Posts Tagged ‘Zab Judah’

Brooklyn duo Judah, Malignaggi didn’t think Saturday’s bout would ever happen

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Paulie Malignaggi will step into the ring against Zab Judah Saturday. (Getty Images)

Paulie Malignaggi, above, will step into the ring against one of his former coaches, Zab Judah, on Saturday. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK  – The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a Paulie Malignaggi-Zab Judah matchup is this: It hasn’t happened yet? For years, Malignaggi, 33, and Judah, 36, have fought in similar weight classes. Both are from Brooklyn. Both are appealing to television networks. Yet it’s only now, in the winter of their careers, that a matchup  is made.

“[A fight] really didn’t come to mind,” said Malignaggi, who will face Judah on Saturday night at the Barclays Center (Showtime, 8 pm ET). “We were in different weight classes and at different places in our career. But people started mentioning it and talking around Brooklyn the past year or two. But I still didn’t think the fight had any chance of happening because we were still in different weight classes and kind of had different goals for our careers.”

Circumstances have a funny way of changing that. Last April, Judah dropped a unanimous decision to junior welterweight titleholder Danny Garcia. Two months later, Malignaggi lost a split decision — and his welterweight title — to Adrien Broner.

With dwindling options, Malignaggi and Judah turned to each other.

Said Judah: “In my preparation for moving forward [after losing to Garcia], to do what I do [my promoters, Golden Boy Promotions] said Paulie. I said ‘Paulie, nah, Paulie is my homeboy.’ But then I was like, ‘Hey, you know this is an opportunity that you’ve got to take for boxing.’ So I guess we’re here now.”

Neither fighter is a stranger to tense promotions. Malignaggi and Broner engaged in a vulgar back and forth. Members of Judah’s and Garcia’s teams brawled at the introductory press conference and nearly came to blows again at an autograph signing session in Brooklyn a few days before the fight.

The buildup to this this bout, however, has been tame. Press conferences are cordial. The weigh-in on Friday ended with winks and smiles. Malignaggi and Judah have a long history — Judah coached Malignaggi as a teenager during the Empire State Games – and both profess respect for the other’s accomplishments.

“Number one, I admire Paulie because he’s from Brooklyn,” Judah said. “He stands up with that Brooklyn pride. He represents Brooklyn wherever he goes. He talks about it and keeps it fresh in people’s ears and eyes. Number two, he’s a fighter. I respect that every fighter has the heart and audacity to climb into the ring and take on competitive fights, so you’ve got to respect him as a human being.”

Added Malignaggi, “The admiration I have for Zab came from trying to follow in his footsteps coming up. I saw him accomplish things that I had the goal to accomplish. I watched Zab accomplish each and every one of them before me. It was an admiration and a motivation to see someone from my city, from my borough, accomplish these things and get some credibility and notoriety doing the same thing that I do. When somebody does it so close to home they automatically get that admiration when they’re older than you, and you see them accomplishing those things and you kind of want to follow in their footsteps.”

Ultimately, this fight is significant for both men. The winner will likely earn a high profile 140- or 147-pound title shot. The loser will be pushed one step closer to retirement.

“It’s not hard to get up for a fight like this,” Malignaggi said. “I know I have what it takes to be a world class fighter. I know what it takes to get back to the top. Winning a fight like this and getting myself a chance to get another world championship in my career is something I don’t doubt.” — CHRIS MANNIX

  • Published On Dec 06, 2013
  • Three thoughts: Matthysse showcases power in KO win against Peterson

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    Lucas Matthysse

    Lucas Matthysse knocked down LaMont Peterson in the second round and won in the third. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

    ATLANTIC CITY — Three thoughts from Lucas Matthysse’s knockout win over Lamont Peterson …

    1. Matthysse is scary good. Yes, Matthysse has two losses on his résumé, narrow defeats to Devon Alexander and Zab Judah. Yes, they were his two biggest fights. But in blowing away Peterson on Saturday, Matthysse firmly established himself as the most dangerous fighter in the junior welterweight division. Because this was never close. Peterson was clearly wary of Matthysse’s power early, fighting backing up, trying to keep Matthysse at bay with his jab. But Matthysse is relentless. He stalked Peterson in the second round, dropping him with a crushing right hand. In the third, Matthysse dropped Peterson again. Referee Steve Smoger allowed a wobbly Peterson to continue — “He’s a champion,” Smoger told me afterwards. “I wanted to give him one more shot.” — but Matthysse stormed in to close the show, dropping Peterson again, forcing Smoger to wave it off. Make no mistake, Lamont Peterson is a very good fighter and a legitimate titleholder. But Matthysse simply destroyed him.

    2. Can anyone stand up to that power? Watching Matthysse walk through Peterson made me wonder: How did Alexander and Judah stand up to this? After the fight, Bernard Hopkins walked over to press row and said that if he were fighting Matthysse, the crowd would be booing for the first six rounds. “Because I’d be running,” Hopkins said. “I’d be trying to tire him out.”

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  • Published On May 18, 2013
  • Danny Garcia survives flurry of punches from Zab Judah for title win

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    Danny Garcia (right) dominated Zab Judah early to defend his WBA/WBC junior welterweight belt. (Elsa/Getty Images)

    Danny Garcia (right) dominated Zab Judah early to defend his WBA/WBC junior welterweight belt. (Elsa/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK — Three thoughts on Danny Garcia’s unanimous decision win over Zab Judah:

    For Garcia, a learning experience

    No question, Garcia won the fight. He dominated most of the early rounds and picked up a knockdown in the eighth, countering a straight left hand from Judah with a stinging right that sent Judah tumbling to the canvas. But Judah showed tremendous heart, refusing to quit and rallying to win most of the final rounds. He hurt Garcia repeatedly in the tenth, seeming to catch his second wind while Garcia started to slow down. But Judah gave away too many rounds early, and the judges’ scoring (115-112, 114-112, 116-111) was spot on.

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  • Published On Apr 28, 2013
  • Quick Jabs: Russian promoter shells out big bucks for Wladimir Klitschko fight

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    Wladimir Klitschko is expected to face Alexander Povetkin in August. (Nadine Rupp/Bongarts/Getty Images)

    Wladimir Klitschko is expected to face Alexander Povetkin in August. (Nadine Rupp/Bongarts/Getty Images)

    • In a shocker, Russian promoter Vladimir Hryunov won a purse bid for the right to promote Wladimir Klitschko’s future heavyweight title defense against Alexander Povetkin with a whopping $23.3 million bid, far more than K2 Promotions ($7.1 million) or Sauerland Event ($6.01 million) put up. Assuming both Klitschko and Povetkin make it through their upcoming bouts, the fight will take place August 31 in either Moscow, Berlin or Las Vegas. Under the terms of the bid, Klitschko would receive $17.5 million with Povetkin entitled to $5.8 million. As big as Hryunov’s bid was, it falls well short of the $32.1 million Las Vegas businessman Steve Wynn put up to secure the rights to Buster Douglas’s title defense against Evander Holyfield in 1990.

    The obvious question: Can Hryunov come up with the cash? Occasionally, a promoter will come in and submit an outlandish bid for a fight, and then default. Don King has done it twice in the last year, first with a $1.1 million bid for the right to promote a heavyweight fight between Cris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne and later with a $1.5 million bid for Marco Huck and Ola Afolabi. King would default on both, losing the ten percent deposit he was required to put down. Sources involved with the bid told that Hryunov, who is being backed by a Russian-based businessman and real estate developer, will spend the next few weeks exploring ways to monetize the fight.

    • Some numbers from a busy boxing weekend: Last Saturday’s Showtime-televised fight between Saul Alvarez and Austin Trout peaked at 734,000 households and 1.061 million viewers, a modest increase from the 1.031 viewers Alvarez attracted for his September fight with Josesito Lopez. Meanwhile Saturday afternoon’s fight on NBC, headlined by heavyweights Tyson Fury and Steve Cunningham, did a strong overnight rating that translated to 1.2 million viewers. Expectations are that when the full numbers come in later in the week, peak viewership will exceed 1.8 million.

    • I love Juan Manuel Marquez-Tim Bradley. Like most, I was surprised that Marquez didn’t take a fifth fight with Pacquiao. Despite all the rhetoric, I figured Marquez would go for the biggest check. But in fighting Bradley, Marquez can still cash a big check and give himself a chance at history by becoming the first Mexican to win titles in five weight classes. And if he beats Bradley — and Pacquiao gets past either Mike Alvarado or Brandon Rios — a Pacquiao fight will still be there.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever been less interested in a notable fight than this Saturday’s heavyweight bout between Deontay Wilder and Audley Harrison. It’s another absolute joke of a fight for Wilder, a 2008 bronze medalist whose résumé as a pro is pathetic.

    • If Danny Garcia beats Zab Judah on Saturday, I think he becomes the favorite to face Floyd Mayweather in the fall. Mayweather clearly isn’t overly interested in facing Saul Alvarez; if he were, he would have agreed to face him already and fought together on the May 4th pay per view. I’ve been told that during negotiations with HBO and Showtime Mayweather’s representatives mentioned Garcia often as a possible opponent.

    • Ishe Smith-Carlos Molina: The very definition of not-made-for-TV.

    • Golden Boy’s ability to get Bernard Hopkins’ upcoming title defense against Karo Murat on premium television could get interesting. The fight stinks. Murat (25-0-1) is not a particularly big puncher and a complete unknown in the U.S. And everyone knows that at this stage of his career Hopkins (53-6-2) needs a certain type of opponent (Tavoris Cloud, Jean Pascal) to look impressive. I’m told Showtime is interested in showing the fight, but will require a strong co-main event to make it worth their while.

    • There is still nothing to make me think that a fight between Nathan Cleverly and Bernard Hopkins will be anything but dull.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Apr 25, 2013
  • Quick jabs: Austin Trout flattered after signature win over Miguel Cotto, David Price keeps winning and more

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    Austin Trout (above) staked his claim for supremacy in the 154-pound division with Saturday's win over Miguel Cotto. So Canelo Alvarez next, right? Probably not. (AP)

    Austin Trout (above) staked his claim for supremacy in the 154-pound division with Saturday’s win over Miguel Cotto. So Canelo Alvarez next, right? Probably not. (AP)

    Some quick jabs …

    • Count Austin Trout among those not surprised that Golden Boy may try to move forward with plans to match Saul Alvarez with Miguel Cotto next year. In the aftermath of Trout’s lopsided decision win over Cotto, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer would not rule out an Alvarez-Cotto fight.

    “It’s flattering,” Trout told me on Sunday. “They obviously want no part of Austin Trout. But at some point, they are all going to have to face me.”

    Trout told me that he knew he had Cotto after the third round, when he noticed that Cotto was moving a lot after getting hit.

    “That’s not Cotto,” Trout said. “He boxed with Manny Pacquiao when he was in trouble. Against me, he was starting to move, bouncing around on his toes. When I was watching film the only time I saw him do that was when Pacquiao had him hurt.”

    • British heavyweight David Price — who knocked out countryman Matt Skelton in the second round last weekend — says he wants his next fight to be in the U.S. And he already has an opponent in mind: Tony Thompson, the former title challenger who was knocked out by Wladimir Klitschko last July. According to Thompson’s trainer/manager, Barry Hunter, no one from Price’s team has contacted him about the fight. However, Thompson came back to Hunter’s Washington D.C. gym two weeks ago and mentioned an interest in fighting Price.

    Hunter told me he still wasn’t sure he was interested in continuing to work with Thompson. He said he was very disappointed with Thompson’s effort against Klitschko and needs to see him work for a few weeks in the gym to see if he still has it.

    • Hunter says one of his other fighters, Lamont Peterson, is in the gym and is only a couple of pounds off the 140-pound limit. Peterson has a mandatory IBF title defense against Kendall Holt, but that fight has yet to be scheduled. Hunter says he is hoping he and Holt’s promoter, Gary Shaw, can schedule Peterson-Holt for late January, preferably in the D.C. area.

    • Buckle up for Gabriel Rosado-Gennady Golovkin on Jan. 19 in NYC. It’s going to be a war.

    • Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said welterweight Victor Ortiz — last seen getting his jaw broken by Josesito Lopez last June — is recovering well and will be ready to return to the ring early next year. “He’s doing much better,” Schaefer said. “He had some infections to deal with but the swelling has gone down and he is going to be ready to go in March or early April.”

    Schaefer said Ortiz “did not want any tune-up fights” and in addition to a rematch with Lopez said a fight with WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi at the Barclays Center was a possibility.

    • The more people I talk to, the more I think Floyd Mayweather’s next fight will be against Robert Guerrero. I don’t get the feeling Mayweather wants to fight at 154 — Alvarez’s weight class — and Guerrero is a marketable fighter coming off an impressive win on HBO. It just seems like the right fit.

    • Boxing press conferences are a joke. On Saturday, I attended a presser to announce the Feb. 9 fight at the Barclays Center between junior welterweight titleholder Danny Garcia and Zab Judah. During the press conference Garcia’s father/trainer, Angel — a known agitator — took some shots at Judah. Judah took offense and before long a melee broke out, with members of Judah’s entourage (who should not have been there in the first place) storming the dais. The brawl effectively ended the press conference and prevented several reporters from speaking to the fighters.

    And this fight needed as much local press as it could get: Though plenty of lip service was paid to Judah’s Brooklyn roots, he has never been a draw at the box office. By popping off like that, Judah and Garcia essentially cost themselves money.

    • Had a chance to catch up with U.S. Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields this weekend for a story that will run later this month in Sports Illustrated. Shields told me she has not made a decision yet on making another Olympic run, and had an interesting reason why.

    “I’m not really recognized,” Shields said. “I got a lot of credit for being the first woman Olympic gold medalist. I feel like if one of the men won gold they would have these endorsements or a huge signing bonus. It’s just different for the women. We weren’t showcased like we should have been. A lot of people who were watching couldn’t find me on TV. I think I should get more credit. I have already done the hard work, I shouldn’t keep doing it without reaping the rewards. So I have not decided on what I am going to do. I’m going to do what is going to help keep food on the table.”

    • Shameless plug time: Pick up SI this week for my column on why fighters’ unwillingness to seek out the biggest challenge has created a watered-down era in boxing.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Dec 04, 2012
  • Quick jabs: Ricky Hatton comes back, Amir Khan finds new trainer, more

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    Former two-division world champion Ricky Hatton (above), who announced a comeback last week, might be an attractive opponent for compatriot Amir Khan. (AP)

    Some quick jabs …

    • How much money did Miguel Cotto leave on the table when he passed on a rematch with Manny Pacquiao? According to Bob Arum, a lot. Arum said Cotto’s guarantee for a Dec. 1 date with Pacquiao would have been around $13 million, with the possibility of going as high as $15 million if the pay-per-view numbers were strong. Instead, Cotto will settle for significantly less in a fight with unknown junior middleweight Austin Trout while Arum signed Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth fight with Pacquiao by guaranteeing just $6 million.

    • HBO was thrilled with the rating it got for the heavily promoted Sept. 8 showdown between Andre Ward and Chad Dawson. According to the Neilsen numbers, Ward-Dawson attracted 1.3 million viewers, the sixth straight World Championship Boxing telecast exceeding 1 million viewers for HBO.

    • Here’s my one and only thought on the proposed partnership between Manny Pacquiao and 50 Cent: I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • I’m fully expecting a rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez to take place early next year. Chavez Jr. wants it and Martinez isn’t going to sniff that much money against anyone else. Hopefully Chavez will take his training a little more seriously next time. He has the talent to beat Martinez but he has to be in peak condition both mentally and physically if he expects to have a shot against a fighter as fast and skilled as Martinez.

    • At 33, comebacking Ricky Hatton probably has one more big fight left in him. And perhaps the biggest one of his career could be out there: Amir Khan. They haven’t invented a word for how big Hatton-Khan could be in England and after a tune-up or two both could be ready for it.

    • Little tired of strength coach Alex Ariza taking to Twitter and passive aggressively implying that a fighter would have done better had he been more involved. In the aftermath of Chavez’s loss to Martinez, Ariza, who had reduced role in Chavez’s camp this time around, in a Q&A with his followers, suggested that Chavez would have performed better had he followed his diet and that Chavez was “not in my kind of shape.” It’s not the first time Ariza has done this and it’s getting a little old.

    • Arum says he plans on bringing welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley back in December. Possible opponents include Ruslan Provodnikov, Zab Judah, Lamont Peterson and Robert Guerrero. Guerrero is under contract with archrival Golden Boy but Arum told a handful of reporters last week that Bradley-Guerrero was a fight he would really like to make.

    • Hasim Rahman, who held the WBC heavyweight title for a year between 2005 and ’06, is getting another crack at a world title. Rahman, 39, will travel to Germany to take on Alexander Povetkin on Sept. 29 in a fight that will be televised in the U.S. on Epix.

    • Predictably, the Adrien Broner-Antonio DeMarco negotiations are progressing slowly. Broner, who is represented by influential and divisive manager Al Haymon, wants the lion’s share of the money and DeMarco isn’t willing to give it to him. Like I’ve said before: Fight each other or don’t fight anyone else in your weight class on premium TV.

    • How much did it cost 50 Cent to pry Yuri Gamboa away from Top Rank? That would be $1.2 million. From what I hear from Top Rank officials, that’s just about how much the company invested in Gamboa.

    • The always entertaining Gabriel Rosado (20-5) is back in action on Friday night, when he headlines the next installment of NBC Sports Network’s Fight Night series against Charles Whittaker (38-12-2). This is a big fight for Rosado: If he wins, he becomes the No. 1 contender for the IBF junior middleweight title held by Cornelius Bundrage.

    • While we all wait (and wait, and wait) for Pacquiao-Mayweather, it’s clear Arum is setting up the winner of next month’s junior welterweight fight between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado as the next opponent for Pacquiao. Rios-Alvarado is expected to be a war, which should give the winner a nice bounce going into a Pacquiao fight.

    • Showtime has to be pleased with the numbers for Saul Alvarez-Josesito Lopez on Saturday. According to Neilsen ratings, Alvarez-Lopez attracted 1.04 million viewers. Still, that’s a 42 percent drop from Alvarez’s HBO-televised fight against Kermit Cintron in November 2011, which drew 1.47 million viewers.

    • Amir Khan is reportedly set to name Virgil Hunter, best known for training super middleweight champion Andre Ward, as his new coach. That’s a good call. Hunter has a brilliant boxing mind who believes hit-and-don’t-get-hit is the only philosophy a fighter should live by. For a shaky-chinned fighter like Khan, that’s the best kind of trainer.

    • Speaking of Ward, cross Mikkel Kessler off the list of potential next opponents. Ward had expressed interest in a rematch with Kessler — whom he picked apart over 11 lopsided rounds in 2009 — but Kessler elected to face 37-year old Brian Magee, who owns a minor super middleweight title. It’s just as well: Ward-Kessler would have created no buzz in the United States.

    • Last week, Arum spent a lot of time talking to reporters about junior middleweight prospect John Jackson, even going as far as to say Jackson would get a televised slot on the Pacquiao pay-per-view telecast. But on Saturday, Jackson (13-1) ran into another pretty good prospect, the Jack Loew-trained Willie Nelson (19-1-1), who beat him in a close decision. Jackson still has potential and a lot of power (12 knockouts) but needs to polish his game so he can out box fighters he can’t knock out.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Sep 18, 2012
  • Judah, Adamek back on radar, joined by unbeaten Jennings

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    Zab Judah

    Zab Judah improved to 42-7 with his 29th career knockout. (Ed Mulholland/US Presswire)

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Three thoughts from three strong fights Saturday night …

    Zab Judah is back. In the aftermath of Judah’s uncompetitive fifth-round knockout loss to Amir Khan last summer, many believed his days as a big-fight headliner were over. But the resilient Judah bounced back, stopping undefeated prospect Vernon Paris with a blurring flurry in the ninth round. It was a dominant win by Judah, who was first with the jab, first with combinations and confused Paris with angles all night. Before the fight Paris claimed he was going to put pressure on Judah, but it was Judah who was coming forward throughout the fight.

    With the win, Judah becomes the mandatory challenger for the winner of the May fight between Khan and Lamont Peterson. A rematch with Khan is unlikely — even if Khan wins, he’s eyeing a move up to 147-pounds — but there are plenty of options for Judah (42-7) to choose from. The junior welterweight division is flush with talent, including Peterson, Marcos Maidana and Danny Garcia as well as Juan Manuel Marquez and Brandon Rios. Judah’s performance and his popularity — the overnight numbers on NBC Sports Network were up 12 percent from the first show in January despite competing with an HBO show on the same night — will make him a marketable opponent.

    Paris (26-1) is at something of a crossroads. At 24, Paris is young enough to bounce back. But he doesn’t seem to take his training seriously. He admitted he didn’t train a day for his 2010 fight with Ramon Guevara and was four pounds overweight on the day before the weigh-in. Paris is talented, but he needs to sharpen his focus if he hopes to advance his career.

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  • Published On Mar 25, 2012