Next time the fight talk turns to egos, throw in the name Zab “Super” Judah. He belongs up there with the rest of the Brash Crew, guys like Bernard Hopkins, James Toney and “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Next to these guys, Terrell Owens sounds like one of the Osmonds.
You don’t hear any of that “aw, shucks,” or “I just got lucky” talk from this crowd. No one is taking the humble road to greatness, ducking the bright lights and passing all the credit on to mom and dad, clean living and the best working corner in the fight game.
But that’s all right. When you’re as good as Judah is – shouldering your way toward the top of the best pound-for-pound list – you’ve earned the right to be a little arrogant. In fact, it’s probably healthy. Sells tickets and makes for good copy. And that’s Judah. Cocky, confident and brash, a guy at the top of his career looking for a few more dragons to slay.
The undisputed welterweight champ, Judah (34-2, 25 KOs) defends his WBC title on Jan. 7 at Madison Square Garden (SHOWTIME) against the WBC’s No. 1 contender, Carlos Baldomir (41-9-6, 12 KOs) of Argentina. An unknown who doesn’t have a jarring punch or a legendary chin, Baldomir’s only claim to fame is that he hasn’t lost in his last 19 fights, though he did rack up a couple draws. That’s not the kind of fight history that keeps Judah up at night. So if he’s glancing over Baldomir’s shoulder and looking down the road at a tentative fight against Mayweather in early April, you can’t blame him. All you can do is warn him.
”I’m looking for the big match-up and a big showdown with “Pretty Girl” (Floyd) Mayweather,” Judah said on a recent national conference call promoting his fight with Baldomir. “And I want to make it look good.”
The “Pretty Girl” shot is Judah’s way of firing back at Mayweather, who he says has crossed the line of disrespect with some of the colorful talk they’ve been swapping.
Judah insists he’s not looking past Baldomir, but he is. Aside from a possible fight with Mayweather, the biggest incentive for him in this fight might be where they’re holding it. He trains and lives in Florida, but he’s from Brooklyn, and he wants to make the Baldomir fight a special homecoming.
”The event of this fight is Zab Judah coming home to New York City,” he said. “We want to give (Baldomir) his 30 seconds of fame, because that is probably how long the fight will last.”
Baldomir must be wondering what he got himself into.
”I’ve been (working with) two dudes,” Judah said when asked about his sparring partners. “I’ve knocked out about eight sparring partners already, world champions and all. I am not going to use anybody’s name because I am not trying to embarrass anybody.”
Right. He sounds ready.
"My speed and power is nothing to play with,” he went on. “A lot of guys look at it and take it for a joke. But you see time and time again, they hit the floor like dust.”
You wonder if he writes this stuff down ahead of time.
Asked about his second-round knockout loss to Kostya Tszyu back in November 2001, Judah said he always knew he would bounce back.
”To once be on top and then to lose everything and come back and get it again, it’s a beautiful thing,” he said. “It’s not that you’re a bum or a garbage fighter with no chin. If you get caught, it can happen to anyone. Anyone. Muhammad Ali was knocked out. Joe Louis was knocked out. Mike Tyson was knocked out. It’s how you come back. Myself, I came back with flying colors.”
If the Mayweather fight somehow falls through, Judah – who won a rematch with Cory Spinks early this year after losing to him last year for only his second loss – said he’d look forward to a rematch with Tszyu.
“[Tszyu] has a personal invitation from Zab Judah, and any time he feels ready to step up to the plate, I’m ready to show the world that that was a fluke,” Judah said of that loss four years ago. “I showed everybody with Cory Spinks when I came back. I am ready for Kostya Tszyu.”
Just line ‘em up.