By Geno McGahee
Danny Garcia, 25-0, 16 KO’s, is quickly becoming a star attraction. His recent wins over Erik Morales (W-12, KO-4) and Amir Khan (KO-4) have validated him as a true champion, but his father’s antics have made him an attraction and now he goes into face a former champion that still can draw a crowd in Zab “Super” Judah, 42-7, 29 KO’s.
It seems that Judah has been around forever. He had superstar written all over him, presenting a similar style to the great Pernell Whitaker but with pulverizing power. He had the ‘bad boy’ image and was friends with Iron Mike Tyson. All the stars were aligned for him to take over the sport in a big way, but it didn’t happen.
Judah would bring a 27-0 record into a title unifier against fellow light welterweight champion, Kostya Tszyu, in 2001, and would look spectacular in round one, dominating the fight. In round two, Judah’s lack of focus in the ring cost him and a right hand sent him crashing to the floor. He got up on wobbly legs and fell down again, prompting the referee to stop it. After the referee’s call, Judah threw a corner stool at him and then choked him. It wasn’t a good moment but the antics kept him in the headlines. He was a loose cannon.
In 2005, Judah would avenge a loss to Cory Spinks by ninth round stoppage to capture the undisputed welterweight title, but the celebration was short-lived. In a defense against the unremarkable Carlos Baldomir, he lost. He was uninspired and was looking ahead to a big showdown with Floyd Mayweather, JR. Judah would make headlines right away by punching Baldomir in the stomach at the stare down.
Despite the defeat to Baldomir, Judah was placed into a showdown on PPV against Floyd Mayweather, JR. Arguably, he did the best against Floyd, dominating early and knocking Mayweather down (uncredited), before losing focus and taking a beating. Boxing’s village idiot, Roger Mayweather, nearly cost his nephew his undefeated record when he jumped into the ring to throw down with Judah after a low blow landed. This created turmoil in the ring and fines across the board, but Floyd maintained his status with a 12 round decision win.
Since that defeat, Judah has been a “name” opponent for guys on the rise. Joshua Clottey and Miguel Cotto picked up victories over him and most recently, Amir Khan stopped him. It should be noted that in 2010 he eked by Lucas Matthysse, one of the current biggest names in the sport and he knocked out the undefeated Veron Paris in his last fight. So to say that Judah poses no danger to Garcia is wrong, but the odds are stacked high against him.
Garcia is getting better and is more confident. After the back to back knockout wins over highly respected and established fighters (Morales, Khan), he will be going into this with a full head of steam, eager to add another big name, but could that open him up to an incoming power shot from the dangerous Judah?
If Garcia comes into this fight looking for the knockout, he could be in for a surprise. Judah may not be what he once was, but he still has timing and power and knows that Garcia can be hit. Make no mistake, this is not a payday fight for Judah. He is coming into this with every intention of winning it.
This Saturday, we could be seeing the last of Judah and the continuation in the progress of a budding superstar, or the sport could throw another wrench into the works and give us an unexpected result. Showtime will showcase this bout along with Peter Quillin taking on Fernando Guerrero and the return of Amir Khan as he takes on Julio Diaz. It’s a great triple header.