We hear Zab is listening to Sweatpea, not his father-trainer, and that bodes well for the newly-matured fighter comes Saturday.
I am not ready to put the kids' college fund on Zab Judah over Amir Khan this Saturday.
I know, I know, this is a brand new Zab. He's found God, and has his head on straight, and is a committed family man. I'm not trying to be a straight-on cynic, all that stuff is smashing storyline stuff, and I'm happy for him and his family.
But I'm a show me type of guy. Til proven otherwise, to me, Zab Judah has always been less than the sum of his parts. The hand speed, the footwork, all that upside hasn't presented itself often enough in the biggest of the big fights for me to be able to lean towards Judah over the Brit in Vegas.
He may be churchgoer of the month at his place of worship, and father of the year at his house, but until I see Judah (41-6 with 28 KOs; turns 34 in October) showing the same sort of strength of character in the ring as we've heard he's honed outside the ring in the last couple of years, well, I'll still likely go with the other guy in marquee fights involving Zab.
In step up fights, against Kostya Tszyu, Cory Spinks, Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey, Judah came out with an "L." Yes, he beat Cory Spinks in a rematch...but you recall how he lost to Carlos Baldomir in a stay-busy fight before the Mayweather gig.
Mentally, the kid hasn't been Klitschkoesque. He hasn't found ways to win, he's found, time and again, ways to lose. And until proven different, I foresee that happening again. History is always my GPS on these matters...
But, I talked to his promoter Kathy Duva at the tail end of the Vitali Klitschko-Tomasz Adamek HBO lunch yesterday. And Kathy was darned sure that her guy, Zab, would get the W on Saturday.
She told me she never advises people to bet the house, or even Monopoly money, on her fighter. She's been in boxing forever, she knows that's not prudent.
But she told me this is a different human being. She told me that he used to train a week for a fight, forget to eat, basically go into the ring with his God-given talent and not much else. But six weeks with Pernell Whitaker, his new trainer, after six weeks with Sweetpea before his last fight, a TKO win over Kaizer Mbuza, has left Duva feeling quite confident that Khan (25-1 with 17 KOs; age 24) will be upset come Saturday.
I'm not ready to pick against Khan, however. I saw regression in his last fight, against Paul McCloskey. And I don't care if McCloskey is "awkward" or what have you. I want a guy I saw getting into pound for pound top ten territory in May 2010 off balance and off message.
I'm seeing this fight as more of a pick 'em than I did. TSS Universe, what say you?
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV