After a 20-month absence it has been announced that Zab “Super” Judah will return to the ring in September. The former World champion at both super-lightweight and welterweight has teamed up with promoter Greg Cohen.
The popular Brooklyn, New York boxer has had a long and distinguished career having fought some of the premier names in the sport like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Kostya Tszyu, Cory Spinks, Miguel Cotto and Lucas Martin Matthysse.
He turned professional in September, 1996 beating Michael Johnson in a welterweight contest. That card at the James Knight Convention Center, Miami, Florida also featured David Tua, Pernell Whitaker, Joel Casamayor and Randall Bailey. An 18-year-old Judah won his debut with a second round KO, showing the power that would stay with him through-out his career.
“Super” won his first nineteen fights, including wins over Mickey Ward and Daryl Tyson. In his twentieth bout he captured his first World title, beating Wilfredo Negron for the ‘interim’ IBF World super lightweight title. Three fights later, he made the belt his own by knocking out Jan Piet Bergman in four rounds. He successfully defended it five times beating the likes of Junior Witter, Terron Millett and Allan Vester before losing in a unification fight to Kostya Tszyu in 2001.
Southpaw Zab bounced back two years later to win the WBO version against DeMarcus Corley, defending it once before moving up to unsuccessfully challenge Cory Spinks for his WBC, WBA and IBF Welterweight belts. A year later, he would gain revenge and take all those belts via a ninth round stoppage. One defence followed before losing the title in a surprising upset to Carlos Baldomir and then a defeat to superstar Floyd Mayweather Jnr.
World title shots came but Judah was defeated by Miguel Cotto (2007) and Joshua Clottey (2008) and it looked like his best days were over. Then, in November 2010, he took the undefeated record of big punching Argentine, Lucas Martin Matthysse on a split decision. He followed that up by beating South African Kaizer Mabuza for the vacant IBF World super lightweight title. Judah then met Amir Khan, in a WBA/IBF unification fight but was stopped by a devastating body-shot in the fifth round.
His last three fights saw him upset prospect Vernon Paris but drop decisions to Danny Garcia and Paulie Malignaggi.
With a record of 42-9, 29 Kos, the resident of Las Vegas will return to the division that gave him the most success – Super Lightweight. No opponent has been announced and it’s unlikely to be too tough an assignment, as he’ll need to shake off ring rust. It will be a televised return and is likely to lead to Judah getting a higher profile fight by early next year.
Promoter Greg Cohen shared his thought’s on teaming up with Zab and Judah’s Super Judah Promotions.
“I am overjoyed to be adding a superstar of Zab’s caliber to my promotional roster,” said Greg Cohen. “Zab has been in with every great fighter of this era and beaten many of them. He is a Brooklyn boxing legend and still a force to be reckoned with at 140 lbs.”
“Super Judah Promotions is looking forward to working with such a reputable and time-tested promoter in Greg Cohen and the Greg Cohen Promotions team, said Bill Halkias, Vice President of Super Judah Promotions. “Zab is physically and mentally stronger than I have ever seen him. He wants to win a sixth world title for his fans. They won’t be disappointed.”
“We will feature Zab on our Championship Boxing series and keep him active,” continued Cohen. “He still has the speed and reflexes of a top fighter and after a few comeback appearances, he will be ready for another assault on the current kings of the division.”
The Super Lightweight division has just seen the departure of WBA champion Danny Garcia, who has moved up to welterweight. 48-0 Argentine Cesar Cuenca recently won the IBF version, in Macau, against Ik Yang. While old foe Lucas Matthysse, will battle undefeated Ukrainian Viktor Postol for the vacant WBC strap. American Terrence Crawford, who is seen as a future P4P star, holds the WBO title. Much maligned Adrien Broner, has been rumoured to be fighting tough and dangerous Russian Ruslan Provodnikov, possibly with the newly vacated WBA belt up for grabs.
Zab Judah will be aiming to regain a portion of the World title though at 37-years-old and in his nineteenth year as a pro, he is going to have his work cut-out for him, in a division that has plenty of solid boxers standing in his way. I’m sure with his name appeal, he’ll get a shot – winning it is another matter.