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20 NOVEMBER 2018

 

Zab Judah: “Amir Khan is My Appetizer”




Jerry Glick reporting: Zab “Super” Judah has so much talent that he is able to keep coming back time and time again. He was a junior-welterweight champion early in his career and a later he won recognition as the unified (WBC, WBA, IBF) welterweight champion. He would lose those titles but that didn’t stop him from earning yet another title and a unification championship fight.

One year ago Judah returned to his roots; he rejoined Main Events and he easily moved back to 140 pounds. After three wins in that weight class, annexing the IBF belt along the way, the 33 year old Judah will face Amir Khan on July 23rd, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas in a unification fight with Khan’s WBA Super World Light-Welterweight title and Judah’s IBF title at stake.

There is a new calm in Brooklyn reared Zab Judah who now resides in Las Vegas, and it serves him well. It has helped him focus and achieve success in a way that has eluded him in the past.

With Hall of Famer Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker training him, Judah is confident that he will be ready on fight night.

“I expect him to be fast,” said Judah of his opponent. “It doesn’t matter what Amir Khan brings to the table, I’m 100% ready. I respect him as a fighter; do I respect his fight game? No I don’t.”

When we talked about what he can expect from Khan Zab said that it was not about him but rather, “It’s about the opportunity of me going in there and being 100% ready, and to come in there and perform for the fans.”

He added that it’s Sweet Pea’s and his time to show the world who is best. The combination of Whitaker and Judah is a match made in heaven. As a youngster Judah once carried Whitaker’s championship belt into the ring before his fight with Oscar De La Hoya in 1997, but there is more; Whitaker was a southpaw with a speedy, slick style, not unlike Judah’s. The only markedly different aspect in their styles is Judah’s power. Zab refuses to put himself in Whitaker’s league and maybe he is correct, but it remains to be seen how history will consider Zab Judah.

“I don’t claim to put myself on the level of Pernell Whitaker,” said a gracious Judah. “He’s a legend, a Hall of Famer. The things that he’s done in boxing I’ll try to accomplish. I’m just going to go in there and achieve greatness.”

Zab admits that Whitaker has had an influence on his style and that he may have taken on some of his moves, but he insists that he not a clone of his mentor.


“Pernell has had a big influence on my style,” said Judah, “but there can’t be an identical duplicate, but I do try to take all the good Pernell Whitaker has and has done in boxing and assimilated it with my style to make a great Zab Judah.”

***PUNCHLINES***

**IF I WERE PROMOTING KHAN**

An interesting statement by Zab; he said that if his promotional company, Super Judah Promotions, were handling Khan’s affairs he would not be fighting such an accomplished opponent as himself.

“I think Amir Khan is a great fighter but I think that timing right now is the thing,” said Judah. “If Amir Khan was a fighter in Super Judah Promotions we would not be putting him in with a fighter with the caliber of Zab “Super” Judah, no way. Down the line, yeah, but right now I’d keep him winning.”

“I know that there are things running through his mind like what if Zab is as slick as they say he is? The great Freddy Roach has to be wondering the same kind of thing,” added Judah.

Furthermore Judah refers to Khan as his “appetizer” as he campaigns to clean up the 140 pound division.

“Right now I’m on my appetizer,” explained a relaxed Judah. “I’m going to focus in on my appetizer. Once I’m done with my (that) I’ll make my entree decision.”

**SPARRING IN VEGAS**

It has been said that because of the amount of boxing gyms in Las Vegas it is easier to find the right kind of sparring for fighters of Judah’s level. After defending his east coast roots, Judah said that he has good sparring in his adopted home town of Las Vegas, but he has been unable to find a sparring partner there who has the hand speed of Amir Khan or his style of boxing, locally, but he said that they reached out to find them, adding, “I have a couple of sparring partners who could beat Amir Khan.” He refused to name them.


**MARQUEZ! MARQUEZ!**

Back in March Judah stopped Kaizer Mabuza to take the vacant IBF belt. After the win he had only one name on his mind and he made sure that his promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events knew that, when he kept repeating Juan Manuel Marquez’ name at the post fight press conference, but he said that he is more than happy with the way things have worked out.

“When you campaign for a (particular) fighter,” said Zab. “It doesn’t mean that you’re always going to get him.”

Furthermore he refused to commit to wanting anyone in particular next, including WBC/WBO Champion Tim Bradley.

**WEIGHT FOR ZAB**

Judah expects to have no trouble getting to 140 pounds or less. The only time he had a little trouble at the scales was for his welterweight title fight with Carlos Baldimir.

“I was two ounces overweight,” recalls Judah. “So I had to go and take a leak and made the weight. That was the last time I ever had a weight problem.”

He admits that 140 pounds is his Ideal weight class. “I love it,” said Zab. “I’m going to stick around and campaign here.”

Asked if he could ever see himself at 147 again, Judah said that he can’t say yes or no. “It depends on which hand I’m being dealt.”



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