Can Khan quell Judah?
Amir Khan v Zab Judah - Preview
By James Bromwell
Amir Khan (25-1-1, 17 KO's) takes on Zab Judah (41-6, 28 KO's) in the unification of the WBA Super and IBF Light Welterweight titles on Saturday 23rd of July in Las Vegas in what is certain to be another stern test of Khan's credentials.
Judah, in the 15th year of his career, may be seen by some as past his best, however Khan and his efficacious trainer Freddie Roach wouldn't concur with that assumption. Judah is a dangerous operator, even more so now he's co-trained by early 90's p4p king Pernell Whitaker.
It should be noted that five of his six losses have been to top draw fighters in Kostya Tszyu, Cory Spinks (whom he beat in a rematch some months later for the Welterweight title) Floyd Mayweather Jnr, Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey. His other defeat was a surprise loss to pressure fighter Carlos Baldomir which owed more to underestimating the Argentinean in what was seen a warm-up fight for the Mayweather contest.
Nevertheless, the powerful Brooklyn southpaw is an excellent technician with fast hand speed and a great defence. Moreover, he is a hard-puncher who is more than capable of asking pertinent questions of Khan's chin.
Judah is also something of a temperamental character. He threw a stool across the ring before accosting the referee in the immediate aftermath of his controversial TKO loss to Tszyu and his second transgression triggered a full-scale melee when he hit Mayweather with a low blow in the 10th round, then gave him a right-hander around the back of the head. Trainers/relations then rushed the ring to become embroiled, quickly followed by both sets of corner men.
The initial incident earned him a $75,000 fine and a 6 month suspension and the second a $350,000 and an ensuing 1 year suspension.
However, a reinvented fighter under 'Sweet P's' guidance, the underdog role will suit him against the younger quicker Khan who is one of the best fighters in the division. Khan has also sparred a lot of rounds with Manny Pacquiao. When Roach has trained Pacquiao in the Philippines, he has gone over there with him. That shows real desire and negates what in some quarters is perceived as his underestimation of Judah aptitude.
While it's important to have an ambitious long term plan, the obvious danger here is that looking too far ahead can take away a fighter's focus and any complacency going in with Judah could be exploited with devastating effects.
Judah's game plan might be to try and blow Khan away, a la Prescott. In the Grouped Round betting between Rounds 1-3 he is 10/1 and the Round betting is 33/1 from Round 1 through to 6.
The precocious Khan on the other hand, whose defensive skills have improved dramatically since that infamous 54 second mauling, is 5/6 for the KO, TKO TD or DQ, 7/4 by Decision or Technical Decision. 9/2 in the Group Betting between 7-9 looks good value too.
In terms of the task in hand, Judah said, 'July 23rd is about this: what can you bring as far as your skills; what can you bring as far as your brains; what can you bring as far as your knowledge of boxing; what can you do in that square ring; what do you do when you look across that ring and there's a hungry lion named Zab 'Super' Judah looking you dead in the eye, anxious for the bell to go bing?' You either fold or you play cards. I'm going to play to win.'
When the bell does go bing in Las Vegas next Saturday night, I expect Khan to withstand the hungry lion's high octane early rush and consummately box his way to a comprehensive victory, stopping Judah late in the fight.