Zab Judah is 34, but said we will see the old version of him, a 22 year-old version, on a teleconference Tuesday afternoon to hype the March 24 Zab Judah-Vernon Paris IBF title shot eliminator.
The winner gets a crack at the Amir Khan-Lamont Peterson winner. Those two engage in a rematch of their December 10 scrap, which saw Peterson take Khan 's WBA 140 pound crown, on May 19 in Las Vegas.
Judah (41-7 with 28 KOs; age 34) said that he is still being trained by Pernell Whitaker. He said his training has been going well, that he's training with young, undefeated pros. He said he's psyched to fight in Brooklyn, as this is the first time he's fought in Brooklyn, his home borough, as a pro. The last time was maybe for the Golden Gloves.
Judah said he still feels great, that he understands that some are upset at his last outing, a KO5 loss to Khan in Las vegas last summer. On March 24, we will see the "old" Zab Judah, he said. He said he didn't want to look back, and admitted there were some things that went wrong, but didn't want to specify. He did say that the Khan hiccup had more than a bit to do with taking a low blow. Replays showed the "low blow" to be borderline, it looked like to many, but Judah was the one who took the shot...
He said he takes a positive from that ending, because he could have gone ballistic when the fight was halted, but he didn't. That shows growth and patience, he said.
I asked him if he took offense at people who didn't think the shot was a true low blow. "Of course!" Judah said the commenters were not feeling what he felt in his nether region, just people making assumptions. "It kind of hurts your feelings..A body shot? C'mon! It was a bordlerline.. a low shot, it jammed the cup into my testicles. Yeah, it does bother me." He said everyone who knows him knows he has the heart of a lion, and it hurts a bit to be called soft.
Judah said Paris (26-0 with 15 KOs; age 24) showed his lack of character with his trash talking. "All he's got is memories," Paris has said of Judah, who he promised to KO. "I'm the future." He said he was once that way, too, prone to trash talk. He did a bit of that on the call, actually, saying the only thing that concerns him about Paris is whether or not he'll show up on fight night.
Judah said we should all remember that he was the man before the Khan fight, and that he thinks he's still that guy. "I'm feeling like I'm 22 years old again," he said. He said it's funny to be called "old" at 34. Bob Arum and Don King are "old," he said, and they are aces at their craft. He said he'll be fighting for the crown sometime in 2012.
He said this bout reminds him of where he was when he took the Lucas Matthysse fight; he's in against an undefeated young gun.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Judah bounces back. The fight unfolds at the Aviator complex in Brooklyn and will be shown on NBC's cable outlet, the NBC Sports Network.