We’ve taken him to task here at TSS, so let us take the opportunity to be the bastion of fairness and balance that we seek to be.
Zab Judah, the Brownsville bad boy, the excitable wild card who has been lashed for aiming to choke a ref, and instigating a scary midfight melee, proved himself to be a kinder, gentler, more mature version of self at the final press conference at Madison Square Garden prior to his Saturday bout with Miguel Cotto.
Here’s the deal: Judah did an interview Wednesday morning on a local NYC hip hop radio station, Hot 97. The show is called Miss Jones in the Morning, and it runs daily from 6AM-10 AM. Judah chatted about his WBA welterweight title bout against WBA champion Miguel Cotto, the Puerto Rican banger who is bidding to be elevated in the pound for pound mix (both in technical excellence, but also in profile and earning power). He chatted with the hostess, Tarsha Jones, and then some of the audience phoned in. The tone of the repartee took on a racial slant, with the Puerto Rican versus African American angle being played up.
At the press conference at MSG, Judah, who is trying to live down his year-ban at the hands of the Nevada State Athletic Commission for instigating a tenth round inter-camp/posse fracas during his April 8, 2006 bout with Floyd Mayweather, weighed in on the Miss Jones show scene. He made it abundantly clear that he sees his fight with Cotto not in racial terms, but as an athletic event, and a business proposition. There’s no need, Judah said, to go there. There’s no need to inject a race element into the promotion.
“At Hot 97, they got carried away,” said Judah, clad in shorts, backward ballcap and an Affliction sweatshirt. “People took it into a black, Spanish thing. I don’t want it to get into that. I’m from Brooklyn, I got plenty of Latino fans, got a lot of Puerto Rican fans. After Saturday, everything goes back to itself. And I’ll be the new champion.”
A public bravo goes to Judah from TSS for doing the right thing here, and not playing a race card that could stir up the proverbial pot and boost the number$.
Now, that’s not to say Judah, who turns 30 in October, has turned into an altar boy. In more typical, naughty fashion, he played amateur matchmaker—tsk, tsk—between his dad Yoel, and Cotto’s trainer, his uncle Evangelista. ‘Vangie had taken a verbal slap at Yoel, saying that he would give his remarks from the microphone, unlike Papa Judah, who blew off the amplifier.
“I do have to use the microphone,” ‘Vangie said, “because I don’t have a big mouth like Yoel does.”
Zab leapt to dad’s defense, saying, “My dad and Evangelista are the same weight, they should do something, my pop’s is in shape, anytime you want to do something.”
Progress is what we strive for, not perfection, right?
Judah also cracked on Cotto for being a “local fighter,” unknown outside the Latin community. “Ask the Chinese, ask in Dubai, ask about Judah, they know me,” he said.
“They got the right name for the promotion,” he said. “XPplosive. I PROMISE you I’m bringing fireworks.”
SPEEDBAG Arum liked Yoel Judah’s mike-less performance. “Nobody miss this fight, you’ll never forget it,” the Judah patriarch said. “OK, Yoel, that’s another 50,000 buys,” Arum said appreciatively.
-Judah’s promoter, Brian Young, gave a classy shoutout to his mentor, the late Dan Duva.