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Amir Khan, Timothy Bradley & Manny Pacquiao: The Hit List of Zab Judah

By Gina L. Caliboso

According to Wikipedia, this is what is listed under Zab “Super” Judah’s fighting style: “Zab is a speedy southpaw boxer (reminiscent of Manny Pacquiao) and prefers his left cross or uppercut.”

When you think of Judah’s performance against Jose Armando Santa Cruz on July 16th, I could swear this comment was added. And, considering that Timothy Bradley shouted out a challenge for every fighter ranked below him, and the timing was perfect – one night after Judah’s victory.

The light welterweight division is filled with potential matchups to keep boxing somewhat interesting in lieu of the recent boxing match announcement for Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito on November 13th.

Excuse while I say “ehh, okay.”

Zab Judah, 39-6, 27 KO’s, made a triumphant return to the ring after nearly a year. Against Santa Cruz, he showed a great jab and kept the taller Santa Cruz at bay with the combinations leading off of his jab. Judah had a relentless attack and pulled off 4 punch combinations without any counter. Judah returned with the jab and continued to jab at will and never allowed Santa Cruz an offense.

Finally, in the 3rd round, Judah punched a textbook left uppercut right on Santa Cruz’s chin that looks even worse in slow motion because it was right on. From the beginning of the fight, he fought with a look of determination and fight that was more centered, focused, and polished. Judah had less attitude and less ego in his fight. He fought with all business and skill – a perfect blend of a rejuvenated attitude in his boxing ability.

Judah is currently ranked #21 among the light welterweights according to boxrec.com. But given his performance against Santa Cruz, one of the higher ranked light welterweights should really consider looking at Judah as a potential opponent.

But before potential matchups, let’s take a look at why he should consider making the light welterweight his division to conquer.

Judah weighed in at 141 pounds against Santa Cruz.

In his previous forays into the welterweight division, he didn’t show the knockout and power potential that he is definitely capable of achieving. Judah’s weighed in at his heaviest against Ryan Davis back in 2007 at 150-1/4 pounds. He has struggled at welterweight, incurring more losses.

In January 2006, he fought against Carlos Baldomir and lost a 12 round unanimous decision. The bout was for the WBC Welterweight title. Four months later in April 2006, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Judah lost in a 12 round UD with again, a title belt at stake – the IBF Welterweight title and then vacant IBO Welterweight title.

In June 2007, he fought against Miguel Angel Cotto, 35-2, 28 KO’s, he lost in the 11th round by TKO for the WBA World Welterweight title.

Finally, in August 2008, Judah scored another loss in the 9th round by TD against Joshua Clottey for the IBF Welterweight title.

Over the course of his career, Judah and the welterweight fighters, combined with a belt on the line, does not mix well with his potential talent. Maybe it was the extra weight. Regardless, I just really saw something in Judah in his fight against Santa Cruz.

So I’ve gone on in his promise and his sort of revamped boxing approach. Who will be there to give Judah some much needed boxing time and a lucrative opportunity to reach the top of the light welterweights?

The light welterweight division is currently packed with talent. One night after Judah’s victory, Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley went on to win against Luis Carlos Abregu, 29-1, 23 KO’s in a 12 round unanimous decision. After his win, Bradley called out Pacquiao at 147. He called out everyone that has a belt in his division.

There will be a meeting of fists for Bradley.

Given that Bradley will have his pick of a fight, I think Bradley should definitely set his sights on St. Louis fighter Devon Alexander, but it won’t happen anytime soon since Alexander will go up against Andriy Kotelnik on August 7th.

With that little mix, Amir Khan then might be the next viable opponent for Judah. Khan defeated Paul Malignaggi with an 11th round TKO earlier this year. Judah will be far more competitive and stronger an opponent for Khan.

This would really test Khan’s resolve in order to defend his WBA belt.

Even as Bradley called out Pacquiao at 147 pounds, I still don’t think he has the edge just yet. As for Judah, his presence is definitely going to shake things up for the other top fighters to man up and decide to fight him with this new found confidence.

Judah looks determined and strong to make the light welterweight division all his own.

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