Judah vs. Galvin: No Contest!

By Francis Walker
Updated: April 16, 2007

NEW YORK — Zab Judah’s return after serving a one-year suspension ended in a no-contest. Judah (34-4, 25 KOs), fighting for the first time after serving a one year suspension following his actions during a 10th round melee that erupted after fouling Floyd Mayweather, was calm and cool after journeyman Ruben Galvin (27-11-2, 10 KOs) complained that the gash he had suffered above his left eye resulted from a head butt.

Judah pressured an overmatched Galvin with a series of left jabs and unloaded with a ferocious flurry of shots that opened the wound on Galvin’s face.

After the ringside doctor and referee stopped the fight, which was televised on ESPN Friday Night Fights on April 14, at Fitzgerald’s Hotel & Casino in Tunica, MS, it appeared as though Judah would win via TKO. Galvin, not the referee or doctor, argued that a head butt caused the cut.

There was no head butt or accidental foul that occurred during the 71 seconds of Judah ’s slaughter of Galvin.

So why was Judah’s slaughter of Galvin to important? After paying a hefty $250,000 fine, he hopes to cash in big time following a highly anticipated challenge of unbeaten division champion Miguel Cotto.

On the eve of The Puerto Rican Day Parade, Saturday, June 9, in New York City , Cotto will be fighting at Madison Square Garden for the third consecutive year. Cotto will be making the second defense of the WBA welterweight title against Judah in what should be one of the most explosive fights in 2007.

“Who would have ever thought that one year later, Zab Judah would be coming back with a tune-up fight and then back for the WBA welterweight championship of the world and a chance to redeem himself against a tailor-made fighter,” Judah reportedly said.

Judah , when he is focused, is one of the fastest and ferocious boxers in the fight game today. He is an accomplished world champion at both 140 and 147 pounds. Just ask Terron Millett, Cory Spinks, DeMarcus Corley, Jan Bergman, and Junior Witter to name a few.

Judah has competed in at least twelve world title fights throughout his 10-year career. He’s 29 years old and is perhaps more determined than ever.

2006 was perhaps the worst year of Judah ’s career. He entered last year as the undisputed world welterweight champion, but squandered the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles with a 12-round unanimous decision loss to Carlos Baldomir. Judah would later lose an IBF welterweight title fight to Floyd Mayweather.

Judah will have to be at the top of his game when he meets Cotto, perhaps the fastest rising boxing icon in Puerto Rico since Felix Trinidad.

Cotto is younger than Judah at 26 years old. Unlike Judah , Cotto has never tasted defeat. 2007 marks Cotto’s fifth consecutive year competing in a series of world title fights. Cotto fought four times last year.

He distributed a brutal beating of then previously unbeaten Paul Malignnaggi on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in June of 2006. Cotto also won the WBA by stopping unbeaten Carlos Quintana in December of 2006.

In 2007, Cotto successfully defended the WBA title for the first time with an eleventh round TKO Oktay Urkal in March.

Cotto has two-fisted knockout power and can box very well. He has a tough chin as evident during his fifth round TKO-slugfest against Corley in February of 2005.

Cotto will be fighting a slick southpaw in Judah, who can throw punches in flurries from countless angles in a matter of seconds. Judah will have to perform at his very best to beat Cotto.

A victory against Cotto could lead to another huge welterweight showdown. WBO welterweight champion Antonio Margarito and his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank have reportedly reached an agreement with mandatory challenger, Paul Williams.

Williams, ranked No. 1 by the WBO, and will challenge Margarito sometime this year. The winner will perhaps be the most attractive opponent for whoever emerges victorious between Cotto-Judah.

Valuev Loses WBA Heavyweight Title

Nikolai Valuev, the biggest heavyweight champion in history at 7-feet-3 and 320 pounds, lost the WBA heavyweight championship by majority 12-round decision to No. 1-ranked Ruslan Chagaev (23-0-1, 17 KOs) on Saturday, April 14, at Porsche Arena in Stuttgart, Germany.

The defeat cost Valuev (46-1, 33 KOs ) in the history books, as he was only three victories away from tying the late Rocky Marciano’s heavyweight record of (49-0).

All three judges scored the bout 117-111 and 115-113 for Chagaev, 114-114 even. Valuev beat John Ruiz, the first and only two-time Latino heavyweight champion, in December of 2006 to claim the WBA title.

After successful KOs of Owen Beck, Monte Barrett, and Jameel McCline, Valuev’s fourth defense was against Chagaev, an unbeaten southpaw who was 11 inches shorter and 90 pounds lighter than the champion.

Valuev is considered one of the beat heavyweights in the world, but has never fought any of the upper echelon heavyweights in boxing. Though unbeaten, he has never fought a heavy puncher than can move, box, and apply constant pressure.

Although Chagaev too was unbeaten, he’s no Samuel Peter, Shannon Briggs, Oleg Maskaev, Wladikmir Klitschko, or even a faded James Toney or Evander Holyfield. But he had movement, counter-punching, and speed which proved to be enough to beat Valuev.

Let’s face it. In the heavyweight division, one punch can change the course of an entire fight. However, in all of boxing, a fighter has to be able to initiate aggression, beat his opponent to the punch, apply pressure, and must remain consistent. Chagaev did all of these things.

Chagaev proved to be a very formidable opponent. Unlike the other fighters that Valuev had beaten, Chagaev was not immobile. He moved well around the ring and avoided many of Valuev’s punches. In the early rounds, Valuev had difficulty setting set and came up short on his left jabs.

“I committed too many mistakes,” Valuev said. “I did not throw enough punches and also had trouble finding my feet.

Valuev lost his precious WBA championship because, he simply couldn’t make the necessary adjustments. He didn’t cut off the ring and didn’t hammer Chagaev with uppercuts and did not throw enough counters.

Valuev didn’t even go to Chagaev’s body, he simply followed his opponent and walked straight into flurries. Chagaev saw every punch the much slower and now former champion threw.

During the first four rounds of the bout, Valuev pawed with his left jab and could barely hit Chagaev cleanly. Chagaev countered with fast, straight punches.

In the sixth, Valuev continued to follow Chagaev around the ring. He had several opportunities to apply pressure when Chagaev was against the ropes, but Valuev simply let him off the hook.

Considering his strength and size, Valuev allowed Chagaev to counter with short-straight punches and move out of the corner.

At one point in round seven, Valuev pressed Chagaev into a corner with power shots. Chagaev landed one overhand left that surprisingly backed Valuev off.

Chagaev was allowed to reset and counter with a combination that landed on Valuev’s head. He also applied more pressure by firing left hands through Valuev’s guard.

Chagaev was aggressive. He beat Valuev to the punch using short-range counters and applied consistent pressure. Chagaev was also difficult to hit cleanly, as he kept his gloves close to his chin and his elbows close to his body. Size meant nothing because Valuev proved to be too slow for the very illusive 28 year old from Uzbekistan .

In the ninth, Chagaev took more risks by standing in front of Valuev in the middle of the ring. Chagaev landed a series of three punch combinations. His left hand on the side of Valuev’s head marked an exclamation mark.

Chagaev, in the 10th, 11th, and 12th rounds, was convinced that Valuev couldn’t hurt him. Chagaev, as a result, took more risks by standing in front of Valuev and unloaded with left and right hooks to his head.

In the final round, Valuev literally pressed his 300-plus pound body against Chagaev’s in attempt to smother the smaller fighter. It didn’t work, as Chagaev still threw and landed left and right hooks that caught Vaulev square on his cranium.

Chagaev’s performed well and the decision, obviously a career-best performance, was hard-fought and well earned.