Khan-Judah: Who’s Your Daddy?

By Robert Ecksel on July 17, 2011
Khan-Judah: Who’s Your Daddy?
“He’s a great fighter,” says Whitaker, “one of the best in the world.” (Robert Ecksel)

As far as Khan is concerned, Judah is all bark and no bite, talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, and he’ll roll over when the going gets tough…

The junior welterweight unification bout between WBA champion Amir “King” Khan (25-1, 17 KOs) and IBF champion Zab “Super” Judah (41-6, 28 KOs) this Saturday, July 23rd, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas could be a classic.

In a one corner you have 24-year-old Khan, the young gun, a Muslim of Pakistani extraction born in the UK, taking a big step up in class. In the other corner you have 33-year-old Judah, the old pro, born into a family of Black Hebrew Israelites in Brooklyn, ready to show the world that he’s not done.

Both Khan and Judah, after early successes, had both been pretty much written off, which makes this fight between two champions even more intriguing than it would have been normally.

Khan suffered his only loss, a first round KO to Breidis Prescott in Sept. 2009, in a shocker that no one expected, least of all Khan himself. The experts figured that that was it for Khan, he had his run, he was nothing more than a media creation anyway, so goodbye and good riddance. But because Khan is young, and because he has a fighting heart, he picked himself up, got himself together, and resumed his winning ways, notching seven victories in his last seven fights and grabbing a WBA belt in the process.

Judah went through a rough patch of his own a few years back when he lost four of seven fights (with one no decision) in two years. Losses to Carlos Baldomir and Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2006, Miguel Cotto in 2007, and Joshua Clottey in 2008 are nothing to be ashamed of, but nothing to be proud of either. Judah, unlike Khan, didn’t immediately bounce back and return to the fray. He had only two fights in the next two years, and neither was against a marquee fighter. But Judah turned things around. He defeated Lucas Matthysse in Nov. 2010 to win the WBO junior welterweight title, and four months later stopped a resurgent Kaizer Mabuza to win the IBF crown.

“It was a long road back to the top,” says an older and wiser Judah, “but this is what a champion is made of. When they’re knocked down, they rise back up to the top.

“A lot of things have changed over the years. I’m pretty pleased to see that Amir and Freddie watch my old tapes to learn about the old Zab Judah. The new Judah is a monster who is 150% prepared for Khan. We’re prepared for July 23rd. We’re definitely going to take him to school. After Saturday night he’ll realize that Golden Boy and Freddie Roach set him up as a pawn. He’s a great fighter, just a bit premature.”

Judah took a long overdue step and demoted his father/trainer, the volatile Yoel Judah, and replaced him with Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, one of the greatest boxers in history.

“He’s a great fighter,” says Whitaker of Judah, “one of the best in the world. We still have work to do. This is just the beginning.”

Khan’s trainer, while never a pound-for-pounder in the ring, is no slouch when it comes to being a cornerman. Khan has THE master strategist in his corner. If there are flaws in Judah’s game, and there are flaws in every fighter’s game, you can bet Roach knows what they are and is teaching Khan how best to exploit them.

“I have faith in Freddie,” Khan says. “In three years, Freddie has got the best out of me, and although the fighter has to put the work into it, the trainer has to have the confidence in his guy. It’s an interesting relationship.

“He has shown me so much respect, has invested so much time and belief in me, I have to give my all the entire time. He is so hard-working, so knowledgeable about boxing. I feel I’m in a privileged position that he wants to train me.”

As far as Khan is concerned, Judah is all bark and no bite, talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, and he’ll roll over when the going gets tough.

“Zab’s a tricky southpaw who’s won many world titles,” says Khan, “but I don’t think this is his time. He doesn’t have the hunger that I do. I don’t think he can take the belt I have off me.

“I’m ready for this fight. We come into this fight as favorites and I’m going to take those titles back home. He can say what he wants but I’m more than prepared for the 23rd. He won’t be able to take the pressure, the speed and the power. I think he’s taken the wrong fight. He can say what he wants but deep down he knows he took the wrong fight.  We’ve got a plan ‘A’ and a plan ‘B.’ But to be honest with you we don’t see him getting past plan ‘A.’”

Freddie Roach agrees. He figures Judah has a puncher’s chance, but “Zab has bitten off more than he can chew for this one.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Amir Khan vs Paul McCloskey - HIGHLIGHTS

HBO Boxing: Amir Khan vs. Marcos Rene Maidana Highlights (HBO)

Amir Khan vs Dimitry Salita

HBO Boxing: Zab Judah vs. Lucas Matthysse Highlights (HBO)

Zab Judah vs Kaizer Mabuza - Part 1 of 3

Zab Judah vs Kaizer Mabuza - Part 2 of 3

Zab Judah vs Kaizer Mabuza - Part 3 of 3

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  1. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:50am, 07/18/2011

    “If Judah is on and Khan is off, JUDAH (not Khan) picks up the “W”.  Sorry!  Marbles of the brain!

  2. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:34am, 07/18/2011


  3. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:27am, 07/18/2011

    Iron Beach—I would not touch this bout with a 10-foot pole, never mind a prediction.  And I SERIOUSLY doubt Roach’s game plan for Khan was to stand and fight against Maidana.  If it was, my opinion of Roach just dropped to the basement.  The Maidana bout perhaps EXPOSED a gap between what Roach plugs into Khan’s head in training and what Khan REVERTS to in the ring.  If Khan REVERTS to a low IQ fighter against Judah, he’s in trouble!  However, Khan will have teh size, reach, youth and corner edge in this bout that STRONGLY suggests that ON PAPER, this is Khan’s bout.  But AGAIN, ON PAPER Khan should have DANCED to a DISTANCE win against Maidana and he came damn close to taking a canvas nap.  I will also point out that history has delivered some amazing “twilight” performances from aging lions.  If Judah is on and Khan is off, Khan picks up the “W”.  If a gun were held to my head to make a prediction, I’d read what’s “on paper” and pick Khan.  But I have a very unsettled feel about this bout and continue to see it as a handipicker’s nightmare.

  4. Iron Beach 06:42am, 07/18/2011

    Well Yank, we got less than a week B4 we see if Khan has progressed or remains stagnent as you call it…whats your official prediction btw? I say it happens closer to my view of the fight.

  5. "Old Yank" Schneider 05:29am, 07/18/2011

    Iron Beach—Khan’s bout against Maidana was not exactly last decade.  Khan fought a very low IQ bout against him.  All Khan neeeded to do was use his speed and footwork to remain outside for 12 rounds.  Instead he made a choice to do the fan-friendly, stand-and-fight thing.  It damn near cost him a canvas nap!  Khan would do well to learn a bit from watching vids of Andre Ward.  If Khan continues to allow himself to get battered like Maidana did to him, there is no “best is yet to come” capable of surviving long enough to see it.

  6. Joe 04:58am, 07/18/2011

    Super needs a KO against “Con”. Otherwise it’s just another hometown decision. I think Zab can get him, I sure hope so.

  7. Iron Beach 03:56am, 07/18/2011

    If Khan were the 33 yr. old fighter here I’d agree his ring IQ (we used to call it ring generalship) had reached its zenith, however after 3 yrs.+ with Freddie I say the best is yet to come. This will be an interesting fight for 3-5 rds. then AKs youth power and will begins to take its toll on Zab. Amir dominates after that and depending on Judahs ability to stand up in the late rds….it will end in a Khan KO. Say rd. 10.

  8. "Old Yank" Schneider 03:19am, 07/18/2011

    Which two fighters are going to show up Saturday.  If the 4-round version of Judah shows up, it’s Khan’s bout to lose (presuming he survives the first 4 rounds).  If the low ring IQ version of Khan shows up (like the foolish fight, low IQ winning performance we saw from Khan against Maidana), then it’s Judah’s bout to lose.  I suspect that we’ve already seen the best either of these fighters can produce.  If the best of one meets the worst of the other, any man can win.  This bout is a handicapper’s nightmare.

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