You can be a changed man, a better man, outside the ring. You can be aided by the structure of the church, of a support system. You are the support system in the ring. In the ring, you are on an island, surround by snakes and spiders, and if the fangs and venom creeped you out before, chances are, that won't change. Usually, you are what you were.
He was supposed to be a changed man, a person who had found God, and found himself. Zab Judah, at 33, had matured and left his bad boy antics in Brooklyn, we've been told. That may all be so, but it can be argued that it's easier to change your stripes in the real world, than it is in the boxing ring.
At 2:47 of round five, Judah, who fired off a paltry 25 or so punches a round, was counted out from a borderline body shot from Amir Kahn in the main event which unfolded at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and on HBO, on Saturday evening. The low-ish blow was a right uppercut, on the belt, for the record.
Judah looked to be trying to play the punch off as a low blow, but the ref would have none of it, and counted to ten. Judah had looked like the old Judah, the one who didn't win the big ones, as Khan piled up a 61-20 edge in punches landed.
Khan said he got caught with a couple hard shots when talking to Max Kellerman after. He said if he took more risks, he maybe could've kayoed Zab early. Khan also said he thinks Tim Bradley is scared of him. Judah said he started slowly, but was getting untracked. He cited the head butt, said the fans around the world saw that the blow was clearly low, and thought the ref was giving him time to recover, not counting him out. "It's self explanatory baby," he said, indicating that the punch was obviously low, before remembering to be Godly.
Indeed it is self explanatory, sir...
The WBA junior welterweight champion Khan (from England; age 24; 25-1; 5-7) weighed 140 pounds on Friday, while the IBF champ Judah (from Brooklyn, lives in Las Vegas; age 33; 41-6 entering; 5-10) was also 140 on Friday. Vic Drakulich was the ref in a fight in which Khan came in a 4-1 favorite.
In the first, both men looked to establish the jab. There was a clash of heads, but no cut. Judah sought to land a counter left and hook. Khan was the busier man.
In the second, Amir was the aggressor. He pushed the action, though Judah did slip effectively much of the time. Judah had landed six punches in total after two, according to CompuBox.
In the third, Judah still wasn't being busy enough. Was he not able to figure out the timing to counter Khan? Trainer Pernell Whitaker told Zab to get busier, put some combos together, after the round.
In the fourth, we saw Zab duck and slip smartly, but neglect to come back with his own offense. Khan was in total control, and looked to be in prime form.
In the fifth, Judah picked it up some. He wanted to land uppercuts. Didn't happen. Zab's nose was bleeding. Judah went down, from what he indicated was a low blow, and was counted out.
Check back for David Avila's ringside report.
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SPEEDBAG Michael Buffer paid respect to promoter Butch Lewis, who helped guide Michael and Leon Spinks to professional prominence, and ex MGM executive Terry Lanni, who died on Saturday morning, and Thursday, respectively.
---Joe Calzaghe was present in the Khan entourage in the ring before the first bell.
---Viewers saw a snippet of 23-year-old featherweight Gary Russell's win over (Not The) Eric Estrada, and from what I saw, good golly, I'd very much like to see him fight a whole fight on HBO.