LOS ANGELES – Floyd Mayweather Jr. doesn’t need no stinking title when he faces former welterweight champion Zab Judah.
The globally recognized best fighter in the world enters the ring on Saturday April 8th carrying his opponent Judah like the Harlem Globetrotters carried the Washington Generals into the arena. He’s fodder for the show.
“It takes two fighters to make a great show, but sometimes it only takes one,” Mayweather (35-0, 24 KOs) said.
So it makes sense that Brooklyn’s Judah (34-3, 25 KOs) refused to participate in promoting the welterweight showdown for the IBF title that shouldn’t be his in the first place. Especially after losing by unanimous decision in his hometown New York.
“Zab is training,” said Yoel Judah, father and trainer to Zab who did not participate in any interviews to promote the contest.
Mayweather enters the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas as the sole marquee event in the welterweight showdown. The fight will be shown on HBO pay-per-view.
“Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best fighter in boxing today,” said Top Rank’s Bob Arum.
Lost in the shuffle is Judah, who blames his last loss to Carlos Baldomir because of time spent speaking to reporters. It’s the same road Roy Jones Jr. took that ended in his downfall.
Judah should heed Jones’s mistakes.
Conversely, the fighter known as “Pretty Boy Floyd” is always thinking and willing to tell the world what’s coming next.
On the verge of convincing the boxing public that he has the ability to compete as a full-fledged welterweight, Mayweather has positioned himself as an opponent for the Golden Boy of boxing.
“It would be an honor to fight Oscar De La Hoya. He’s a Hall of Fame fighter,” Mayweather says with the expertise of a Cold War diplomat: “That’s my ultimate goal.”
Though Mayweather faces Judah, a speedy 147-pounder with the power to score a knockout against almost anyone in the welterweight division, that’s nothing special to the Mayweather.
“He’s already made three mistakes in his career,” says Mayweather citing Judah’s losses as mistakes. “How many mistakes have I made?”
The son of De La Hoya’s trainer Floyd Senior relayed how he met Judah in a sparring session during the New York fighter’s preparation for a match with then champion Cory Spinks.
“After four rounds his daddy got him out of there,” Mayweather said while at Camacho’s Mexican restaurant in Universal Studios. “I spanked him.”
When he saw a look of question on some journalists, he added more to the story.
“You all know me, would I make this up?” Mayweather asked. “When Paul Spadafora got the better of me in sparring a few years back, did I deny it? I’m telling you the truth.”
The flamboyant Mayweather says that to be the best it’s not about speed, power or heart, though all of those ingredients help.
“It’s about intelligence,” Mayweather says. “I’m the smartest guy in boxing today, that’s why I’m undefeated.”
Anger builds in father Judah’s voice when he hears what Mayweather has to say about his son Zab.
“Floyd Mayweather has a big mouth,” Judah says. “We’re going to find out on April 8th, how much he can talk.”
Mayweather hears the words that Judah’s father spews and shrugs his shoulders.
“Like I said, I don’t have nothing against no fighter, do I despise Zab Judah? No. Are we enemies? Yes,” Mayweather said
Who will Mayweather fight next?
“Right now the only thing I’m focused on is Oscar,” Mayweather said and immediately stopped cold after the Freudian slip. “The only thing I’m focused on is Zab Judah. After I dust him off, talk to me and I’ll tell you who’s next.”
And will winning the IBF title satisfy his goals?
“Being the best is more important to me than winning a title.”
A List of Welterweights Mayweather Should Fight
When Zab Judah lost by unanimous decision to Argentina’s Carlos Baldomir, it should have cost him all of the titles he possessed including the WBC, WBA and IBF welterweight world titles. Instead, Baldomir claimed the WBC but did not pay the sanctioning fees to grab the other two. Usually, if the champion loses the title it goes to the victor or it becomes vacant. But the IBF let Judah retain the title and now Mayweather is poised to claim it. Here are some welterweights who should be fighting for the IBF instead of Judah:
1. Mark Suarez (25-2, 13 KOs) of Riverside, Ca. – Don’t let the lack of knockout victories fool you. Suarez packs one of the best punches in the division and in his last two fights stopped former undefeated fighters within six rounds. He ranks number one in the IBF and should be fighting Mayweather on Saturday. He’ll wait his turn.
2. Antonio Margarito (33-4, 24 KOs) of Tijuana, Mex. – He holds the WBO title and has blitzed his last two opponents. Sure, the guys he beat weren’t considered the best, but no one seems willing to step up against the nonstop punching machine. He’s been begging to fight Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Floyd Mayweather and Carlos Baldomir. The silence has been deafening.
3. Shane Mosley (42-4, 36 KOs) Pomona, Ca. – Sugar Shane is set to fight Fernando Vargas in a junior middleweight contest, but he’s really a welterweight. After the rematch with Vargas in July, Mosley wants to return to welterweight and get a shot at Mayweather, if his compadre Oscar De La Hoya doesn’t take him first.
4. Carlos Baldomir (42-9-6, 12 KOs) Santa Fe, Argentina – The rugged Argentine withstood the brash Zab Judah’s best punches then proceeded to run him down. His win over the Brooklyn fighter was one of the greatest upsets in five years. He has the WBC title and deserves a shot at one final big payday. He’s fighting Arturo Gatti in July.
5. Paul Williams (28-0, 20 KOs) Atlanta, Ga. – Known as the “Punisher,” Williams at 6-2 in height, can box, punch and can reach you from across the room as his trainer George Peterson likes to say. He’s trouble for anyone in the division and is vastly overlooked. Williams fights next week against Sergio Rios in Lemoore.
6. Joel Julio (27-0, 24 KOs) Monteria, Colombia – He’s yet to be tested but that will come this June 24 when he faces Carlos Quintero in a battle of undefeated welterweights. He can bang but can he take it? So far, he’s faced questionable talent but left no question he was better.
7. Carlos Quintana (22-0, 18 KOs) Moca, Puerto Rico – The hard-hitting Puerto Rican meets Julio in a contest that should prove who’s the real deal. Somebody’s 0 has got to go. Quintana has some good wins in his ledger including a knockout over Nurhan Suleyman, a skilled boxer.
8. Luis Collazo (26-1, 12 KOs) Brooklyn, New York – He holds the WBA title and is set to meet a big test against junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton of Great Britain. If he passes that test, and that’s a big if, he deserves a match against Mayweather.
9. David Estrada (18-2, 9 KOs) Chicago, Ill. – Since losing to Shane Mosley a year ago Estrada hasn’t stepped in the ring. But he proved that night he belonged with the elite in going the distance with Sugar Shane. He’s a hardnosed fighter who is trained by boxing genius Angelo Dundee. He’s scheduled to meet Kermit Cintron in a couple of weeks.
10. Cory Spinks (34-3, 11 KOs) St. Louis, Mo. – Since losing the welterweight championship to Zab Judah a year ago he hasn’t been back in the ring. Never a big puncher, he’s one of the better boxers in the game today. He can give a lot of fighter’s fits.