NEW YORK (February 7, 2006) – Is there anyone on the planet who can stop “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather? That is the question. Boxing’s undisputed pound-for-pound king, the undefeated Mayweather faces another challenge to his dominance when he attempts to capture his fourth world title in as many weight divisions, this time against three-time world champion Zab “Super” Judah in a showdown for Judah’s IBF welterweight crown on April 8 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The fight was announced today at a news conference in the L’Orangerie Room, a room fit for a King, at The New York Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue, a fabulous mansion just behind St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The bout will be promoted by Top Rank and Don King Productions, in association with Caesars Palace and Wynn Las Vegas.
Mayweather vs. Judah will mark the first time Hall of Fame promoters Bob Arum and Don King have jointly promoted a pay-per-view event since their 1999 “Fight of the Millennium,” a blockbuster featuring Oscar Le La Hoya (Arum) vs. Felix “Tito” Trinidad (King). That fight remains the highest grossing non-heavyweight fight in pay-per-view history.
Floyd Mayweather, (35-0, 24 KOs), from Grand Rapids (MI) is a three-time world champion at 130, 135 and 140 pounds. Brooklyn’s own Zab Judah (34-3, 25 KOs) is a two-time world champion at 140 and the former undisputed world champion at 147 pounds. Finally, after years of waiting, these two champs will settle the question once and for all as to who is really the best of the best of the best in the fight game.
"I have been here before,” Mayweather said. “I have fought on major pay-per-views. I know about big fights. I may be going in as the challenger but I will be fighting like a champion. You will never see me in the ring unprepared. He is the best in the east and I am the best in the west. Now we are going to see who the best of the best really is. Zab is fast and strong but he has no chin. No way he will be able to take my punch."
Zab Judah had his own take on the bout.
"This will be an extravaganza," he declared. "I have waited my whole life for a fight like this. Floyd and I have been friends a long time and we have talked about fighting each other for almost as long, and now it's finally here. That fight on January 7 wasn't me. Everyone knows that. We'll give Mayweather what WE want. He's done."
Promoter Bob Arum had a few thoughts of his own. “Floyd Mayweather is the greatest fighter I have ever seen since Muhammad Ali," he said. "Fight fans know that what happened to Judah in January was an aberration. Mayweather versus Judah is a fight that fans have been clamoring to see for years. It’s going to be exciting, riveting and I am certain fans will get their money’s worth.”
Arum’s co-promoter Don King agrees with his longtime rival’s assessment.
"It will be lights out in Arumville again," exclaimed King, drawings peals of laughter from the press. "Don't worry, we won't let the lights go out completely. This time I will have a generator handy to merely dim them. This will break the record for a non-heavyweight pay-per-view and it will be done for the first time by two African-Americans.
“Zab Judah has performed at his best after coming off a loss,” King added, “like he did against Cory Spinks. In the rematch with Spinks, Zab was very focused and scored a knockout to win the undisputed welterweight championship. I have every reason to believe he will do the exact same thing to Floyd Mayweather – knock him out – on April 8. Zab is at his best when his back is against the wall."
"Floyd Mayweather has a terrific opportunity to solidify his claim to be the world's top pound-for-pound fighter, while Zab Judah has the ultimate opportunity for redemption," said HBO Pay-Per-View's Mark Taffet. "April 8th could be a night of fireworks between two long-time archrivals."
At the age of 28, Floyd is a nine-year pro. Boxing’s biggest superstar, in many ways the future of the sport, he is considered to be the best active fighter at any weight, pound-for-pound in the game today.
Floyd won the WBC super lightweight world title fight on June 25 with a dominant sixth-round TKO against defending champion Arturo Gatti. After the fight, HBO boxing analyst Larry Merchant said on the telecast, “We don’t see many fighters with his kind of skills. He fights as naturally as a fish swims, and sometimes the fish is a shark.”
In his last fight on Nov. 19, Floyd fought as a welterweight for the first time and KO’d former WBA super lightweight world champion Sharmba Mitchell in the sixth round
In Judah’s last appearance, at Madison Square Garden Theater on Jan. 7, Judah faced the World Boxing Council mandatory challenger Carlos "Tata" Baldomir Judah built a comfortable lead on the cards (59-55, 59-56 and 58-56) halfway through the bout, but that evaporated when Baldomir wobbled Zab with a solid hand in round number seven. After that, Judah struggled to regain his previous rhythm, and ended up on the losing end of a very close decision.
Judah won the IBF junior welterweight title on February 20, 2000 at the age of 22 and made five successful defenses over the next 21 months. He won the WBO junior welterweight title in the summer of 2003 at the age of 26, and made one successful defense before he moved up in weight to the 147-pound division in April 2004. He became undisputed welterweight champion of the world in February 2005.
Zab is experienced against top opposition, and has fought current world champion Carlos Baldomir, and former world champions Cory Spinks twice (TKO9, L12), Rafael Pineda (W12), DeMarcus Corley (W12), Kostya Tszyu (TKO2), and Terron Millett (TKO4). He also has impressive wins against contenders Omar Weis (W10), Reggie Green (TKO10), Junior Witter (W12), Jan Bergman (KO4), and Micky Ward (W12).
Tickets for “Sworn Enemies!” – Floyd Mayweather vs. Zab Judah – are priced at $700, $500, $300, $200, $100 and $50 and can be purchased at the Thomas & Mack box office, online at www.unlvtickets.com or by calling 702.739.FANS.
The April 8 Mayweather-Judah telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on HBO PPV and has a suggested retail price of $44.95.