Last Chance for Zab Judah?
By Kirk Jackson: Zab Judah is scheduled to fight against Jose Armando Santa Cruz in a welter weight fight July 16th on Espn’s Friday Night Fights.
The winner of this fight will probably get a title shot somewhere down the line in either the welterweight or junior welterweight division, so this is an important match for both men.
Now who is Jose Armando Santa Cruz? A solid contender and former WBC interim title holder moving up from the light weight division, Santa Cruz fought against the likes of former WBC Lightweight Champion David Diaz and former Lineal Lightweight Champion Joel Casamayor.
Even though Santa Cruz lost to Diaz via technical knockout in the 10th round, he was up on the cards at the time of the stoppage. After a few victories to get on the comeback trail, Santa Cruz went up against and in the eyes of many seemed to defeat the Cuban legend Joel Casamayor in a 12 round decision. 2 out of the 3 judges would claim otherwise as Casamayor was awarded the controversial decision. Albeit it was a faded Casamayor, it was still a great showing nonetheless from Santa Cruz.
Now most of the people that follow boxing has the drop on Judah.
Judah, a fighter blessed with immense talent and athleticism which includes lightening fast reflexes, and dazzling hand speed that even rivals the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Roy Jones, and Ray Leonard. But there have always been inconsistencies with him throughout his career. Perhaps being trained by his father and falling victim to the distractions and circumstances of his surroundings, or never having the right discipline instilled in him from the beginning, which ever the case may be, Judah hasn’t lived up to his full potential. Looking back he has had a pretty good career but missed many opportunities.
A multiple division world champion, and former top p4p fighter, Zab Judah has certainly fallen from the graces of elite boxers over past 3 years or so. Although Zab has been defeated by the who’s who of welterweights in the last few years with losses to Joshua Clottey, Miguel Cotto, and Floyd Mayweather, Zab’s inconsistency and unrealized potential has many of his supporters disappointed.
There is no way he should of lost to Carlos Baldomir. Although Baldomir has a great chin, he is a journeyman worker type fighter and Zab had the physical attributes and skills to easily defeat him. But I guess we should of saw this coming at some point. Judah lost to David Diaz twice during the Olympic trials in 1996 which resulted in not making the team. With no disrespect intended towards David Diaz, he is no one near the caliber of fighter of Judah at least in regards to talent. Maybe this just boils down to Judah lacking focus.
Enter Jose Armando Santa Cruz. Expect him to come forward and try to apply pressure to Judah. Many may believe this should suit Judah well, because this style is tailor made for Judah’s style, as he should be able to use his speed and reflexes to counterpunch and land sharp punches on Santa Cruz, who has a tendency to come forward throwing looping punches. But it has also been noted, Zab has a tendency to wilt under pressure over the last few years, and has also had stamina issues and a lack of focus over the course of a fight.
So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised if Judah loses to Santa Cruz this upcoming Friday because Zab is a classic example of a fighter being blessed with all the physical tools and talent, but lacking discipline and direction. Maybe at 32 with his career winding down, Zab finally got the message. This could be his last chance.