Khan proves me wrong, signs to fight Judah
By Mark Young: I have to admit it, I did not expect to see Amir Khan signing to fight Zab Judah any time soon, but it seems I’m going to have to eat my words, as both fighters have agreed to face each other in Las Vegas on the 23rd of July. I was adamant that Khan wouldn’t be fighting Judah, I still have niggling doubts that somewhere between now and fight night a spanner will enter the works and stop things happening, but until then, like I said in my last article I’m prepared to admit “I got it totally wrong”.
Although I didn’t think Khan would take the fight, I do think he has a good chance of winning it. Khan is explosive from the start and while his opponents are trying to figure him out he does offer some serious bang, just ask Marcos Maidana about the body shot that just about bent him in half in the first round of their match up, if it hadn’t been for the bell Maidana would be sitting on Khans resume next to Dmitriy Salita as a first round KO victim. I have no idea why Amir decided to leave Maidana’s body in the second round, it was a big mistake not to follow up on such a savage blow and in doing so it nearly cost Khan the fight.
Having said I think Khan has a good chance of winning doesn’t mean I can’t see Zab Judah winning either, in fact I think this fight could go either way, which is exactly why I couldn’t see Golden Boy Promotions or HBO allowing Khan in the ring with such an unpredictable guy. Zab Judah has a long list of names on his resume, which made the accusations of being a ducker or runner ridiculous. If there’s one thing about Zab that could be consistent is his willingness to fight the next big name that comes along, that though would be the only thing about Zab that is consistent!. Judah can be wild, he’s willing to throw a perfectly good game plan to the wind and swing himself into exhaustion, which makes him dangerous not only to his opponent but to himself. The Brooklyn born fighter is now working with defensive genius Pernell “sweet pea” Whitaker, this can only be a good thing for Zab, though it does not change his temperament, it just gives him more tools to use under pressure.
As this fight progresses it surely has to go into Khans favour, for all the problems he does have, his fitness is definitely not one of them, Khan trains relentlessly, his stamina and conditioning should leave him looming over Judah as the rounds progress, that said, his legs are not in proportion to his upper body which means he tires under constant pressure to his body. Zab Judah in my opinion is good for around eight rounds, so assuming that Khan stays true to form and piles it on for the first two rounds, hoping to get the IBF champion out of there quickly, Zab will do his best work between the 3rd and 8th round. Freddy Roach will likely allow Khan of the leash for the first couple of rounds just to see how Zab copes with his high output then reign him in until the latter rounds if things aren’t working, knowing he’ll be able to capitalize on Zab’s lack of stamina if the fight heads towards the championship rounds.
I expect this fight to be explosive from the start, Khan will definitely come out quickly, his problems will arise from the fact that Zab Judah is a southpaw, and unlike Khans last opponent, Paul McCloskey, Zab Judah does know how to find his target. The outcome of this fight could well depend upon the referee, I expect that camp Khan will hit speed dial#1 and call in Joe “firm but fair” Cortez, a man who it could be said helped Khan out considerably in the Maidana fight, by intervening any time the action went inside. It would definitely be in Khans interest to keep this fight on the outside, he pretty much adopts the Arthur Abraham approach to defence and hides behind his gloves, from this position however he doesn’t seem to know how to launch an attack, and nor does he know how to duck and roll, he backs up to the ropes and waits until he can launch into a clinch, it was the lack of initiative that Khan showed in this position against Maidana that led to his nose getting more of a workout than Ricky Hattons did during his infamous cocaine binges, I truly thought that Amirs nose would never return to it’s former shape after that fight. Khan says his chin was tested in that fight, one things for sure, his nose certainly was.
If I were pushed to pick a winner I would have to lean towards Amir Khan if the fight goes into the latter rounds, with the first half of the fight being anyone’s. For all their abusive tweeting about chins and dancing, both fighters go to absolute pieces when they’re tagged, with Amir having the slightly glassier chin. I think the potential for a knockout victory is high on both sides, if the referee allows things to move inside and doesn’t jump in, ala Joe Cortez, then Zab Judah has a great chance to KO Khan and set up any fight he wants. Manny Pacquiao wouldn’t be able to resist Judah, while a complete unification bout would surely be too much for Bradley to resist. For those wondering about this period of Bradley inactivity, it’s worth bearing in mind that he’s known to be waiting for his contract with his promoter to run out and it is well known that Bradley was not likely to accept any offers while he was still being forced to pay a fortune to his promoter.
I may have been totally wrong about the fight happening, but I’m glad I am, this fight does have great potential, two chinny punchers with everything to lose.