ESPN.com is reporting that Amir Khan and Zab Judah have reached agreement for a fight on July 23 in Las Vegas, ending a search for an opponent for Kahn that has stretched over the past couple of weeks.
The July 23 date for a Khan fight had been settled on several weeks ago. At the time, the assumption was that the fight would be a unification tilt against Tim Bradley. That fight fell apart recently when Bradley reportedly refused a 50/50 split of all money (including UK TV).
Bradley's refusal, especially in light of his oft-repeated desire to unify the 140 pound titles, was a surprise to many observers. Bradley has not been a strong performer at the box office so turning down a minimum of $1.4 million may have been a poor business decision. Only time will tell for Bradley.
After the Bradley deal fell apart, the Khan team began casting about for an opponent. Erik Morales, on the heels of his determined effort against Maidana in April, may have been offered the fight. If it was offered, as has been suggested by a couple of writers, it was rejected by Morales.
Zab Judah, who took the IBF version of the 140 pound title in a win over Kaizer Mabuza in March, provides Khan with a recognizable name as an opponent in July. It remains to be seen if Judah will bring more than a name into the ring, though.
While he has appeared strong since dropping back to 140 in his last two fights, Judah is 33 years old and appeared to be in decline with four losses in six official fights between 2006 and mid-2008. Admittedly, those losses included Mayweather, Cotto and Clottey at welterweight and above but, after his loss to Clottey in August 2008, many felt Judah's time as a top level fighter was over.
Judah's win against the previously unbeaten Lucas Matthysse last November re-ignited interest in the Brooklyn-born fighter. His title win against Mabuza adds both an incentive for Khan and a legitimacy to the fight.
This has the potential to be an interesting fight. Kahn and Judah will both come to fight and neither is a stranger to the canvas. Khan is fighting to put another quality name on his resume while Judah is fighting to become a legitimate factor—once again—in the weight class.
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