Looks like the addition of Whitaker paid heavy dividends for Judah, who has put his personal and professional life on track, and is to be commended.Zab Judah was looking to win rounds with superior defense at the AmeriHealth Pavilion at Prudential center in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday night. It looked like he might've been trying to channel new trainer Pernell Whitaker a bit much, and forgetting to work combinations. But no, Judah, now a wily vet, knows what he's doing. He didn't neglect the offense; a counter left, short, sweet, and vicious, in round seven over a lazy right hurt Kaizer Mabuza badly, and Judah made sure to finish off the South African, who was beyond buzzed after a mandatory eight count.
The time of the finish was 59 seconds into the seventh. Judah gushed profusely about God after the win, promising to celebrate at Mass on Sunday.
The vacant IBF 140 pound title was up for grabs.
Judah (age 33; from Brooklyn; 40-6 with 27 KOs entering; three time champion; IBF No. 2) was 138 pounds, Mabuza (age 31; from South Africa; 23-6-3 with 14 KOs entering; coming off a win over Kendall Holt; IBF No. 1) weighed 139 pounds on Friday.
In the first, Judah came out looking like he absorbed a few Pernell Whitaker tricks. Sweetpea, now aboard after Eddie Mustafa Muhammad was let go, told Judah he liked his work in the first. dad Yoel Judah stood on the apron, letting Whitaker be the main voice in the corner.
In the second, Mabuza came forward, looking to be the aggressor, but he was a step or two behind the jabbing Judah.
In the third, Judah kept on making sure he didn't get hit, first and foremost but later in the round let the gap close and set down harder on some shots. Mabuza had some luck going to the body.
In the fourth, Judah moved more than in the third. Mabuza looked a little flummoxed at times trying to find him, but did land a sharp right two minutes in, and then scored a knockdown when Zab's glove touched the mat. A right hand behind the head did the damage. Judah protested heatedly.
In the fifth, Zab kept on moving, mostly to his right, making Mabuza really reach with his power right. His hook was a wild one, too telegraphed to touch Judah. Judah was dipping lower, a la Whitaker, to make the South African miss, every now and again.
In the sixth, Zab was trying to win almost purely with D. A right buckled Zab with 50 seconds to go. His offense was way too MIA, and he lost the round.
In the seventh, a left counter hurt Mabuza badly. He had a mandatory eight but was woozy. Judah hopped on him, and finished him off.
Tarvis Simms went a step further on the comeback trail, taking a UD8 from most useful vet John Mackey, whop dropped to 13-6. Simms is the "bigger" of the Simms twins; bro Travis held a 154 pound crown briefly. Tarvis had been at 168, stunk out the joint against Allan Green in Oct. 2009, took more than a year off, and has wisely dropped to a class which fits his 5-9 frame. Simms is world class, and should have no trouble getting a title crack soon.
He didn't look 39. His stamina was above average, he kept his hands moving the whole time, and he may get that title shot that his twin bro enjoyed, late in the game. The scores were, 78-74, 79-73, 80-72, for Simms, now 27-1.
Mike Tyson chatted with Tony Paige and Jameel McCline right before the Judah bout. "I can't believe I did this for a living," he said, chuckling, when Paige asked him about his friend Zab Judah's chances against Mabuza. Tyson said he learns serenity from his pigeons, which will be featured on his new reality show, which runs tonight on Animal Planet. He also said that Tomasz Adamek needs to move his head more if he's to have a chance against a Klitschko. He said he doesn't see anyone in the US on the horizon ready to usurp the Klitschkos. He sounded grounded, saying he simply lives in the present, realizing he can't do anything to change his past. He'll enter the Hall of Fame in June, for the record.
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Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?