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It’s Now or Never for Zab Judah

By David Kassel: For years Zab Judah has been one of boxing’s biggest attractions. The 33-year-old Brooklyn native is a box office mainstay and has been in the ring with some of the sport’s brightest talents. Nobody has ever questioned “Super” Judah’s ability. It’s Zab’s will and desire that have left fans craving more.

Before his 2001 bout with recent Hall-of-Fame inductee Kostya Tszyu, Judah was on his way to becoming boxing’s next superstar. He had the look, the marketability, the swagger, and the boxing ability to defeat anybody who stood in his way. Tszyu came in and changed all that with one of the most memorable knockouts in boxing history. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o7A3rMN6Co)


Since that time Judah has had some out-of-ring troubles among other issues that have kept his focus from being 100% in the ring. The only significant wins on Zab’s resume have been a knockout of undisputed welterweight champion Cory Spinks (in a rematch of Spinks’ win over Judah), and a controversial split-decision win over Argentine knockout artist Lucas Matthysse.

Whenever Judah has taken a step up in competition with nothing to prove he comes up short. Has it been a lack of focus or preparation? That certainly seemed to be the case in losses to Spinks, Carlos Baldomir, and Joshua Clottey. Has he been over-matched in the ring? Fights with Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto would suggest so. What about a lack of conditioning? Judah is known for fading in the later rounds.

Whatever the case may be, Judah has always had the ability of a superstar that has never lived up to the hype. His junior-welterweight unification showdown with Amir Khan Saturday night is Judah’s last chance to prove he is among the elite in boxing and not one of sports “could have been great but never achieved greatness” stories.

Zab should consider himself lucky to be in this position. This fight was supposed to be Khan versus Timothy Bradley for 140-lb supremacy. Bradley’s promotional situation prevented the fight from being signed paving the way for Judah’s last chance at one shining moment. Will Zab step up and prove he still has life left in the tank? The only person with the answer is “Super” Judah himself. We will know where he stands after Saturday night.

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