap for the count of ten. Bojado looks very much like Fernando Vargas little brother might look. He may be a great “up and coming” fighter, but we’ll never know if he really is good if he is never tested. So far, I’ve seen all of his fights and none of them were competitive at all. Lucero at 29 years old, who lost five of his last eight fights, was being call! ed the best competition Bojado had faced to date. Lucero’s obvious dive might have exposed the fact that Bojado was is a fighter who is being “made” by his handlers in typical “scam” fashion. Building an impressive record on a diet of hand selected, easy and fixed contests. With the fight scheduled for 10 rounds and only going one, this left Showtime with a time gap to fill before the main event.

Showtime’s Tim Smith, who looks like a relative of Jabba the Hut from Star Wars, took the microphone and bored viewers with a tedious account of the latest gossip in the sport. We couldn’t help but notice that he wasn’t even speaking from familiarity, but reading words from prompt cards. Showtime’s Tim Smith is by far the worst commentator on the program. He even makes Bobby Cyz look insightful. I expect better from Showtime, a premium cable network. I think I’d rather see Miller High Life commercials that are at least funny, than have to watch such unimaginative programming. After much uninformative banter and 45 minutes of clips and interviews of Zab Judah boasting and Kostya Tszyu’s un-American humility, the fighters were finally introduced.

In the 1st round, Zab got some good shots off which I felt slightly rattled Tszyu. Kostya showed a good chin though, and maintained his composure, surviving what ended up being the most Judah would offer up in the fight. We had Judah winning the first round, 10-9. I’ve seen Tszyu fight before and was unimpressed with his lack of piquancy. I knew he was tough, and could take a punch, but was beginning to wonder if Judah might prove to be too much for the Russian born Aussie fighter from Down Under.

Instead of showing what the respective corners were saying to their fighters between the round, we got Bobby Cyz. In his usual artless manner, praising every breath Judah took during the 1st round, then showing a replay of his one solid punch to Tszyu’s jaw and remarking how incredibly fast and precise Judah is. You can always count on Cyz to make mountains out of molehills. It amazes me how Showtime has put together such a poor cast of characters to provide color and analysis for its Boxing programs.

In the 2nd round, Zab got on his bike and ran around Tszyu, who controlled the tempo aggressively as he chased Judah about the ring, hitting him often with clean shots. Tszyu was clearly winning the 2nd round, and with less than 10 seconds left, jabbed with his left and then threw a right hand that caught Judah on the button, making his head snap sideways as he fell flat on his back.

The referee, Jay Nady began the count and as he reached the count of 4, the bell rang to end the round. Judah jumped up instinctively, but was still too wobbled by the punch and fell down a second time in twisted, punch drunken fashion. At that point, Nady stopped the fight. It was over; Kostya Tszyu had knocked out Zab Judah in 2:59 of the 2nd round.

Seconds later, as Judah regained consciousness, he was in disbelief of what had just happened, and went into a rage, throwing his wooden stool into the center of the ring and kicking up a fuss. While being restrained by Yoel Judah, his father/trainer, he broke loose and walked up to referee Jay Nady and stuck his gloved fist into his neck. Nady pushed away as security jumped into the ring and tried to contain Judah, who in Tysonesque fashion was going berserk. On the other side of the ring, Kostya Tszyu was smiling happily as the winner of a title unification bout should, unimpeded by Judah’s lack of grace. Judah was finally escorted out of the ring after kicking, screaming and crying like a spoiled baby who couldn’t have his way.

Tim Smith conducted the post fight interviews, starting with Kostya Tszyu.

Tim Smith: Was Judah’s speed a factor in this fight?

Kostya Tszyu: He was starting the fight cold. No, his speed wasn’t an issue. I know I lost the first round. He hit me with some good shots. I was not impressed with his punching power though. When I knocked him out, it wasn’t even with a very hard punch, just a well-timed blow. I am happy to have unified the title. This was my destiny. I trained for hours and hours for this fight. Now I have unified the title of Super Lightweight Championship. I am very happy to have won this way against such a great opponent.

Tim Smith: Does he deserve a rematch?

Kostya Tszyu: Do you remember the press conference, where he was asked the same question? He answered that “Winner take all.” Now I answer the same way. It’s like a boomerang. But you never know what’s going to happen, we will see.

The knock out was called a TKO, as referee Jay Nady had waved Judah out after he fell down again after initially wobbling to his feet. Nady remained calm and behaved professionally in spite of being attacked by Judah shortly after the stoppage. During a post fight interview by Tim Smith, he was asked about his decision to halt the fight the way he did. Nady explained that Judah was down, and as he was counting, Judah got up and fell down again, a clear indication that the fighter was hurt. He also said he was concerned about Second Concussion Syndrome, and how when a fighter loses his equilibrium that way, he could be seriously hurt if hit again.

Smith went on to interrogate Nady into answering whether there is a definite rule according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission that states a fight should be stopped if a fighter falls twice from the same knock down. Nady said that a fight could be stopped at any time at the referee’s discretion, and that his only interest was the fighter’s safety. Tim Smith then asked if Nady thought there would be action taken against Judah for his emotional behavior after the stoppage. Nady said that would be up to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Smith then asked if Nady wanted action to be taken. Nady reiterated that it was not up to him, but the NSAC. Smith prodded Nady some more, asking if he personally wanted to see action taken against Judah to which Nady said; “No, I don’t want to see anything.”

After failing to extract the answers he wanted from Nady, Smith went to Judah’s dressing room to interview the loser. If the way it reads sounds bad, imagine what it was like having to record this interview word for word on paper.

Tim Smith: How badly hurt were you?

Zab Judah: (in stumble bumble stuttering English) I mean…I’m in a world title fight; I got hit with a good shot. But I got up with no count, I mean, I went down, but for sure I was up. I just feel I wasn’t even given a chance or a count.

Tim Smith: There is no standing 8 count in Nevada.

Zab Judah: He just stopped it…4 and that’s it?

Tim Smith: So you thought it was an early stoppage?

Zab Judah: It was an early stoppage…I mean… you see how quickly I got my head back together, and um you know, I was ready to go back, you know what I mean?

Tim Smith: Did you get up too quickly?

Zab Judah: Yeah, you know what I mean, yeah, maybe from my lack of experience, I got up quickly, but you see shortly after that I was ready to go again, know what I mean? He just waved it off, that was crazy.

Tim Smith: Ok, we’re going to take a look at the knock down, so tell me what’s going on Zab? (The final scene of the fight was shown)

Zab Judah: Ok, you know what I mean. (Stumbles for words) I was pulling back, I bet you. I got hit by a good shot. I went down…maybe I got up too fast…

Tim Smith: You’re a little wobbly…

Zab Judah: Yeah, I mean, you’re hurt…ok. I mean, ok, you know. I was wobbly, you know what I mean? It’s what type of fight…I got up too fast you know…they got to give you time to get up…this is not like some…you know…this is a world title fight.

Tim Smith: What are you saying to the referee?

Zab Judah: He already stopped it…I said what are you stopping it for? You know what I mean…I’ve seen fighters roll around on the floor…he just never gave me a chance. Big as this fight is. They should never been stopped it like that.

Tim Smith: But you were really wobbly here Zab…

Zab Judah: Ok, I’m on the floor Tim…I can’t be wobbly on the floor, cut it out man, don’t try to be smart. Look, look, he didn’t even start the count on me…look, look…

Tim Smith: Do you think he stopped it because you went down a second time?

Zab Judah: I mean…I gues…I don’t know what was going through the ref’s mind…look, look, I’m back…I’m saying to him what are you doing? Hey, I can’t cry about it…know what I mean…all I can do is come back…I’m a young fighter, Kostya Tszyu is a legend…know what I mean? I’m just happy to be in there…I thank God no one was hurt…and I’ll be looking for a rematch.

Tim Smith: After the fight, your emotions got the best of you and you went over and had a few words with the referee, do you regret doing that?

Zab Judah: Yes, of course, I mean, you know what I’m saying…I don’t mean to harm any body at a championship fight…it’s just that it’s a big fight…and you gotta understand with a big fight like this …with stakes on the line….you got to understand emotions are involved, know what I mean? So…anything I did to the referee…or anybody else…I apologize for…(His trainer can be heard in the background saying the referee owes Zab an apology.)

Tim Smith: This was a highly anticipated match up, a controversial ending, would you like to see it again?

Zab Judah: Of course, I mean, I’m a true champion…I’m pretty sure Kostya Tszyu is a true champion and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want to win a fight like this…you know what I mean…this is a mega fight…the best this division has to offer…I mean what are you going to do now…fight other guys? I mean…I feel we should do it again because we are the best out there that happened…it was a controversial fight, you know what I mean? I went down, of course, but I got up like the soldier I am. And maybe I might have over reacted a little bit, I’m sorry for that, but I was still able to keep on continuing. You got to feel me on this… on a big fight like this…emotions are involved…I mean for him to come over and wave it off, I just was like, over, it can’t be over? I mean this is a mega fight, so for him to stop it like that I felt was uncalled for.

Steve Albert ends the show asking Mark Ratner, the director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission if any action would be taken against Zab Judah. Ratner said he and the commission would view the tapes and see. How insightful.

I confess that it was a real treat for me to see poetic justice. I thought Tszyu fought smartly against a very over rated fighter who has been coddled by his managers, promoters and hype makers. Like other mouthy fighters who build their resumes on easy or fixed opponents, once they get in the ring with a real legitimate fighter, they are exposed. I remember Naseem Hamed, whose ego was only exceeded by the size of his mouth, exposed by Marcos Antonio Barrera. Poetic justice.

If I were Kostya Tszyu, I wouldn’t even consider giving the arrogant, self-serving Judah a rematch for a long time. And when I did, it would be for a huge purse.

Maybe there is a moral to this story that unfolded Saturday night. Hopefully young fighters will learn that every facet of a fighter makes a fighter what he is. Skill, stamina, heart and a sense of honor are the traits to aspire to. The long-term benefits out weigh the short-term hype.

Zab Judah, You are the weakest link!

By David Moya - Diamond

05.11 - The atmosphere was set, and the aura of excitement was enough to send chills down your spine. The night provided a great awareness for how to make a judgment on a pretentious situation. A humble Kostya Tszyu made his way to the ring with an exciting performance by a female Russian singer, while Zab Judah presented more of an awkward ring walk to the sounds of some Rocky theme music. Not his normal entrance. From that point, you could tell that things may not be as they appear. A slick southpaw with age on his side; the new generation. Anyone could make their case for who the new unified super-lightweight champ would be, but I doubt that there was anyone who could have predicted the actual result.

Every time that Judah would try to create some disturbance leading up to the fight, Tszyu would simply use his humble attitude to alleviate any potential problems. The first round of the battle included sensational speed and aggressiveness by Judah, who seemed to not respect Tszyu's potential power. Tszyu, the more patient man was stalking Judah, and perhaps looking for one shot to end it all. The second and final round started similar to the first, but ended in greater fashion. It was as if Judah didn't take Tszyu seriously, and Tszyu made him pay. With Judah going backwards, Tszyu landed a good right hand, and then finished Judah off with another straight right after a sharp jab. From that point on, Tszyu balanced the public coefficient. Judah made an effort to gain stability with his legs, but instead, he wobbled in an awkward angle like a poached animal.

The atmosphere changed. An enraged Judah was acting on emotions and could only be compared to a caged animal. He hit referee Jay Nady in the throat with a left hand, and then went back to his corner, and threw a stool into the middle of the ring. There was no correlation between the two gladiators, but rather a distinction of class and morals. Tszyu, a Russian-made Australian, comes from a simple life, where being different was his objective. On the flipside, you have Zab Judah, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, and compiled of the hip-hop generation. This is a very big distinction, considering the characteristics that each man has grown accustom to. Basically, it was the cocky Judah VS the humble Tszyu. Judah showed no class when Tszyu defeated him, and perhaps that isn't his fault entirely. Everyone is human, and although the outburst was that of great magnitude, he was running on emotions. He later calmed down and appeared at the post-fight press conference, but seemed sarcastic and even cynical.

Main Events promoter Gary Shaw said that he has filed a complaint with the NSAC (Nevada Stated Athletic Commission), and will follow up with formal complaints to the unified sanctioning bodies. All in all, a breath-taking performance was spoiled by the likes of politics and corruption. Aside from that, we have to tip our hats to Kostya Tszyu for performing like a champion, and carrying himself like a gentleman. The result of which comes from a cross between two people from two different ends of the planet. I'm sure Tszyu will take some time off and enjoy his finale, while Judah and his group of legal thugs pursue a rematch based on the actions that Jay Nady took with stopping the fight. You can't blame Jay Nady for making a judgment call to ensure the safety of the fighter, no matter what the rules of the commission are. Zab Judah was clearly in no condition to continue physically. He may have said that he was all right, and he may have even had that thought in his mind. But clearly, his legs were unstable and he got caught with a straight right hand that looked as if it went through his chin. His attempt to get up was unsuccessful, as he wobbled and fell again to the canvas.

Judah's fan base won't grow due to his post-fight actions, and he may have self-destructed his whole career. He calls himself Zab "Super" Judah, but I didn't see anything super about him. His chin is weak. His speed wasn't up to par. And his attitude could be compared to the lowest form of filth on the planet. The exposition of the fight wasn't your normal hype, and the ending didn't go exactly as planned in some people's eyes. A lot transpired, and nothing quite made sense, but to bring some clarity to the situation: Zab Judah, You are the weakest link!


By Tony Nobbs

04.11 - If he was not already there, the supposedly 'overrated' Kostya Tszyu took his place among boxing's elite last night with a second round stoppage of 3-1 favourite Zab Judah to become the first unified Champion of the Super Lightweight division since 1968.

The stoppage by American referee Jay Nady with under one second remaining in the round will be long talked about and arguments will be made on both sides but at the end of the day it is the safety of the boxer that the referee has in this interests. Judah's legs betrayed him when he made an attempt to rise quickly and Nady called a halt. Fight over. Did he push the panic button? I've seen fighters come back to win from worse predicaments. Judah has a good corner and had sixty seconds to clear his head. He didn't get any favours done and didn't do himself any by attempting to get up so early. If he stayed down for a decent count giving his legs time to get back he goes back to his corner and comes out for round three. A lesson all young fighters should learn, give yourself time.

Judah has been down before and got up to win - but not against a finisher like Tszyu. My belief is Kostya was going to catch him again, he had Zab's range figured and he had a sniff. After dominating the first stanza, nailing Tszyu repeatedly and forcing the Australian to hold, Zab went on the backfoot in the second, doing very little as Kostya pressed forward, cutting the ring off, missing with most of what he threw until around ten seconds left. After landing a grazing right, Tszyu stepped across to his left as Judah stepped back in a straight line. After slipping a left lead Zab rolled his head back into the firing line of the final right. Bingo.

Don't get me wrong. This writer favoured the super quick southpaw Judah before the fight (but gave Tszyu the proverbial punchers chance) and for three minutes it looked as though the New Yorker was in the box seat. While he was throwing he was in command, Kostya had trouble with his speed and could not get set. Before the bout Tszyu said unifying "is my destiny", that his mental strength and toughness would give him victory and in the second he came out more aggressively and Judah worked defence, but you don't fight a puncher like Tszyu with your hands by your side for too long without getting hit. When you do that it's ultimately going to 'Kostya'.

In the first round, Judah's reach advantage was evident as the two traded and he did a nice job for 2 minutes and 50 seconds of the second, turning his back shoulder from Kostya's shots. He squared up for the final punch and that was all Kostya Tszyu needed to add the IBF Title to his WBC & WBA Crowns. The American camp have stated they will protest the decision. Gary Shaw said "It was incompetence on the referee's part for not following the rules of the Nevada Commission and allowing Zab to fight the next round". Go for it guys but for now Kosta Tszyu is at the top of the 140 pound food chain. No need to comment on Judah's unfortunate behaviour post fight ,in the words of Jay Nady "I'll leave that up to the Nevada State Athletic Commission". Nady handled the post fight interview with class.

When asked about a rematch in the ring the new King said: "Remember at the press conference before fight when we ask him same question. Winner Take All. No boomerang." Then he added: "We will wait and see". At the post fight press conference he noted that "The weather in Sydney now is very good, coming into summer lots of fishing" He and promoter Vlad Wharton now hold all the cards (and the belts). Concerning the stoppage the always classy Russian born Aussie said: "This is the result of years and months of hard preperation. I believe the referee did the right thing. He was really hurt."

The controversy surrounding the stoppage may mar Tszyu's victory but give the 32 year old his due. He took his punishment early and came back to record the sweetest win of his almost ten year career and give 2001 another upset.

Before the fight Tszyu was labelled as overrated by a few members of the US press but as triple World Champion Jeff Fenech commented weeks ago, maybe it is Judah who is overrated. Ouch!.

Kostya Tszyu rocks Zab Judah in 2

By Alex Pierpaoli

03.11 - On Saturday night, WBC and WBA Champion, Kostya Tszyu stunned unbeaten junior welterweight, and IBF co-champion Zab Judah, with a crushing right hand and the benefit of an early stoppage by Referee Jay Nady. Kostya Tszyu becomes the first unified, undisputed Junior Middleweight champion since 1968.

At the end of the second round, Tszyu connected with a major-league right cross which put Judah on the canvas but only for a second or two. Zab Judah popped right up from the knockdown, but with his knees still made of rubber he stutter-stepped forward, mouthed something unintelligible to Referee Nady and dropped forward onto his chest. Judah got right up again after the second trip to the canvas and this time he was aware of his surroundings when in a mystifying development Referee Nady waved off the contest without completing the mandatory eight count. Judah, shocked and furious over the stoppage went into a rage that boiled over for several minutes until he was finally removed from the ring by his handlers.

After an incredible first round, Judah seemed more cautious in the second and was actually getting the worst of the stanza when Tszyu popped off a right hand with about seven seconds to go. Judah, who was dropped early by Jan Bergman and Terron Millet, in two of his most exciting and defining career victories, has shown a tendency to go down in the early going but, so far in his career, had always come right back to win. By calling a premature halt to his count when he must have known the round was nearly complete, Referee Nady robbed Judah of the chance at sixty seconds rest in the corner and a fresh start in the third.

Both fighters had clearly shown up in top shape and proved an even match for each other over the first five and a half minutes. Judah rocked Tszyu back along the ropes with a cannon-blast left uppercut, and again seconds later with a hard right hook, which forced the Russian born Australian to clinch halfway through round one. But Tszyu proved his combat experience against tougher opposition was an advantage against the upstart Brooklynite when in the second round, Tszyu found the range on the southpaw and connected with his own jab and straight right hand. By rounds end Tszyu let fly the right hand that brought a surprising and sudden end to the night.

Accompanied to the ring by former heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson, Judah's post stoppage tantrum was unacceptable. Reminiscent of a scene in the same MGM ring in June of 1997 when Mike Tyson exploded on just about everyone after being disqualified for biting off a section of Evander Holyfield's ear, Judah held a gloved fist to the throat of Referee Jay Nady and even hurled a stool across the ring. As well as Judah boxed in round one; his post fight outburst did nothing to elevate the Nevada State Athletic Commission's opinion of Brooklyn born fighters. Marc Ratner, director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, told Showtime's Steve Albert the tapes of the fight and of Judah's conduct would be reviewed to determine if any fines or formal admonishments were appropriate.

For Tszyu he has certainly solidified his position as King of the One Hundred Forty Pounders, but it would be a shame if he didn't grant Zab Judah another chance at the title. But if Tszyu and his crafty promoter Vlad Warton stymie Main Events' hopes for a return bout, there are other bouts in the division that could be made against fighters like Ben Tackie, Hector Camacho Jr., Mickey Ward or Ray Olivera. None of which would be as potentially lucrative and as warranted as another trip between the ropes with Zab Judah.

The question which only time will answer is, has Jay Nady damned himself to a future of controversy and unpredictable stoppages the way Richard Steele seemed to with his sudden stoppage of Meldrick Taylor in his epic clash with Julio Cesar Chavez. On Saturday night-unlike in the Junior Welterweight Classic, Chavez-Taylor, which thrilled fans for 12 scintillating rounds-the controversy came after only two rounds of action. Nady stole the thrills from boxing fans and left observers with nothing but what-ifs and the hope for a rematch between two of boxing's best. (All Photos: AP)

Undercard results: Francisco Bojado scored a first round KO over veteran Mauro Lucero. Kuvanych Toygonbayev (17-1, 11 KO's) TKO 8 Fidel Hernandez (16-4, 9 KO's); Mohammad Abdulaev (5-0, 4 KO's) TKO 5 Miguel Ruiz (25-12-1, 7 KO's); Peter Frissina (24-3, 15 KO's) Split Decision 12 Jorge Lacervia (19-5-3, 11 KO's); Vince Phillips (43-6-1, 33 KO's) TKO 3 Carlitos Brosas (12-4-1, 7 KO's); Ted Limoz (7-1, 6 KO's) TKO 3 Ian MacKilop (10-1)


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