Fight of the Day: Floyd Mayweather vs Zab Judah

This Welterweight Title fight took place in April of 2006 at the Thomas and Mack Center on HBO PPV. This fight was an interesting trip back in time, Floyd was still with Top Rank Promotions and this was the final title fight officiated by Richard Steele. This fight was set up prior to Judah’s shocking decision loss to Carlos Baldomir which put a slight damper on this fight. The bad blood kept fans interested as many still saw the Baldomir loss as a fluke for the former undisputed champ Zab Judah. Because the WBC was the only organization to sanction the fight Judah managed to hang on to his IBF title despite the loss. Floyd was only twenty nine in this fight and was in his thirty sixth pro bout. Judah presented an interesting challenge on this night as a southpaw and with the speed to match Floyd Mayweather. The first four rounds saw Judah jump ahead 39-37 on my scorecard and on Dave Moretti’s scorecard with Jerry Rother scoring it 38-38. While Mayweather did take a knee against Carlos Hernandez in his only knockdown suffered as a professional he was caught by a short counter in the second round of this fight and his glove touched the canvas. It was a missed call by Steele though in the end it was meaningless to the actual outcome of the fight.

The first four rounds of the fight were very tactical with neither man committing to consistent offense. They each showed respect of each others hand speed and punch accuracy though Floyd fought with a consistent pressure. Mayweather fought as the aggressor the entire fight which is common in his fights against southpaws but it did result in Judah scoring sharp left hands down the middle. Zab did snap Floyd’s head back several times early in the fight and was able to duck and slip under Mayweather’s punches. He seemed able to time the attacks and score effectively. Judah’s best punches were his effective jabs to set up his left and the occasional right hook. In the fifth round Mayweather took control of the fight after Judah had a spirited and aggressive fourth. Floyd had been digging his left hook to the body of Judah and using a shovel hook like right hand to the body. These shots took their effect as Judah began to slow and stay in front of Floyd while also losing steam on his punches. Floyd had an interesting stance, very square which seemed to mask the right hand down the middle and he attacked with leaping left hooks, lead rights and digging to the body. He drew blood from Judah’s nose in the fifth and Judah resorted to taunts, talking and hitting after the bell. Round six, seven and eight saw Floyd continue to press and do damage but Judah was still very dangerous. Round nine and ten saw Floyd taking control and it looked like a stoppage win was on the way for Mayweather.

Mayhem broke out in the tenth when Judah went low and then rabbit punched Floyd who was bent over defenseless. Roger Mayweather entered the ring to be confronted by Yoel Judah and Zab sucker punched Leonard Ellerbe. Judah who has a history of running hot and cold like Andrew Golota attacked Jay Nady in a previous incident and also had some controversy surround his fights with Amir Khan and Miguel Cotto. This incident could have cost Floyd the fight as a disqualification for Roger entering the ring. The rest allowed Judah to recover and Floyd settled into boxing mode and did not renew the attack he had sustained in the previous four rounds. Floyd would go on to win a wide decision 116-112, 117-111 and a very unfair 119-109 to secure the welterweight belt. Floyd would go on to solidify his title by beating Baldomir and then made history and big money against Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton before retiring temporarily. Zab Judah would still get big opportunities and briefly held a title at 140lbs. but never was able to reclaim the status he had held prior to the Baldomir debacle. He did score a terrific late career win over Lucas Mattysse and also derailed the career of undefeated 26-0 Vernon Paris. For fight fans this is a great opportunity to see Floyd Mayweather very close to his peak form and to see Judah match him for speed and test Floyd. This is also a great fight to see the varied offensive arsenal of Mayweather as well.

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