Will Matthysse put Judah out of his misery?
By Jim Dower: 33-year-old Zab Judah (39-6, 27 KO’s) has a tough task ahead of him on Saturday night against number 3 ranked World Boxing Organization light welterweight contender Lucas Martin Matthysse (27-0, 25 KO’s) in a 12 round bout at the Prudential Center, in Newark, New Jersey.
Judah has wasted the last five years of his career serving as fodder for the top welterweights, losing to guys like Carlos Baldomir, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey. Judah’s wins during those years came against lower level 2nd tier fighters.
On Saturday night, Judah will be facing a good puncher in Matthysse and this going to be a real test for Judah. He can’t afford to lose this fight if he wants to move forward and get fights against the better fighters like Devon Alexander, Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana and Timothy Bradley.
Matthysse, 28, is a decent fighter but probably doesn’t deserve the high ranking that the WBO has given him. He’s only fought one recognizable opponent Vivian Harris, and he didn’t look good in that fight, although he won it by a controversial 4th round TKO.
Matthysse looks undersized for a light welterweight, and would probably be better off moving down to lightweight where he would have an easier time. Matthysse actually made the fading Harris look good for three of the four rounds.
In the 4th, Matthysse hurt Harris with a hard right hand and was pummeling him when the referee stepped in and prematurely stopped the fight. It was a bad stoppage because Harris wasn’t hurt, but he was in trouble. Matthysse doesn’t punch as hard as his record would have you believe.
It looked like Harris had more power than him. But what makes Matthysse a dangerous fighter is that he gets in close and loads up on some of his short punches and can hurt his opponents. His defense is terrible, and Judah should be able to hit him at will.
However, Judah needs to try and get this fight over with as fast as he can, because Matthysse can hurt Judah if he’s allowed to get in close and stay in this fight. Judah has a questionable chin, and Matthysse can punch a little. If he’s allowed to work on the inside against Judah, he could take Zab out.
Judah is more of a six to eight round fighter at this point in his career, and doesn’t appear to have the stamina to fight as hard as he used to earlier in his career.
If Matthysse takes Judah out, it could be the end for Judah. I don’t see how he could come back from a knockout against Matthysse. I already think Judah will lose to Alexander and Bradley, but getting beaten by a lesser fighter like Matthysse will really be a strong signal for Judah to hang up the gloves.
Who knows? Maybe Judah could move down to lightweight and compete there, but I don’t see him being a factor any longer if Matthysse stops him and puts him out of his misery.
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