Khan vs. Judah: For All The Marbles

By Francis Walker
Updated: June 21, 2011

NEW YORK, NY--There will be plenty at stake when Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KOs) and Zab Judah (41-6, 28 KOs) fight to unify the WBA/IBF junior welterweight championship. For one fighter, the chance to fight Manny Pacquiao may not be too farfetched. For the other, they probably could be looking a lot closer toward the backburner.

Logically, the chance to fight either Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather rests with Khan, the younger, taller, and rangier WBA titlist from Great Britain. He is Golden Boy Promotions budding star and Khan seeks to unify the world junior welterweight championship before ultimately moving up in weight to 147 for more big fights.

Khan vs. Judah will commence from the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 23. HBO will televise beginning at 10 PM.

En route toward accomplishing his goals, Khan has developed a growing following here in the United States in 2010 by beating Paulie Malignaggi (TKO 11) at Madison Square Garden, New York and Marcos Rene Maidana (W 12) in Las Vegas.

In April, Khan returned home to pummel Paul McCloskey (W Tech. 6) before returning to Las Vegas for Judah.

“This is going to be a big fight in the U.S.,” but it’s also big for my fans in the U.K. and I’m happy for them to come over,” Khan said.

Judah, the IBF champion, has had his chances. He fought Mayweather, recently inducted Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, and lost miserably. But Judah, along with his dad/father Yoel, and Pernell Whitaker, continues to fight hard and earn chances to compete in big spots.

To Judah’s credit, he is a former undisputed WBC/WBA and IBF welterweight champion. He won is first world title at 140 pounds in June 2000 and has competed in 17 world title fights. Judah has a lot of experience in big fights.

The 33 year-old Brownsville, NY “Brooklynite” became world champion once again this year and appears to be reenergized with a new focus and determination. But the clock is ticking.

“I’m ready and focused,” Judah said. “It was a long road back to the top, but this is what a champion is made of. When they’re knocked down, they rise back up to the top.”

Khan believes that Judah’s time is near its end.

“Zab’s a tricky southpaw who’s won many world titles but I don’t think this is his time,” Khan said. “He doesn’t have the hunger that I do. I don’t think he can take the belt I have off of me.”

Judah plans to ‘assassinate’ Khan the way he has beaten most recent opponents.

Added Judah: “I’ve beat a guy from Mexico, from Argentina, from Africa and now I will beat a guy from the United Kingdom – just call me the international assassin.”

Tickets for this event are priced at $400, $300, $200, $100, and $50 through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (800) 745-3000 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, www.mandalaybay.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

Alexander vs. Matthysse on HBO “B.A.D.”

Former unified WBC/IBF junior welterweight champion Devon Alexander (21-1, 13 KOs) returns on Saturday to fight previously unbeaten Lucas Matthysse (28-1, 26 KOs) a scheduled 12-round junior welterweight bout at the Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri. HBO will televise Alexander-Matthysse along with Tavoris Cloud’s third defense of the IBF light-heavyweight title against Yusaf Mack ON “Boxing After Dark” beginning at 9:45 PM/ET.

Alexander is one of the main attractions in the 140-pound class. However, he is coming off his first professional defeat, a technical decision at the hands of unified WBC/WBO champion Timothy Bradley. Alexander complained about Bradley coming straight-in with his head and was cut beside both eyes. Many that saw the fight believed that Bradley simply wanted to win the fight more, took more risks, and deserved to win based on his willingness to initiate and engage.

Alexander’s skills and mettle will be put to an even bigger test when he fights Matthysse, an aggressive puncher with knockout power in both hands. Unless Alexander lands a big uppercut that dented an iron-chinned Juan Urango in March 2010, he’s going to have to fight a near perfect, flawless fight against Matthysse.

Andrey Kotelnik, a former Olympic silver medalist and WBA 140-pound champion, gave Alexander fits when they fought last summer. Alexander, fighting at home in St. Louis, struggled and was getting hit more frequently that accustomed. Alexander had a tough 12-round fight with Kotelnik. He struggled with Bradley and now he’s facing a puncher in Matthysse, whose only loss was a razor-thin split decision against Zab Judah in November. Matthysse nearly KO’d Judah in round 10, but couldn’t finish. All three judges scored the bout 114-113, which could have gone either way.

Alexander will have problems on Saturday.

Sergio resigns with DiBella

It was recently announced that former unified WBC/WBO middleweight champion Sergio Martinez has extended his relationship with promoter Lou DiBella through a six-fight, multi-year pact. At age 36, Martinez, who has worked with DiBella since 2007, will more than likely hang-up his gloves as a DiBella Entertainment fighter.

“I’ve never had any doubt that DiBella Entertainment is the best promoter in boxing,” Martinez said in a recent statement. “I have no doubt that we will continue to do great things together. This is exactly what I wanted.”

Through DiBella, Martinez has become one of the most recognized fighters in the world and is on everyone’s “pound-for-pound, top-five” list.

“Sergio Martinez has proved in his recent run of fights that is no challenge he fears and that there is no challenge he cannot conquer,” DiBella stated. “Together, we will look to make the biggest fights against the biggest names in boxing and we won’t stop until ‘Maravilla’ is universally recognized as, pound for pound, the best in boxing.”

Martinez has also become a fixture on HBO and is an overwhelming fan favorite because of his amazing athleticism, exciting boxing style, and ability to perform well in big fights. Martinez’ two thrilling slugfests with Paul Williams, which included a 2010 “Knockout of the Year” finish, were televised on HBO. Martinez’ conquest of Kelly Pavlik to claim the world middleweight championship in April 2010 was also aired live on HBO. Martinez became the 2010 “Fighter of the Year” behind the backing of DiBella and HBO.

In March, Martinez dazzled everyone with superior skill and conditioning during his technical knockout win against WBC junior middleweight titlist Sergiy Dzinziruk on HBO.

DiBella has worked with Martinez for nine fights (7-1-1), including the last six that were distributed on HBO. The network giant plans to televise Martinez’ return in October.

“This is about finishing what we started,” said Martinez’ longtime advisor Sampson Lewkowicz. “I believe that in Sergio Martinez we have a grand champion who is the best fighter in the world.”

Punchin at the Paradise returns in July

Bronx boxing promoter Joe DeGuardia presents another “Punchin at the Paradise” show on Saturday, July 7, at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx, NY. Yonkers, NY middleweight prospect Bryant Pappas (12-0, 12KOs, a 12-year veteran of the Yonkers Police department, is an incredible story. Pappas gives his entire purse (100%) to NYC’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Pappas-Medina is scheduled for six rounds.

Also, NY Golden Gloves titlist and upcoming super featherweight prospect Danny Valle (4-0, 3 KOs) will be in action. Valle’s respective grandfather and father Victor Valle, SR. and Jr. are both notable boxing trainers.

Valle, the 25 year-old has been fighting professionally since October 2009. It appears Valle is going to have to step-up his activity level if he wants to make noise in the sport. Valle is putting a lot on the line when he fights another Golden Gloves champion, Angel Torres. Valle and Torres go back to their competitive amateur days. Fireworks should erupt at the Paradise.

There will also be four amateur bouts on the card to be announced soon.

Tickets for “Punchin at the Paradise” are $30, $50, and $100 and can be purchased at the theater box office, www.starboxing.com, or by calling 718-823-2000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 718-823-2000 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. The Paradise Theater is located at 2403 Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

Boxing loses Genaro “Chicanto” Hernandez

The boxing world recently lost one of its own. Former two-time super featherweight world champion, Genaro “Chicanto Hernandez (38-2-1, 17 KOs) died following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 45. My best memory of Hernandez wasn’t when he quit on his stool as a result of a broken nose by Oscar De La Hoya in September 1995. It wasn’t when he retired after eight one-sided rounds that gave Floyd Mayweather his first world title, the WBC lightweight championship in October 1998.

My biggest memory was when Hernandez fought Azumah Nelson in March 1997 for the WBC super featherweight championship. Hernandez was accidentally punched in his throat at the end of the seventh round. He could have won the fight on a DQ, but chose to finish the fight. Instead of a victory being handed to him, Hernandez fought hard to the finish and won a decision.

A friend to many individuals, Hernandez was a genuinely proud man and a nice person. Those that knew him are going to miss him deeply.

Contributions to the Gernaro ‘Chicanto’ Hernandez fund can be made to:

Lilian Hernandez

2321 Wall St.

Los Angeles, Calif., 90011