Super Once Again

By Francis Walker
Updated: March 10, 2011

New York, NY—Zab Judah can finally call himself a world champion again.

Fighting in his first world title fight since a failed bid to defeat Joshua Clottey three years ago for the IBF welterweight title, Brownsville, Brooklyn’s Zab Judah (41-6, 28 KOs) made the most of his opportunity by knocking out South Africa’s Kaizer Mabuza (23-7-3, 14 KOs) in the seventh round to claim the vacant IBF junior welterweight title at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on Saturday.

“For six to seven weeks I went to college and I got a Ph.D.,” said Judah afterwards. “I graduated with honors tonight. Thank you.”

Judah, a former undisputed world welterweight champion, positioned himself very well amongst the top of the 140-pound division with a devastating performance. Mabuza gave Judah all he could handle especially in the sixth round when he stunned two-division titlist with a barrage of punches. Judah, who may have been on the verge of getting stopped, was trapped against the ropes in the decisive round seven. That was until of course a sharp, straight-left badly sent Mabuza’s head between the ropes. After Mabuza was issued a standing eight-count, Judah, to the igniting raw of the crowd that included former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, launched a violent barrage of punches that nearly decapitated Mabuza’s head from his body.

The official time of the stoppage was at the 59 second mark.

“I’d like to say I’m grateful to have been given a chance,” Mabuza said. “I was winning the fight, but he caught me. I had a chance to knock him out, but I didn’t finish. He has a lot of experience.”

Judah’s experience includes 17 world title fights during a career that began in September 1996. Judah won his first world title, the IBF 140-pound title, when he stopped Jan Piet Bergman in February 2000 in what was a wild slugfest. That was followed by performances Teron Millett, Reggie Green, and DeMarcus Corley.

Perhaps Judah’s biggest win was when he went to St. Louis to violently lift the WBC/WBA and IBF welterweight championships from Cory Spinks in a rematch in 2005.

Judah was always a very talented fighter, but simply put it together in the biggest fights. Opportunities against Clottey, Kostya Tszyu, Miguel Cotto, and Floyd Mayweather were squandered. His losing the world welterweight championship to Carlos Baldomir at Madison Square Garden was unforgivable.

Since he announce d his decision to move down to the junior welterweight class, Judah has gone 3-0, 2 KOs at the Prudential Center. He demolished Jose Armando Santa Cruz, but had to survive a late knockdown and plenty of anxious moments in a split-decision win against Lucas Matthysse late last year.

Judah credits his resurgence in part due to the addition of Hall of Fame fighter Pernell Whitaker.

“I learned what Pernell Whitaker brought to the table,” Judah added. “He said ‘Zab, you’re a complete fighter. You dad taught you everything about boxing. I just want to tweak a few things.’”

Judah-Mabuza undercard: Tarvis Simms (27-1-1, 11 KOs) won a unanimous decision against John Mackey (13-6-2, 6 KOs) during a middleweight bout.

“I don’t think I looked like a 39-40 year-old fighter,” Simms stated. “I worked my butt off. If I had to grade myself, I would give myself a C-plus. I could have worked a little harder to get the guy out of there. I came in at 158 lbs. my lowest weight in three years.”

Former New York Golden Gloves champion and lightweight prospect, Shemuel Pagan (2-0, 1 KO) knocked out Marcos Garcia (0-4) in the first round.

Welterweight Jose Peralta (5-1, 3 KOs) stopped Clifford McPherson (2-4-1, 1 KO) in the first round.

Another welterweight, Vinny O’ Brien (1-0, 1 KO) stopped David Navarro (0-2).

Chris Crosby (6-1, 1 KO) won a split-decision over Greg Hackett (2-6) after their four-round welterweight bout.

Klitschko-Haye signed

Unified IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs) pulled out of his clash with Dereck Chisora once again last week. Klitschko, siting an abdominal strain which caused a postponement of the first fight in December, has reached a preliminary agreement to fight longtime nemesis WBA champion David Haye.

After years of internet barbs, graphic insults, on-off again negotiations that have turned sour, finally Klitschko and Haye (it appears) made an agreement. The two will split everything 50/50 and will fight in a venue in Germany.

Klitschko, the longtime unified heavyweight champion, and Haye, a former unified WBA/WBC and IBF cruiserweight champion, are arguably the two top heavyweights in the world outside of WBC champion Vitali Klitschko. Wladimir has been at the top of the division for years along with older brother Vitali. The 1996 Olympic gold medalist and two-time heavyweight champion, has dismantled every top contender of his time. A veteran of 18 title fights, Klitschko will be a lock for the Hall of Fame should be beat-up a younger, faster, and dangerous-punching champion in Haye.

Since moving up to the heavyweight division, Haye has not only won a heavyweight title, but he unseated 7′ 3,” 320-pound Russian giant Nikolai Valuev to claim the title. In only two defenses, Haye sent former three-time WBA titlist John Ruiz in to retirement and destroyed 2000 Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison inside three rounds.

As a cruiserweight, Haye also destroyed John Marc-Mormeck and Enzo Maccarinelli to unify the cruiserweight title belts before campaigning as a heavyweight.

Haye is fast and explosive; But Wladimir Klitschko is the class of heavyweights. The 6′ 7,” 245-pounder maybe too big and hard a puncher. However, Haye has proven that he may be one of the very best punchers in the sport. He trains hard, always is in shape, and is determined to beat the Klitschkos – namely Wladimir.

It will be an explosive fight.