In anticipation of the April 8 HBO PPV fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Zab Judah, Yoel Judah, Zab’s father and trainer, met with members of the boxing press via telephone conference call on March 28, and this is what went down.
ALAN HOPPER: Can you tell us how training is going Yoel ?
YOEL (JUDAH: It’s sunny out here, hot. Birds are whistling. The trees are moving. Everything is good.
ALAN HOPPER: Well, there’s an optimistic forecast. And Don, do you want to give an opening statement about Mayweather versus Judah coming up on April 8 in Las Vegas?
DON KING, DON KING PRODUCTIONS: Yes, this is going to be a good fight coming up on April 8. Zab Judah will knock out Mayweather which will shock the world. No one wants to believe this but Zab is spoken, dedicated and committed to destroying Mayweather. He’s fast as Mayweather. He’s much more stronger than Mayweather, hits much harder than Mayweather. And whether Mayweather, who I consider one of the best boxers in the world, will be able to box his way out of this hell that he’s getting ready to get into remains to be seen. So, look forward. You heard it right.
MICHAEL YOUSSEF, BOXINGTALK.COM: Hi Zab, Don, and Yoel . My first question is for Zab. Zab, Floyd doesn’t seem to respond as well when people put heat on him the way Castillo did. You’re a boxer but at the same time when you are – when you are at your aggressive pace against guys like Rivera against Spinks in the rematch, you put a lot of heat on them. How do you plan on approaching Floyd Mayweather? I mean are you going to be stalking him behind the jab or are you going to attempt to just, I mean, box with him because a lot of people feel that your best chances are, again, to chase him around the ring as opposed to sit there and try to out-box him? What are your thoughts on this?
YOEL JUDAH: Zab is training.
MICHAEL YOUSSEF: OK. Well, can I ask that for Yoel? Yoel, how would you prefer your son, Zab, to fight Floyd? I mean are you – are you – are you investing in a game plan you know where he’s going to – he’s going to box aggressively behind the jab the way he did with Spinks in the rematch, the way he did with Rivera or are you anticipating him to simply just try to – I mean I guess outslick Floyd, outbox Floyd? A lot of people don’t feel that Zab has much of a chance unless he comes in super aggressive and puts the pressure on him the way Jose Louis Castillo was able to both Mayweather doing? Is that something you’re emphasizing right now in Deerfield?
YOEL JUDAH: We’re going to do what we do best man and that’s win. Whatever people think that’s their business. Alright. Just be there and watch the fight.
MICHAEL YOUSSEF: OK. Question also for Don. Don, provided Zab Judah gets by Floyd Mayweather have you guys given any thought into who you’d like to see him fight next? I know a lot of people in boxing are saying there’s this guy named Antonio Margarito who is everybody is ducking and this and that. I mean would Judah intend on giving Mayweather a rematch? Is there a rematch clause?
DON KING: There is no rematch clause. It’s winner take all. And, right now we’re just focusing on Floyd Mayweather. You’ve got your hands full with Floyd Mayweather. Floyd Mayweather is considered pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world. And, that’s what makes us work better knowing we’re going up against all odds. We rise to the occasion. And, we shall knock out Floyd Mayweather.
MICHAEL YOUSSEF: Don, one last question. Now that the Judahs are down there with you in Deerfield, Florida have you yourself been able to sneak a peek at Zab’s training? And, what could you tell us about that in regards to other training camps? I ask you this question Don because it’s almost redundant to ask the fighter and his trainer because regardless they’re going to say it’s the best training camp they’ve ever had. So, I’m asking for an objective perspective here. What have you seen Don?
DON KING: Well, let me tell you this here. Attitude is what really makes the world to wimps. And, this is what I see that is very, very a blatant statement, that the will to win – you know what I mean? And so, if the mind can conceive it the body can achieve it. That’s what you got here that you haven’t seen in a long, long time. And, that’s the dedication and commitment you will see on the eighth of April. So, that will, that desire, that unbelievable commitment – you know what I mean – to take this guy out, that’s what I see.
MICHAEL YOUSSEF: OK. And, I have one last question for Yoel. What advantages do you see your son having over Floyd that you in particular would like to see Zab exploit?
YOEL JUDAH: What advantage do we have?
MICHAEL YOUSSEF: What particular advantages, as a fighter, do you see Zab holding over Floyd that you would like to have your son exploit against Floyd come April 8?
YOEL JUDAH: The advantage is just Floyd stepping in the ring. That’s all I want him to do. Step in the ring and we’ve got the advantage. That’s it.
LEM SATTERFIELD, BALTIMORE SUN: Yoel , watching the fight with Baldomir it appeared to me – and you correct me if I’m wrong – you were giving Zab the proper instruction and the right things to do and he didn’t seem to respond to your requests. Have you guys talked that out? Could you point out why that was and has that been corrected?
YOEL JUDAH: There was never a problem. Just things happen – you know, things happen in life. You know what I mean? So, it’s nothing. That’s behind us. Mayweather is in front of us. And you know, April 8, don’t blink.
LEM SATTERFIELD: Yoel, how do you compare the way – the way Zab feels about Floyd right now? They were once friends and now the fight is built up as “Sworn Enemies” East vs. West. Has he ever felt this way about another opponent?
YOEL JUDAH: Listen. He don’t feel nothing for Floyd, nothing. Floyd’s got a big mouth. He’s got a real big mouth. And, we’re going to find out April 8 how much he can talk. Watch. We’ll find out.
LEM SATTERFIELD: But, what I’m asking you though is has he ever had this much animosity for another opponent going into a fight? And, if you can sum that – or is this the worst it’s been?
YOEL JUDAH: He don’t listen. He don’t have – he don’t have that. He don’t hate the man. He don’t dislike the man. He just – he’s going to do a job. He’s going to close his big mouth. That’s all, simple as that. We don’t hate the guy or nothing. We’re going to shut him down. I promise you that.
LEM SATTERFIELD: Is there any way – do you see him after this fight is over you know – regardless of what happens, do you see them embracing? Do you ever see them being friends again? Is this going to resolve itself ever or is this like a blood – a blood war here?
YOEL JUDAH: I mean listen man. I don’t think there’s no bad – I don’t think there’s hate between either one of them. It’s just something that’s got to be done. You know what I’m saying? I mean look. It just – you know the guy – he’s, you know, he more or less pushes our buttons. When you push our buttons you’ve got problems. So, you know – and then on the same token it’s an opportunity for us. You know what I’m saying? So, I mean this thing is just – this thing is worldwide. This thing is going to make history for the next 100 years. Alright. So, we’re coming in there – we’re coming in there and we are not playing. So, Floyd can be a – he can be a triple-A with his game. It don’t mean nothing. It don’t mean nothing. I just want him to know that. It don’t mean nothing. Listen, you can’t stop it. You can’t stop it man. It’s like – it’s like Katrina. You can’t stop it. We’re coming. So, just watch.
LEM SATTERFIELD: Last question Yoel. How much – how important is this particular fight in kind of erasing Zab’s last performance? A lot of us you know feel that that was just kind of an aberration, something that I was just totally surprised at the way he responded. Do you feel like he really has a lot of motivation not only because of what’s happened between him and Floyd but based on his last performance to really come out here and put on a good effort and be spectacular?
YOEL JUDAH: Look, you know something like this here man – I mean this fight had to be a spectacular fight because I mean let’s say Zab – somebody said Zab lost the fight. So they say. It’s still going on. HBO won it. Floyd won it. Bob Arum won it. Don won it. I mean no problem. We got no problem with it. We’re going to make it happen though. You know what I’m saying? I mean look man. We’re ready. We’re up. We’re able. We’re going to do this thing. We’ve got a good promoter with us. Don’s back – Don King is back behind us. We’re going to do this thing together 100 percent. We’re going in there full confidence. And Mayweather, whatever watch it man. That’s all I got to tell you. You’ve got a big mouth and we will shut it come April 8. We’re going to shut it. Watch.
LEM SATTERFIELD: All right. Thanks Yoel. What are the chances Zab will be on the line any time soon?
GREG ST. MARTIN, “METRO NEWSPAPER”: My question is you know in the fight – in the last fight that was – that was had you know Zab was fighting at home in New York. And, I wanted to ask you how much of an impact you thought it had on you know the outcome of him fighting at home and how much are you looking forward – or is maybe he looking forward to being outside of New York and fighting away from – away from his home?
YOEL JUDAH: It don’t matter if it’s home, upstate, in Africa. It don’t matter you know where it’s at. He’s focused man. This particular fight is the one that turns him on. Zab is up for the big fight. You don’t understand. The big fights, he gets up for them. So, you know out of the home thing – that’s nothing. We’ll go back to – we beat Baldomir 10 times and we got – if we fight him 10 times Zab will beat him 10 out of 10. Alright, but he’s up for Mayweather because he’s got a big mouth.
GREG ST. MARTIN: Do you think that him being in New York had any outcome on the – on the outcome of the last fight?
YOEL JUDAH: Nothing. Nothing – him being in – nothing with New York, nothing. Nothing with New York, nothing with the promoter, nothing, just that it was something that happened. It’s behind us now. We’re ruling. You know what I’m saying? This is the fight that we’re going to show the world – shock the world one more time – what we do best. We’re from Brooklyn. We take (ph). And, that’s what we’re coming to do. Alright? We’re taking it. Floyd, you can’t stop it. That’s what I’m going to keep telling you. You’re going to be shocked. Watch. You can’t stop this.
TRAE THOMPSON, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM: Yes, a quick question here. No one will dispute Floyd’s talents but what is it that opponents can’t do or that they’ve overlooked that you’ll be able to take advantage of?
ALAN HOPPER: Repeat the question please, Trae.
TRAE THOMPSON: OK, yes. The question was – OK, no one disputes Floyd’s talent. But, what is it that opponents can’t do or that they’ve overlooked that you all will be able to take advantage of?
YOEL JUDAH: Well, I’ll just put one – I’ll just put one down for example. Speed – Floyd ain’t got the quickest hands in the world. We’re going to find out. OK?
TRAE THOMPSON: All right. And, a quick question for you Don. Will you be surprised if this is the one ends up the fight of the year?
DON KING: I will be surprised if he don’t destroy Floyd Mayweather. That’s what he’s saying. (INAUDIBLE) a great opportunity for Zab. And, Team Zab is now prepared you know to take advantage of that opportunity. And, I think that he’s just going to literally destroy Floyd. (INAUDIBLE) the other way, which is 90 percent of the people they’re going to find out that that ain’t what it is. And, that’s what makes it even a more remarkable victory when you have something of that magnitude in this thing. That’s what you got coming, man, a real great fight. And, it’s just another victory for (INAUDIBLE). It will win fight of the year honors. I would be very surprised if it didn’t – if it didn’t win it. But, I don’t see – I don’t – I don’t even consider. It will win.
DERRICK WICK, “BOXING DIGEST”: Hello gentlemen. This one is for Yoel (ph). There’s no question that these two gentlemen will be facing probably the fastest guy that they’ve ever fought, both for Floyd and for Zab. Is Zab doing anything special concerning dealing with Floyd’s (ph) speed because Floyd is going to be a faster guy than he probably ever faced before?
YOEL JUDAH: What do you got to – what do you got to do special? We ain’t doing nothing special.
DERRICK WICK: That’s what I’m asking. Nothing special?
YOEL JUDAH: Listen. We do what we do man. We do what we do best. We win. We beat people down. That’s what’s going to happen. He’s going to get a bad whipping. So, there ain’t no speed. Speed got nothing to do with this man. It’s about – you’ve got to stand – you’ve got to stand up and fight. You’ve got to fight. Ain’t no running no where. You’ve got to – you’ve got to do so-called claim you can do with your hands. And, it’s not going to happen over here. I can tell you that.
DERRICK WICK: How is this fight going to end Yoel? Do you have a prediction on how exactly it’s going to end? Is it going to be a decision? He’s going to stomp him?
YOEL JUDAH: He’s going to stomp him.
DERRICK WICK: How long is it going to go?
YOEL JUDAH: He’s going to destroy him.
DERRICK WICK: He’s going to destroy him. OK. This is – this is for Don.
You’ve had you know recent promoting with Bob Arum. Is this something that’s going to continue in the future? Are you guys going to get together on the project?
DON KING: I enjoy rooting and Bob Arum is a good foe. So, you know you never – you know a winner never quits. And, a quitter never wins. So, we have to keep on going because I got to keep on beating him.
DERRICK WICK: So, you’re going to keep – you’re going to keep promoting against each other instead of with each other. And Don, do you have any regrets for matching him with Baldomir, for taking that fight at that time?
DON KING: No. It may have been (INAUDIBLE) to think someone said that the night of the fight because there’s nothing more (INAUDIBLE). And so, when you get – when you get – then you come back to sobriety and you get this – you re-gather yourself. You re-order . You redeploy your forces and you attack again. I think this gave him more resolve than I’ve seen him – than any time other than Spinks. You know I mean now he’s even more focused than he was going for Spinks. So, I think that Floyd Mayweather is in for a shocking surprise, but he’s going to be literally destroyed.
DERRICK WICK: That actually takes my next question which was about focus. Because, I know he didn’t have much focus in the Baldomir fight but he was very focused against Wayne Martell and Spinks. And, that focus just kind of disappeared that night. But, listening to you gentlemen I can hear that he’s very, very focused. He’s so focused that he’s not going to answer questions today which I guess is admirable.
Is there a possibility that there could be a rematch with Baldomir if both Zab and Baldomir win their next fights – Baldomir against Gatti and Zab of course against Floyd?
DON KING: The rematch really – a rematch is premature man. We want to destroy Floyd. Floyd requires more than just a passing fancy. He replies – he requires dedicated commitment. You know and for anybody to take Floyd lightly, what we’re going to do after we get through beating Floyd, that is pockety-cock. You know what I mean? That’s craziness. We’ve got to put anything we can think of on Floyd Mayweather and get ready to go. And, that’s what we’re going to do is destroy Floyd Mayweather. Then, we’ll talk about what we’re going to do next.
TOM THOMPSON, TIGERBOXING.COM: Don, since boxing is as much mental or more mental than physical with Judah getting upset be Baldomir and that becoming a big wake-up call do you think that has had a positive effect on Judah? And at the same time, Mayweather might be thinking all he’s got to do is show up to win the fight, which might be his downfall.
DON KING: I think so. I think that’s exactly what I would put it in if you were going to put it in that type of an analyzation. OK, yes. So, I think that this is something that you can rest assured this fight certainly focuses more – will focus Zab more …
ALAN HOPPER: Don, do you think the Baldomir fight will be a blessing in disguise? I think is what Tom is asking.
DON KING: Yes. The Baldomir fight brought sobriety back to Zab. It humbled him in a way that he it embarrassing, humiliating. And now, he’s got to avenge himself. He’s got to be able to go out there and demonstrate what he does best – just knock people out. And, that’s what he’s going to do to Mayweather. You know where Mayweather may have thought it opened up a door to him, it just – it just did – on the contrary, it put him in a position to get knocked out.
TOM THOMPSON: Alan, that is half of my question. But the other half would – did the Baldomir fight, do you think Mr. King, did that give Mayweather some false confidence?
DON KING: You know what? I can’t answer what it gave Mayweather but seemingly it did because Mayweather is now ready to fight. And now, he’s been talking more trash than he ever talked before. And unfortunately for him, Zab can’t take that. He don’t like that. So therefore, what do you do about something when you don’t like it? You change it. Zab’s going to change it. How’s he going to change it? He destroys (INAUDIBLE) and make everything he says inconsequential.
MICHAEL YOUSSEF: A question for Yoel. I heard earlier you are – you, I understand – you and Zab don’t feel you all lost the fight to Baldomir, but I think you might agree with most people in that saying that given Zab’s talents that fight should never even have gone the distance. Would you agree with that statement?
YOEL (ph) JUDAH: Yes, somewhat. Yes … I mean like you know – I’m not – I’m not reaching into the past too much. (INAUDIBLE) going backwards.
MICHAEL YOUSSEF: I guess to be direct here. What about Zab has changed as far as maturity and his focus towards a fight so that there will never – there won’t – there will be more consistencies in his focus from fight to fight? Like, Don mentioned earlier he’s more focused for this camp than he’s been for any other camp, even the Spinks re-match. Obviously, he’s more focused for Mayweather than he was for Baldomir. Has the Baldomir fight taught Zab that he needs to be focused for every fight, not just the big fights like the Spinks and the – and the Mayweathers? I mean has he learned that in your opinion from studying with him now? I mean as – I mean it seems like if – I mean did he take anything away as any type of a learning experience from the Baldomir fight?
YOEL JUDAH: We’ve got to think. Zab’s a grown man. Alright? He’s experienced. He gets up for these fights. Baldomir is Bahamas man. You know what I mean? Like I said, we fight Baldomir 10 times. We’ll beat him 10 more times. He’s nothing. Alright? The Floyd fight, that is what we want. That’s what we focus on. That’s what we’re going to get. And, that’s what Floyd’s going to get. So, you know that’s where we’re at. We’re looking at Mayweather. Alright? He’s got a problem.
DAN RAFAEL, ESPN.COM: Don, you know nobody really disputes that this is a very good matchup between two of the top fighters in the world. I’m wondering why is this fight for the IBF title, though, when Zab clearly lost that fight to Baldomir. Shouldn’t the title just be vacant? And, doesn’t it mean for the title …downgrade the fight just a little bit?
DON KING: That’s the rules of the IBF that Baldomir not only did not pay the sanction fee but the most important thing he didn’t do, he didn’t go to the weigh-in [the morning of the fight per IBF rules].
DAN RAFAEL: No, I understand that Don. I’m not – Don, I’m not debating that. I’m not debating you. I’m saying shouldn’t that title, based on Baldomir nonperformance of those duties – wouldn’t the title, based on the precedent that they’ve had, wouldn’t that belt just be vacant?
UNKNOWN MALE #2: No.
DON KING: No.
DAN RAFAEL: Even if Mayweather fought for the vacant title?
DON KING: No, I don’t think so. You’ve got to go according to the rules. And according to their rules, Zab is still the champion. It’s just like anything else. It’s always you can say you don’t want to debate but you are debating when you say you know shouldn’t it be vacant. That’s your opinion.
DAN RAFAEL: I’m basing it on what they’ve done in the past.
DON KING: The people that create the rules understood exactly what they were doing. And so, when you violate the rules that’s the penalty. So, it’s even more of a slap in the face for the guy who lost to that other guy. And they kind of lower the stake. They continue to hold him as a titleholder.
TRAE THOMPSON: Yoel, with Zab’s approach to this fight do you – what do you do to make sure he’s stays focused but doesn’t get too over-hyped for the fight?
YOEL JUDAH: He’s going to be – he’s going to be OK for the fight. I mean he’s not hyped. He’s not – you know he’s not going to get too over-focused. He just – you know it’s a fight that he wanted. I mean some things – some things in this fight – in this camp (ph) that I’ve got to stop him. That’s how focused he is. Alright? So, he’s right on – the timing for this fight is beautiful. Like I said, we’ve got a beautiful camp. We’ve got a beautiful team behind Zab. We’ve got a good promoter behind Zab. And listen man, Mayweather got problems. I keep telling you all. You’re going to see come April 8.
TRAE THOMPSON: You said thought, too, you had – there are some things you have to stop him from in camp. What stuff do you have to stop him from?
YOEL JUDAH: Listen man – you know training stuff. You know training – you know he goes man. He goes. He goes and goes and goes.
LEM SATTERFIELD: Yes, with all due respect, can you explain to me – I guess when we were in Chicago for the Rahman fight with Monte Barrett and also when you were training Mayorga for his fight – what happened in the gym? And, you know on the conference call notification it said that you know Zab was going to go into detail about what happened in the in-ring incident. So, I guess I’m kind of, you know, in order to sell this figh,t you know it would really have been nice to have him on here. And so, I guess I have to pose the question to you. You know what happened in the ring during their sparring two years ago? And, is it that upsetting that Judah – that Zab can’t come on the conference call and talk about it?
YOEL JUDAH: What did – what did Floyd say happened? What did Floyd say?
LEM SATTERFIELD: Well, that’s what I’m asking you. I’ve only talked …
YOEL JUDAH: Well, I’m saying what did Floyd say? What did you hear Floyd say? Whatever he said, that’s what happened. You make sure you watch the fight April 8. Be there.
ALAN HOPPER: Yoel, do you have any firsthand knowledge of the sparring session?
YOEL JUDAH: Well, I don’t care what he said man. But like I said, whatever Floyd said that’s what happened. Alright? Just be there.
LEM SATTERFIELD: Yoel, I do have your account of what happened because you told me face-to-face. You gave me your – you gave me your account. But, I was just saying, because you told me straight up what you said happened. But I wanted – I would’ve like to have gotten it from Zab because you know obviously in the interest of selling you know this fight people want to hear from the fighter himself. But, I do have your account. You gave it to me face-to-face.
YOEL JUDAH: Yes, whatever Floyd said that’s what happened.
DON KING: No, I think that – I would – I do have – I think it’s going to be a great fight. I think everybody should come and see it. They will literally see Floyd Mayweather destroyed on April 8. You heard it right here first. And so, it’s going to be an opportunity for all boxing fans to restore the vitality of this sport when you see two great fighters fighting with the speed that they have, the agility, the dexterity, the (INAUDIBLE) going forward and backward. Zab will destroy Floyd Mayweather.
ALAN HOPPER: All right. And Yoel, just to be clear here, Zab is training and is not going to participate in the call today?
YOEL JUDAH: No, he’s training right now. He’s focused now. You know what I’m saying …
DON KING: The guy is not – the guy is mad, I guess. He don’t want to talk. He’s so upset and he’s so focused that he’s going to do what he’s got to do. And, some of the reporters should take this as a hint. A word to the wise is suspicion (INAUDIBLE) like Zab is going after Floyd with a relentless dedication and commitment to destroy him.
ALAN HOPPER: And, I can confirm on my side too what Don just said. And all the way through this promotion Yoel and Zab have been very clear that their focus is in the gym and getting Zab focused as well for the biggest challenge of his career. So, we apologize for him not being present today. But as Don stated, you can take his lack of presence on this call to mean that – and he’s at the gym in Deerfield right now. He’s not – he’s not taking the day off. He just would prefer to look after his training regimen. Is that correct, Yoel?
YOEL JUDAH: That’s right. That’s right. He’s training as we speak. He hasn’t stopped yet since we’ve been speaking. You know what I’m saying? So, listen man. You know …
ALAN HOPPER: And, while we’re talking that Yoel why don’t you talk about Zab’s focus. You’ve been with him. I know he hasn’t done many interviews, if any at all. And, is that just – it’s a focus issue. And, this is what you guys want to do. You guys want to focus on the ring and that’s all.
YOEL JUDAH: No disrespect to nobody, no reporter, or commentator, or matchmaker, or nobody. We just – not disrespect. We’re just not talking. He’s focused. He’s training. And, we’re going to do what we’ve got to do in the ring come April 8.
ALAN HOPPER: Is there any comparison you can make between this training camp and the one that was so successful, the Spinks II training camp? Are there any comparisons to that? Do you see – do you see that same intensity and focus in the gym?
YOEL JUDAH: Yes. In St. Louis, it was raining. Here it’s not raining.
ALAN HOPPER: Right. But, I mean as far as when you – when you were working doing the training camp for both fights do you see any similarities between those two camps in terms of determination and focus that Zab is showing in the – in the gym?
YOEL JUDAH: No, we got – no, listen man. Like I said, it might – I don’t know. It might snow. So, it might start snowing. So, I don’t even know. I don’t know. We see – we had rain, snow, sleet. I don’t know. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know.
ALAN HOPPER: So, it doesn’t matter what you guys are up against. Nothing is going to knock you guys out of focus, it sounds like.
YOEL JUDAH: There you go. Alright. You all have a good day.