Boxing Notebook: Zab has his day

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 18, 2010

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NEW YORK (BASN) — Former two-division world champion Zab Judah (39-6, 27 KOs) launched a successful return to the junior welterweight division following an emphatic third-round TKO of Jose Armando Santa Cruz (28-5, 17 KOs) at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

The bout was the featured main event of an ESPN Friday Night Fights telecast.

“I’m back!” exclaimed Judah at the post fight press conference. “I felt great. We picked the right opponent. [Santa Cruz] is a tough durable guy. He fought Joel Casamayor. He fought a lot of guys.”

The biggest question entering the bout with Santa Cruz was how much of the old Zab Judah was left? Especially after having success at 147 pounds which included a stint as the unified WBC/WBA and IBF welterweight champion.

Would the former IBF and WBO junior welterweight champion be capable of showing flashes of the blazing hand-speed and raw left-handed (southpaw) power of yesteryear?

Zab easily answered that question with an emphatic yes.

Judah, a 32-year-old from Brooklyn, NY, now living in Las Vegas, boxed a very disciplined fight behind his right-jab. Judah jabbed and landed his left-hand toward Cruz’ mid-section at will.

In the second round, Judah noticeably threw a pair of four-punch combinations that was punctuated by his signature straight-left hand down the middle. “I saw as the fight went on the jab was the key,” Judah said.

“My dad kept telling me to go to the right, go to the right, and kept away from him. [Santa-Cruz] got desperate because, he couldn’t catch me.”

Judah was very patient in his attack. In round three a straight-left to the head dropped Santa Cruz on the canvas. Judah, always a good finisher, ended the bout off a flurry of combinations that dazed a battered Santa Cruz.

“I saw that I would hit him with the left,” Judah added. “I sent him, bang-zoom, to the moon.”

The victory positions Judah as one of the lead names in talented-rich, but younger junior welterweight class. Fighters like unified WBC/IBF 140-pound champion Devon Alexander, WBO champion Timothy Bradley, WBA champion Amir Khan, interim WBA champion Marco Rene Maidana, Robert Guerrero, prospect Victor Ortiz, and veteran former champions Nate Campbell and Joel Casamayor round out a very good division.

“There is no order [to fight] those guys,” Judah concluded.

“They’re all in the same category. X-mas is over. Polish my belts because I want them back.”

08′ Olympian Ali making serious moves

2008 U.S. Olympian Saddam Ali recently made a serious business decision to open up a boxing gym in his hometown.

The World Kid Boxing and Fitness Center is up and running. The gym is a two-level Located at 6825 Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn. The gym is located downstairs where there are two full-size, state of the art boxing rings, treadmill machines, speed bags, and heavy bags of different shapes and sizes.

Upstairs is where people will have the opportunity to purchase merchandise that includes World Kid or Everlast equipment and apparel.”Together with my dad,” we put this together,” said Ali, the first Arab-American to qualify for the U.S. Olympic boxing team during the Beijing Games.

“There are a lot of kids in the area and this place keeps them off the streets.”

The walls of the gym are decorated with glass displays of the numerous awards and trophies Ali has won throughout his amateur career. Ali’s 2005 PAL National Title, 2006-07 Golden Gloves National Titles, a personalized NYS Championship and Regional Finalist Cup from ’02, a NYABC Amateur Boxing Championship, the boxing gloves he wore when he competed in the ’08 Beijing Olympics, and several of his professional boxing gloves from earlier in his career was on display.

“People can walk in here, look around, and see this,” Ali explained. “They know it took time and sacrifice. They can stay focused and be inspired to keep coming to the gym.”

For more information about World Kid Boxing and Fitness, please call (718) 690-7883.

In addition to opening-up his own boxing gym, Ali remains an active fighter and doen’t plan on hanging-up the gloves anytime soon. Ali (8-0, 4 KOs) tattooed an overmatched Julius Edmonds (7-8) on the televised portion of the Judah-Santa Cruz undercard. Ali was too sharp, too fast, and too big for an undersized Edmonds. The bout was called to a halt at 1:16 seconds of the third round.

Danny Jacobs to fight for world title

Another Brooklyn fighter is making serious commitment.

Fighting on the HBO Pay-Per-View undercard of the “2009 Fight of the Year” rematch between Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Juan Diaz on Saturday, July 31, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, undefeated middleweight prospect Danny Jacobs (20-0, 17 KOs) plans to justify his lofty unbeaten mark when he meets Dimitry Pirog (16-0, 13 KOs) for the vacant WBO 160-pound title.

The championship became vacant after WBC 160-pound champion Sergio Martinez was stripped of the title weeks after his dramatic decision win over former champion Kelly Pavlik in April.

The 23-year-old from Brooklyn is ranked No. 1 by the World Boxing Organization and Pirog, 30, Russia, is No. 2. Jacobs doesn’t know very much of Pirog other than what he saw of him on tapes.

He’s not the average European fighter,” Jacobs said during a recent conference call. “He takes little bits and pieces of American fighters and he added to his arsenal, which is amazing.

His hand speed is average, but his footwork is pretty good.”

“His head movement is average, but he’s a great fighter and he throws tons of punches.”

Unfazed by Pirog’s record, Jacobs hasn’t “seen any evidence of any punching power. I think his knockouts mostly are of accumulation of punches.

I don’t see any big, one-punch-knockout punches.”

“I believe all his punches really come from just arm punches. Not to discredit him from anything because he’s a good fighter, but at the same time this is what I get from watching his tapes.”

NOTE: For ticket information on Marquez-Diaz II “Fight of the Year: The Rematch,” log-on to www.mandalaybay.com or www.ticketmaster.com Prices range from $50 to $350.