Zab Judah's Future - Does He Still Have One?
05.09.08 - by James Slater - Twelve years ago this very month, Zab "Super" Judah had his very first professional boxing match, winning by a 2nd round TKO. Judah, then aged just 18, weighed 142-pounds for the bout. Here we are in 2008, some 43 pro fights later, and Zab pretty much weighs the same as he did back then.
Article posted on 05.09.2008
In his last fight, the TD loss to new IBF welterweight champion Joshua Clottey, the 30-year-old Judah weighed-in at just 143 pounds. Beaten up by a bigger, stronger fighter, Zab didn't look so super. It seemed clear to the commentators calling the fight that the Brooklyn boxer came in too low, especially against a very big welterweight in Clottey, and it seemed clear to many fight fans afterwards that Judah's immediate future was in the light-welterweight division. Indeed, if he is to have a future in the upper echelon of pro boxing, Zab must drop down a weight in his very next fight.
He can still make 140 pounds easily enough, there are a number of big names inhabiting the weight class that he could fight and Zab will have a much more even playing field on which to compete. In far less danger of being manhandled and worn down by fighters who do not enter the ring at anything from 150 to 160 pounds on fight night, Judah's still silky skills would give him a good chance of achieving victory. It seems, however, that Zab will stay at welterweight. Believing he can once again reign at 147 pounds, Judah sees the welterweights out there and he wants to get it on with them.
Clearly, a distinct pattern has emerged in Zab's recent fights at welterweight, though. We can perhaps give Zab a break when it comes to the loss to Carlos Baldomir. A big upset, Judah was looking ahead to a showdown with Floyd Mayweather Junior and took "Tata" lightly. The loss to "Pretty Boy" was no indication that Zab had to move down seven pounds either; what with the 2006 version of Mayweather being smallish for the weight also. But what occurred after those two losses proved beyond doubt that Judah belongs in the 140 pound division.
Beaten and beaten up by two natural welterweights in Miguel Cotto and then Clottey, Judah's punches had less of an effect on either guy than they would have against a man his own size, his own punch resistance wasn't up to taking a big welterweight's best shot, and in the end Zab faded, was worn down and then beaten (a stoppage loss was surely on the cards in the Clottey fight, before the premature ending saved Zab). As good as he was/is, Judah was not big enough or heavy enough on fight night to be able to defeat Cotto or Clottey.
Now, with his record sporting six defeats, five of them against welterweights, Judah should be doing nothing but scouring the light-welterweight ranks in search of his next opponent. More comfortable at 140 and a more effective puncher there, Zab would have to be given a good shot against any of the current world champions. A fight against any of the top men such as Ricky Hatton, Timothy Bradley, Kendal Holt and others would be great for Judah - and against any of the fighters listed he would have a strong chance of pulling off a win.
There may be more money at welterweight, it may be a more traditional and attractive weight class, but if Zab Judah wants to have any future atop the boxing landscape he MUST drop back down to light-welterweight - the division he won his first world title in back in 2000.
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