Posted by George Hanson., Jr Esq. on Mar 20, 2011
Who is Zab Judah? — Mabuza Loses in Seven

Who is Zab Judah? — Mabuza Loses in Seven

The Mouthpiece
By George Hanson, Jr

Date:        Saturday, March 5, 2011
Venue:      The Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Promoters: Main Events & Super Judah Promotions 
Coverage:  PPV 
Announcer: Joe Antonacci
Matchmaker:      J. Russell Peltz
Referees:           Steve Smoger, Sammy Viruet & Dave Franciosi

“Who is Zab Judah?” sarcastically responded Kevin Cunningham, Devon Alexander’s trainer. It was early August during a teleconference for the Devon Alexander vs. Andriy Kotelnik junior-welterweight showdown. I made the egregious mistake of mentioning to 

Judah (L.) lands the left hook in Round 7.

everyone on the call that former junior-welterweight and welterweight champion Zab “Super” Judah, now campaigning at his natural weight of 140 pounds, should be given serious consideration as an opponent for WBC and IBF champion, Devon Alexander, WBO champion, Timothy Bradley and WBA champion, Amir Khan. Maybe I should have mounted my soapbox and told them what I had been saying for some time now – all three champions were keeping their belts warm until Judah decided to knock them all out. 

However, this was not the time or place for debate. Maybe Cunningham was suffering from amnesia brought on by the early stages of pugilistic dementia—since it was reported that he boxed in the Army and there is a strong correlation between fighters who took bountiful punches to the head and deteriorating memory and judgment. Unlike Cunningham – despite an extensive amateur career – I continue to spar and haven’t shown any trace of losing ground. Hell, I remember clearly that it was Zab Judah who knocked out Cory Spinks, Cunningham’s fighter, to win the unified welterweight title. Yet Cunningham was having difficulty remembering the pugilist, whose slate was 32 wins – 2 losses, having held the IBF junior-welterweight championship, by the time Alexander cashed his first professional check in May 2004. 

I guess Cunningham assumed that his intended deleterious verbal right would have put me in my place. Defense was always my forte, so I parried the blow, commented on how good Alexander looked in stopping iron-chinned Juan Urango in his previous fight and wished him well. You had to love Alexander, who was honest, humble and self-deprecating.  But Cunningham continued on the offensive letting the Kotelnik camp know what his fighter was going to do to the challenger. There is something wrong when the trainer, who isn’t a contributor to the punch count, is the one with diarrhea of the mouth. 

Who is Zab Judah? Before I answer Cunningham’s question, I hope this essay will serve as a commentary to trainers who fail to realize that the pen is mightier than the sword and that humility is as important as a jab. Mr. Cunnigham – Zab Judah is the IBF junior-welterweight champion. He stopped South Africa’s Kaiser Mabuza (23 wins – 6 losses – 3 draws –14 kos), the mandatory challenger that Alexander passed up, getting stripped of the IBF belt, to face WBO champion Timothy Bradley in a more lucrative bout in January. 

Mabuza (R.) keeping the pressure on Judah

th round. True, he had been head-butted on numerous occasions and had a cut over his eye. However, many boxers have weathered the storm under more grim circumstances—Sugar Ray Leonard against Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns in 1981. I also failed to mention that you couldn’t inspire him to continue. But I guess being a motivator is no longer a requisite part of the job description for a head trainer. It has been replaced with being boorish with press members on media day. 

Who is Zab Judah? Judah (40 wins – 6 losses – 0 draws –27 kos) is the wily 33-year-old southpaw veteran who was wise enough to acquire the services of his boyhood idol, former four-division world champion Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, to train him for this fight. Whitaker is one of the greatest fighters to have ever laced up a pair of gloves and is a southpaw. Who better to train another 

Judah (L.) attacking a ducking Mabuza

 southpaw but the man with a Ph.D. in boxing from the southpaw stance? Judah is the pugilist who was able to follow Whitaker’s game plan by boxing behind a jab, touching the advancing Mbuza to the head and body and avoiding exchanges, taking him into the deep waters of the later rounds. 

Who is Zab Judah? Judah is the talented boxer whose virtuoso finesse was reminiscent of his new trainer—slipping and sliding while punches whistled past his head, sticking to the game plan forcing the South African to use his legs while leaving himself open. You have to love Mabuza who came forward throwing with bad intentions, firmly believing that he needed a knockout in order to take the title back to Johannesburg. He came forward and was credited with a fourth round knockdown when one of his punches grazed Judah on the shoulder as he was doing his best impersonation of Whitaker and his glove touched the canvas milliseconds after the punch “landed.” This was met with much protest from Judah who regained his composure. Referee Viruet made the right call. 

Who is Zab Judah? He is the fighter that despite getting wobbled with a big right hand by Mabuza did not deviate from the fight plan. He continued to jab avoiding a shoot-out with his advancing adversary. Maybe the best answer to the question is that Judah is the calculating patient maestro who understands timing and opportunity. Because as Mabuza was cocking his right hand in Round 7, Judah countered with a blistering left hook that spun the South African face first into the ropes forcing Referee Viruet to call a knockdown and render an eight-count. Seizing the opportunity, Judah raced across the ring like a lion on a wounded gazelle and rained down on Mabuza like an Indian monsoon landing every conceivable punch before the referee jumped in to rescue the man from Johannesburg at 59 seconds.  

Other Results:

Middleweight Tarvis Simms (26 wins – 1 loss – 1 draw –1 ko) of Norwalk, Connecticut won a unanimous eight-round decision by scores of 79-72, 79-73 and 78-74 over tough John Mackey (13 wins – 5 losses – 2 draws – 6 kos) of Washington, D.C. in the battle of southpaws. Debuting welterweight Vinny Obrien of Hanover, New Jersey was impressive winning a third round technical knockout over rugged David Navarro  (0 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Navarro’s corner did not allow him to answer the 

Hackett (L.) countering Crosby’s jab

bell for the fourth round because his eyes were severely swollen from punishment dished out by the relentless Obrien in the nine minutes of fighting. Brooklyn, New York’s Shemuel Pagan (1 win – 0 losses – 0 draws – 0 kos) made short work of winless Marco Garcia (0 wins – 3 losses – 0 draws – 0 kos) dropping him with an uppercut forcing his corner to throw in the towel at 1:33 of the scheduled four-round lightweight bout. Welterweight Jose Peralta (4 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 2 kos) of Jersey City, New Jersey won by technical knockout at 2:44 of the opening stanza when his opponent Clifford McPherson (2 wins – 3 losses – 1 draw – 1 ko) of Cleveland, Ohio hit the canvas wincing in pain after throwing a punch during an exchange. It appeared that McPherson injured his hand and was unable to continue. Judah’s brother and fellow southpaw, welterweight Chris Crosby (5 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 1 ko) of Brooklyn, New York won a four-round split-decision over the slick-boxing Greg Hackett (2 wins – 5 losses – 0 draws –0 kos) of Philadelphia. It was evident that Hackett was the superior boxer and could have made it a short night. Nevertheless, despite showing us his defensive wizardry— enjoying himself instead of putting some serious hurt on his opponent— he did enough to have been awarded the decision and thus was surprised when only one judge scored it for him 39-37 while the other two had it 39-37 and 40-36 for Crosby.  Hackett was so disgusted that he removed his trunks in the center of the ring and walked back to the dressing room wearing only the biker’s shorts that he wore underneath. Unfortunately, his protest cost him 20 percent of his purse. I could write a book on Hackett and how he is an exceptional boxer, but is squandering his vast talents by lacking focus and seriousness. He should have taken the decision out of the hands of the judges by stopping Crosby. 

It took me seven months to provide Cunningham with a cogent rebuttable and answer regarding the identity of the Zab “Super” Judah—former and now new IBF junior-welterweight champion. Judah’s performance has cleared up many misconceptions. On the other hand, Alexander’s has raised several troubling questions regarding his boxing acumen and temerity. What we thought was gold might be pyrite. Well, Cunningham can take consolation that the shrewd calculating Don “Only In America” King, Alexander’s promoter, had peeked into the contents of Cunningham’s fighter and was judicious to sell another shipment for seven figures to HBO before Bradley opened the box and exposed its true contents—Alexander signed for a lucrative payday on the network prior to their unification match in January. Maybe Cunningham needs to spent more time rubbing away the amateur residue left on his fighter and leave the questions to the members of the media—especially the one from Kingston, Jamaica. 

Continue to support the sweet science, and remember, always carry your mouthpiece! 

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About George Hanson., Jr Esq.

George Hanson., Jr Esq. has written 106 post in this blog.

Hailing from New Forest, Jamaica, Hanson started boxing as a teenager in Philadelphia under the tutelage of former welterweight contender, Dick Turner. He excelled, capturing four Pennsylvania State Amateur Championships—his last while a junior at Drexel University studying Accounting. According to most who have seen Hanson fight, “He is the best fighter never to have turned professional.”

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