Judah Defeats Vazquez
Former WBA/WBC/IBF welterweight and IBF light welterweight champion Zab Judah (35-5, 25 KOs) won a more difficult than expected 10-round unanimous decision over veteran Edwin Vazquez (22-11-2, 8 KOs) at the Hard Rock Casino, in Biloxi, Mississippi, on Friday night. Judah, 29, was cruising along in the first three rounds of the bout, peppering the slower and less-skilled 35-year old Vazquez with jabs, uppercuts and combinations. However, was cut over the left eye in the fourth round from a head-butt, which had a substantial effect on Judah’s offensive output, making him much more economical with his punches until late in the bout when Judah suddenly began firing on all cylinders again.
Though he was not in Judah’s class in terms of skills, Vazquez, who was fighting for only the eighth time in seven years, he did a remarkably good job at pressuring and landing punches on against Judah, especially up until round six when he was fighting at his best. However, Vazquez couldn’t stay competitive with Judah after the fight passed the sixth round, at which time Judah turned it up a notch with his offense, badly outclassing Vazquez for the remaining four rounds of the fight.
The final judges’ scores were 100-90, 98-93 and 97-93, giving the decision to Judah.
Judah’s left hand was injured in the early rounds of the fight, Judah said later, commenting on why he hadn’t been able to stop Vazquez early in the fight as was predicted by many boxing experts. To be sure, the southpaw Judah rarely used his left hand until the eighth round of the fight. Before that, he mostly threw it downstairs to Vazquez’s body, a place where it would less likely further injure Judah’s sore hand.
Vazquez continued applying a lot of pressure on Judah on rounds six through eight, but he was mostly limited to one to two punches at a time. In contrast, Judah was constantly landing 2-4 punch combinations, which were thrown with more force than Vazquez’s shots. Judah’s speed and crafty boxing style, also thrust him far ahead of the slower, less skilled Vazquez, whose abilities paled beside those of Judah. Vazquez, a Puerto Rican by birth, seemed to be taking a page out of Miguel Cotto’s book, Judah’s last opponent, by trying to pressure him and wear him out with body shots. However, Vazquez, only a mild puncher, wasn’t able to put enough on his punches to bother Judah for any length of time in the fight. Arguably, Vazquez found the most success in rounds five and six, when he was able to land frequent combinations, but that was only made possible because Judah was letting him in close on purpose so that he could hit him with counter shots.
In rounds eight-ten, Judah completely took over the fight, blasting Vazquez with pot shots, looking to take him out with left hands. However, Vazquez took the blows well, showing no signs of being hurt at any time. At the end of the fight, Judah’s face was badly swollen around both eyes, a portion of it coming from the head-butt in the fourth round, and the other likely from Vazquez’s right hands that he’d been able to have success in landing. Judah’s face, however, didn’t indicate how well Judah had performed in the bout, as he did well, having no problem with Vazquez at any point in the fight. Clearly, Judah could have easily have won in a one-sided fashion if he so chosen to, but in his efforts to try and entertain the fans, he allowed Vazquez in closer than he would have done otherwise against a power puncher like Kermit Cintron.