After his sloppy victory in January over a lackluster Devon Alexander, Timothy Bradley started calling out names. Names like Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, etc, etc. To Bradley’s surprise, Amir Khan (26-1 18 KO`s) was actually listening and stepped up to the plate in an era where the best don’t always fight the best in their respective divisions (hint hint Pacquiao, hint hint Mayweather). Somewhere along the line in negotiations Bradley turned down what would have been his biggest payday and most meaningful fight to date. Why? Well there were several reasons, but none that make any sense from a fans point of view. Fans just want the best to fight the best. This left Khan with a dance on the calendar but no date to bring to the dance? Enter Brooklyn native Zab “Super” Judah. Ever since his technical decision loss to Joshua Clottey in August of `08, Zab has been on the comeback trail trying to resurrect his career. He fought a few “who the hell is this guy” and two decent names in Lucas Matthysse and Kaizer Mabuza (Judah earned a gift decision in the Matthysse fight). With a 5 fight winning streak some thought, why not give Judah a shot at Khan, besides, it would unify Khan`s WBA and Judah`s IBF titles as well. Both fighters were making the first defense of each title.
There was plenty of trash talk on Judah`s part leading up to the fight. Judah (41-7 28 KO`s) made racial comments about Khan on his twitter account that unnerved some people. Khan avoided the nonsense for the most part and worried about what needed to be done in the ring at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. On several social networks the questions being asked were about Khan`s chin and if he had enough power to face off with Judah. Although Khan was the odds on favorite at 4-1 going into the fight, word on the street was a lot of people were giving Zab a good shot of not just winning but stopping Khan in the bout. This would not be the case on Saturday night.
From the opening bell Amir Khan moved well and snapped his jab on Zab throughout the first frame. It was clear that when Khan jabbed to set up the straight right hand, it would be a problem for Zab all night. An accidental headbutt seemed to bother Judah in the last minute of the round and the early part of round 2. Amir Khan was aggressive in round 2 but a little sloppy with an occasional looping lead left hook. It left Khan exposed but Judah failed to take advantage of the opening. When he landed it, it reminded me of the lead right hook that Pacquiao threw at Hatton, which lead to a knockdown of Hatton for Pacquiao in their 2 round brawl back in `09. Khan bloodied Super Judah`s nose, backed him up and flurried late in the round with Zab`s back to the ropes. Judah wasn`t looking too confident as the bell rang for round 3. Khan used his speed and reach to constantly beat Zab to the punch. Round 3 was much like the first 2. Khan forced Zab to the ropes a few times and put his punches together when he had Judah there. He ended the round with a flurry in the center of the ring.
The fight was over in my eyes at this point. Judah looked unattentive in the corner between rounds 3-4, as Trainer Pernell Whitaker barked instructions. Judah came out for the fourth very inactive and seemed to backpedal most of the round while Khan landed shot after shot in the holes of Judah`s defense. About halfway through round 5, Amir Khan landed a good left hook that wobbled Judah. With his face bloodied and swollen, Judah was again on his horse. Khan started to batter him around the ring with about a minute to go. This was looking more and more like the landslide I thought it would be. After an exchange with 30 seconds left, Judah was down on the canvas doubled over. Referee Vic Drakulich sent Khan to a neutral corner and picked up the count from the outside referee. Drakulich reached the count of 10, giving Amir “King” Khan a fifth round knockout victory and a new strap around his waistline.
What was disturbing to me was how quickly Zab Judah popped up as Drakulich counted him out after looking so hurt down on all fours. In his post fight interview with HBO`s Max Kellerman, Judah said he heard the ref counting but thought he was getting an 8 count to give him time to recover from a low blow? I need to know when in Zab Judah`s life did he ever see or experience a referee issuing an 8 count in order to give someone time to recover from a low blow? It`s another case of a boxer who couldn`t compete with who he was in the ring with so he found another bad excuse for the loss. Khan`s punch landed right on Judah`s beltline and Zab found a way out. Whether it was a blister, or a broken toe or whatever Judah was thinking, it`s a bad mark on the face of a sport that has taken a battering lately. Bad decisions from Judges, poor efforts from fighters and excuses are killing boxing. In Khan`s post fight interview Timothy Bradley`s name came up. Khan wants the fight between Bradley and himself to happen but thinks that Bradley may be scared. I`m not sold on Bradley`s reasons for not taking the fight, but I don’t think he`s scared. In fact, Bradley may be favored if it were to happen. He`s tough, he uses his head (literally) and he`s undefeated. It definitely wont be a fight Khan can just cruise through.