The inconsistency of Zab Judah rivals only his uncertainty. Despite Judah’s efforts to once again have his antics overshadow the fight, what resulted was one of the best fights of the year and the emergence of a new star in boxing.
Miguel Cotto vs. Zab Judah – WBA Welterweight Title
The buzz around this fight was electric. It was the perfect time and the perfect place for a fight between Cotto and Judah. Over 20,000 fans filled Madison Square Garden and it makes sense to believe that most of them would be in support of Brooklyn-native Zab Judah. Just not the day before the Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC. Judah came to the ring to the background of boo birds. There were a few Judah chants throughout the fight but they paled in comparison to the Puerto Rican born champion Miguel Cotto.
Cotto likes to come at you and attack the body. Unfortunately for Judah, Cotto’s aim to the body was a little off. One shot to the balls in the first round put Judah on the mat. Every man has been hit in the balls by something at one point in his life but usually not by the welterweight champion of the world. Still, Judah oversold the hit in order to gain an advantage. Cotto sneaked in an uppercut to Judah’s jewels again in the third and it was showtime. Judah did everything he could to make it look like he was shot twice in the kidneys. The referee deducted a point from Cotto but it seemed like Judah was trying to win by DQ, a lame strategy for anyone to employ.
The fight became awesome once Zab realized he was actually going to have to fight Cotto. Judah has tremendous hand speed and it was confusing to watch him use it so sparingly. He landed great combinations but allowed Cotto to impose his will and dictate the pace of the fight. Cotto was throwing bombs and Judah let him, deciding to throw his own back. The problem was that Judah couldn’t last in a 12 round brawl with Miguel Cotto. He needed to be slick and outbox the champion. That never happened.
Judah had Cotto hurt a couple of times in the fight, once by a left straight in the second round that wobbled Cotto. Cotto was bleeding heavily from his mouth during the third round but the cut may have come sooner. Judah was cut over his right eye in the fourth round from a headbutt. The blood would remain throughout the fight but Judah’s eye would become swollen by the ninth.
Cotto caught Judah in the corner in the sixth round and pummeled him until the merciful sound of the bell to end the round. Judah appeared out of it yet bravely fought the 7th round, perhaps the best round of the year. Cotto had control in the early part of the round but Judah rocked Cotto and appeared to be in position to finish the fight. Judah just didn’t have enough gas in the tank to do the job.
Miguel Cotto kept applying pressure to the obviously tired Judah. Zab actually took a knee in the ninth round just to get ten seconds to himself, a sign of Judah’s newfound ring maturity. Judah was left with nothing but a homerun shot. Judah attempted to bait Cotto in with taunts while he backpedaled, hoping to land that big counter uppercut that would end the fight. It never came as Cotto continued to swarm Judah and scored an official knockdown in the 11th. Zab knew he was done but he courageously got to his feet to continue the fight. About thirty seconds later the referee stepped in and made the right call in stopping the fight and awarding Cotto the victory.
Miguel Cotto became a star with this performance. His fighting style is such that you have to watch him no matter his opponent, like Chuck Liddell or Sub-Zero. Bigger fights lie ahead for Cotto, like a showdown with Antonio Margarito should he defeat Paul Williams in July. Floyd Mayweather Jr would be an excellent matchup for HBO PPV but it’s not likely to happen since Floyd doesn’t fight people that have a chance at beating him. He’s got to protect that “pound-for-pound” title, you know. Regardless, Cotto will be HBO’s next pay-per-view darling. Funny how they let him go to Showtime last year though. At 26-years-old, Cotto is boxing’s brightest star of the future.
X-Plosive Undercard Results
– Julio Cesar Chavez Jr knocked out Grover Wiley in the third round.
– Cotto/Judah wasn’t the only fight that was a bloody mess. Humberto Soto put quite a beating on Bobby Pacquiao over seven rounds. Bobby was unable to see from his left eye and Humberto finished him off in the seventh with a knockout. Give credit to Bobby Pacquiao for not giving up and fighting back even though he was overmatched.
– Yuri Foreman remained undefeated with a split decision victory over Anthony Thompson.
Other Results From The Week
– Click here for information on Antonio Tarver vs. Elvir Muriqi as well as Chad Dawson vs. Jesus Ruiz.
– Christian Cruz had his corner stop his fight with Jean Pascal after the 10th round of their super middleweight bout.
– Herman Ngoudjo eked out a split decision over Randall Bailey in an IBF Light Welterweight Eliminator. It was a close fight and Ngoudjo has lined himself up with the winner of Lovemore N’dou and Paulie Malignaggi next week.
– Tomasz Adamek rebounded from his loss to Chad Dawson in February by moving up to cruiserweight and putting a 7th round TKO on Luis Pineda.
– After two years away from boxing, former heavyweight challenger Andrew Golota returned to the ring and scored a 2nd round TKO of journeyman Jeremy Bates.