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  Khan KO’s Judah With Borderline Body Shot

By Roy & Marlene Marquez


Amir Khan unified the IBF and WBA junior welterweight titles when he stopped Zab Judah with a belt line body shot in the fifth. “I was hitting him in the face but the shot that put him down was clearly on his belt”, said Khan (26-1). “If it had gone a few more rounds I would have knocked him out with a clean shot. I saw he was getting hurt. It was only a matter of time.”

Khan’s preparation for Judah had gone without a hitch. Khan called his training camp “smooth”. Trainer Freddie Roach agreed, “We had a great camp. Ten weeks with no traveling; no jet lag.” Smooth right up to the moment the Khan camp received word banned boxing trainer Panama Lewis may be involved with Judah. The reported Lewis sighting unnerved Khan’s manager and perhaps Khan himself. “We’ve heard that this man has been around their camp,” said manager Asif Vali. “We are talking to the Nevada State Commission to make sure that, if this is true, he is not involved. He has no license and if he turns up on Saturday he won’t be allowed anywhere near the locker room or Judah’s corner. We have to protect Amir.”

Protecting Amir is a manager’s job. It’s a job shared by promoter, manager, trainer and boxer. And in Khan’s case it has been a job well done. Following the well chronicled knockout loss to Breidis Prescott in 2008, team Khan turned to Roach to shore up Khan’s deficiencies and restore his confidence. Roach has done both and more. Khan answered his critics when he stood up to and defeated hard hitting Marcos Maidana in the BWAA 2010 Fight of the Year. And now a revitalized Khan is looking for more. “I think everyone knows I’ve got a big task in front of me; I’ve got Zab Judah. My goals are to take the best out there and the likes of Floyd Mayweather one day.”

Zab Judah is a big task…or at least a big name. The four time world champion has been in the ring with greats Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto and Kostya Tszyu. And he has lost. He has tangled with rugged challengers Carlos Baldomir and Joshua Clottey. And he has lost. Against upper echelon fighters Judah has proven to be a front runner who comes up short in the big fights. But his lack of will doesn’t mean he is short on skill, speed and power. Judah is a slick southpaw who feasts on ordinary fighters. The question before Judah is whether Khan is closing in on great or is he is merely good?

Judah (41-7) moved well in the opener and for the most part proved difficult to hit. But moving well doesn’t win many rounds and Khan took the first. Khan’s lengthy jab troubled Judah, bloodying his nose early in the contest.

By round four it became apparent Judah was trying to counter Khan in hopes of landing one big shot. Through four his strategy was not working. Khan was picking Judah apart from the outside, busting him up with the jab and right hand. And when Khan closed the distance he did so behind fiery combinations that caused Judah to cover up and clinch.

Khan was dominating the fifth when he landed a body shot on the belt line that dropped Judah to his knees. Referee Vic Drakulich ruled the punch legal and began the count. Judah stayed on all fours and was counted out at 2:47 of the fifth. “When the ref was counting I thought he was giving me a standing eight count”, explained Judah. “I thought I would have the chance to get up.”

Tonight’s fight didn’t establish Khan’s greatness, but it clearly characterized Judah’s “Less than Super” legacy.

Undercard Results:

Middleweight contender Peter Quillin ran his perfect record to 25 wins without a loss when opponent Jason Lehoullier’s corner threw in the proverbial towel 1:38 into the fifth. Lehoullier, coming into the contest riding a five fight losing streak, offered little resistance. Quillin walked to and through Lehoullier (21-6-1) without fear of retaliation.

Prospect Gary Russell Jr. (17-0) whitewashed Eric Estrada (9-2) over eight featherweight rounds. Russell dominated Estrada but was unable to stop him despite the beat down. All three judges scored the bout 80-71.

Heavyweight Bryant Jennings (9-0) pounded out a six round victory over Theron Johnson (5-6-1). Two judges scored the bout 60-53 while the third had it 59-54 for Jennings in the one-sided affair.

James Kirkland (29-1) had an easy time of it with Alexis Hloros (15-4-2) in a scheduled eight round middleweight bout. Kirkland dropped Hloros twice in the first and secured the victory 25 seconds into the second winning by TKO.

Undefeated featherweight Ronny Rios (15-0) overwhelmed Noe Lopez Jr. (8-9) prompting referee Joe Cortez to call a halt to the bout at 1:12 of the first.

Josiah Judah (10-1-1) squeaked out a six round majority decision victory over fellow super middleweight Rafal Jastrzebski (4-7-1). Judge CJ Ross scored the fight a 57-57 draw, but was over ruled by judges Jerry Roth (58-56) and Ricardo Ocasio (59-55).

Jamie Kavanagh (8-0) defeated Mark Herrera (6-6-1) by scores of 59-54, 60-54 & 60-53 to win their six round lightweight bout.


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