Derek Bonnett previews the intriguing Zab Judah vs Cletus Seldin clash and picks a winner
For every Rocky Marciano, Joe Calzaghe or Ricardo Lopez there are a multitude of boxers like Evander Holyfield, Roberto Duran and Julio Cesar Chavez who fought on well past their best and long enough to lose to average, mortal fighters. It was easy to imagine Holyfield losing to Riddick Bowe, but Sultan Ibragimov was a standard far below the bar set by the "Real Deal" in his golden days. Ray Leonard besting Duran was almost expected, but Robbie Sims? Oscar De La Hoya pounding an old Chavez was part of the natural curve, but who imagined Willy Wise embarrassing the "Lion of Culiacan"?
So, it should be no surprise that boxing fans are split when it comes to picking the winner between Zab Judah and Cletus Seldin at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York on June 7. Judah, after all, was nowhere near as mighty as the aforementioned all-time great champions. However, Judah was always a player in the super-lightweight and welterweight divisions, holding numerous alphabet straps and scoring strong victories over Micky Ward, Terron Millett, Cory Spinks and Lucas Matthysse in a career that began in 1996. At nearly 42 years of age, the once speedy Judah, 44-9 (30), has been inactive and without a quality win since 2012.
Seldin, 32, has never beaten a fighter the calibre of Zab Judah at any point of the former champion’s career. Their Brooklyn connection brings them together as one fighter seeks to move forward and the other hopes to hang on. Seldin has power and has scored some flashy stoppages over limited opposition. In his biggest step up, Seldin found himself down in each of the first three rounds before losing on points to Yves Ulysses Jr in 2017. While questions have been raised about his chin, standing up for the last seven rounds sure answered some about his heart.
Seldin, 23-1 (19), will need to fight with respect. After all, he is stepping back up in class. Even if Judah is older, slower and plenty worn, he still originates from a pedigree far above Seldin’s class. Judah will also need to show respect, but for himself mostly. Judah need only to win. Seldin has the responsibility to impress boxing pundits. Judah has already been there. He’s been dropped and stopped, cut and fouled; he’s seen it all. Judah can win if he boxes wisely and focuses on a long fight. He can seize the opportunity to finish Seldin if it comes.
I see Seldin going down early and struggling with his bad moments for a few rounds. As Judah fades, the cards become closer, but Seldin will run out of time and lose by split decision to start the International Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend fireworks.