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  Embattled Zab “Super” Judah Scores Stunning Seventh Round TKO Victory Over Kaizer Mabuza, & Tarvis Simms Wins Unanimous Decision Over John Mackey

By Tim Donaldson
Photos: "Sugar" Ray Bailey

Coming into the ring, Zab Judah looked confident that he was going to win and take the vacant IBF Junior Welterweight Title. He ran from side to side of the ring as the music played, waiting for the introductions. Mabuza just looked on. Most in attendance at the AmeriHealth Pavilion were just as confident that Judah would walk away with the title. But after a few back and forth rounds and then Judah’s glove touching the canvas in the fourth and it being ruled a knock down, there were those who were already giving the fight to Mabuza. But the great thing about boxing is that a fight can be decided in twelve rounds or with a knockout. In this fight, Zab Judah made sure that he decided who won the fight, not the judges.

Judah threw the first punch of the fight, a jab to feel out his opponent. The round started slowly, both circling the ring and neither really committing. Toward the middle of the round, Mabuza was able to catch Judah off balance with a punch. Mabuza chased after him but never capitalized on the moment. The two went back to circling the ring. Toward the end of the round, Judah landed a combination.

As the second round started, Mabuza was unsuccessfully trying to cut the ring off. Judah just kept stepping around, and the two circled the ring several times. Judah came in and landed a combination to the body. Then he came back and landed a second combination to the body. Judah then moved just out of reach. Mabuza was throwing, but most were missing. But then Mabuza was able to get Judah up against the ropes. He landed a hard right hook to the body.

Mabuza was stepping up the pressure in the third round. Judah seemed to be doing a lot more moving in this round, trying to stay just out of reach. Early in the round, Mabuza caught Judah on the ropes, landed a few clean shots, and then somehow got himself tangled in the ropes. As the round progressed, Judah was landing the cleaner shots; however, he was throwing a lot less than Mabuza.

The fourth round started with a rally from Judah. He landed a series of shots to the head of Mabuza and quickly followed them up with a combination to the body. Mabuza was still trying to cut off the ring. He landed a combination to the head and body while Judah had his back to the ropes. Judah easily got out. Mabuza stalked him down. It was as Mabuza was throwing a punch and Judah was moving that Judah’s hand touched the canvas. Referee Samuel Viruet ruled it a knock down. Judah started to argue but quickly let it go.

Early in round five Judah landed a combination. Mabuza just kept coming in. This seemed to be Mabuza’s greatest defense. The more he pressured Judah, the less Judah landed. However, at one point, Judah landed a combination as Mabuza came in. Mabuza just kept swinging whenever he was close to Judah. But it was Judah who landed a clean series of punches at the bell. By round six, it appeared as though Judah was slowing down. He was still moving all around the ring, but he wasn’t throwing nearly enough punches. Mabuza was able to catch Judah on the ropes and land several combinations.

The seventh round started like the other rounds, with a quick start from Judah. In the first few seconds of the round, Judah knocked Mabuza to the canvas with a straight left. Mabuza survived the count. Judah rushed back in and never let Mabuza off the ropes. Mabuza was being hit by a flurry of punches. The only thing keeping him up at the end was the ropes. Referee Viruet stopped the fight :59 into the round. It could be said that it was those few punches that decided this fight, but that would not be entirely accurate. Although Judah might not have won every round, he kept his attack up on the body of Mabuza, slowly wearing him down. Mabuza, for his part, was trying to do the same thing. Zab Judah was just doing a better job. But maybe that is why they call him “Super.”

The co-feature was fought between Middleweights Tarvis Simms and John Mackey. Although Simms has only lost one fight in his career, he is not known for knocking out his opponents. He simply outboxes them. That is exactly what he did against Mackey. By the middle of the first round, Simms was controlling the action, but by the second round, neither fighter seemed to be able to control the action. In the third round, Simms, a southpaw, started the round throwing lefts to the body of Mackey. Mackey, however, just kept coming forward. Simms spent most of the round fighting while moving backward. Mackey landed a few hard shots to the body of Simms, but it was Simms who finished the round strong.

In the fourth, Simms was fighting against the ropes, but Mackey was never able to really use this to his advantage. Simms was landing to the head and body of Mackey. Mackey had a brief flurry while Simms was on the ropes. Again, it was Simms who finished the round strong, landing a series of shots to the head and body. The fifth started back and forth between the two. Then Simms staggered Mackey. Simms kept up his attack on the head and body of Mackey. By the end of the round, Mackey was throwing wild uppercuts, apparently hoping to catch Simms with a shot to put him on the canvas.

Mackey was starting to look tired in the sixth. It was another back and forth round. Simms was able to catch Mackey on the ropes, land a series of shots to the head and body. Mackey fought his way off the ropes, but the round clearly was taking a toll on him. In the seventh, Simms landed several left hooks to the body of Mackey. Simms was fighting methodically, just working the body of Mackey. Mackey was now the one fighting while backing up. Simms was able to put Mackey on the ropes several times. Mackey would get out, and Simms would put him back. Mackey’s punches were looking wild.

In the eighth and final round, Simms was chasing Mackey around the ring. Mackey’s shots were missing Simms. Simms knocked Mackey back several times. By the end of the round, Mackey was throwing wild hooks, apparently hoping to knock out Simms. All three judges scored the fight in favor of Simms.

The night began with Junior Middleweight Chris Crosby of Brooklyn winning by unanimous decision over Greg Hackett of Chester, PA.

Welterweight Vinny O’Brien of East Hanover, NJ won his pro debut with a TKO victory against David Navarro of Philadelphia. On the advice of the ringside physician, Referee Steve Smoger called a halt to the action after the third round.

Lightweight Shemuel Pagan of Brooklyn won by TKO in the first round in his fight against Marcos Garcia of Camden, NJ. Hand speed was the deciding factor in the fight.

Welterweight Jose Peralta, fighting out of Jersey City won by TKO also in the first round, defeating Clifford McPherson.

Welterweight Sadam Ali was supposed to fight on the card. However, his opponent pulled out of the fight because of health issues.


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