Amir Khan vs. Zab Judah: 10 Reasons to Watch This Fight
A few days ago, various sources reported that WBA world junior welterweight champion Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KO's) and IBF world junior welterweight champion Zab Judah (41-6, 28 KO's) will lock horns in a unification match on July 23 2011.
Many expected and wanted Khan to face the number one rated junior welterweight and WBC and WBO titlist Timothy Bradley (27-0, 11 KO's), but Bradley has declined.
Thirty-three-year-old Judah is a man of experience who has dazzled in the ring for many years against some of the best showing his entertainment value even in defeat.
Twenty-four-year-old Khan has bounced back from an incredible first-round knockout loss at the hands of Breidis Prescott (24-2, 19 KO's) less than three years ago.
Khan's trail of victims in his comeback trail so far include Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera (67-7, 44 KO's), New York hero Paulie Malignaggi (29-4, six KO's) and hard punching Marcos Maidana (30-2, 27 KO's).
Judah's has beaten the likes of Cory Spinks and Mickey Ward and suffered noble losses to the likes of Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Your interests may be peaked with all that information, but here's 10 more reasons you might want to see this fight.
10. Judah's Meltdowns
Judah is a great fighter with a horribly persistent and aggravating nemesis...himself.
Judah has meltdowns like a Japanese nuclear reactor. During his supposed "tune-up" against Carlos Baldomir (45-12-6, 14 KO's) before getting the biggest money-making match of his career against Floyd Mayweather, Judah lost his focus.
Baldommir was able to wobble Judah in round seven and hurt him on several occasions.
Judah lost by unanimous decision and would lose much of the money he was going to get paid to face Mayweather.
During the Mayweather fight, Mayweather had begun to figure out Judah and dominate the fight. Judah hit Mayweather in the back of the head and then lowblowed.
This started a riot in the middle of the ring when both corners rushed the inside to fight each other.
Order was eventually restored, but Judah's reputation wasn't...until now. Judah hasn't had such meltdowns in at least three years.
If Judah truly is different now, he may never have another one. But if he does decide to meltdown, it will certainly make the fight interesting.
9. Khan's Chin
If one thing still isn't clear, it's how stable is Khan's chin?
Ever since his first and only first round knockout loss to Prescott nearly three years ago, boxing fans have questioned Khan's ability to take a punch.
He helped answer those questions last December when he took on hard-punching Marcos Maidana.
He started taking heavy shots in the final three rounds, but was able to backpedal out of danger to survive to pick up a unanimous decision victory.
Despite Khan's survival of the Maidana onslaught, some believe that if Maidana had caught Khan earlier in the fight and kept the pressure similar to what he did in the final three rounds, Khan wouldn't have survived to see round 12.
With someone like Judah who has power, intelligence and speed, one must wonder if Khan's chin is in for the biggest test of its boxing career.
8. Youth vs Experience
Everyone likes the classic battle of the rugged veteran and the new kid on the block. Khan is obviously the flashy new British kid on the American block, and Judah is the American that used to run the block.
Now they are set to face each other to see who's more deserving.
Does Judah still own the block, or is Khan the new rightful owner?
Khan's got speed, reach and plenty power.
Judah's got speed, power and a lot of experience, but will his 33-year-old body cooperate fully enough for him to use his experience?
Twenty-four-year-old Khan doesn't have to worry about what his body will do or won't do as much as the older Judah will have to.
7. Freddie Roach vs Pernell Whitaker
Freddie Roach is a great legendary trainer who has helped the likes of Manny Pacquiao and now Amir Khan become world champions.
Pernell Whitaker is known as one of the smartest boxers of all time and now retired legendary boxer trains someone with a similar style, Zab Judah.
Judah had reflexes and slickness like Whitaker, and now thanks to their recent coming together, Judah has seemed more focus than ever before.
Can this perfect peaceful union of Judah and Whitaker last?
Will Roach's great deductive skills form the perfect plan to beat the dynamic duo?
Fans watching Khan vs Judah will be looking to answer these two questions.
6. Mayweather or Pacquiao Could Be Next
Khan and Judah are at the top of their class.
Only a select few are above them, so whoever wins between the two may join that select few.
Khan has chased a fight with Mayweather for nearly a year.
Judah has thrown his name into the Pacquiao sweepstakes.
Should Judah beat Khan, Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum may be looking to lock Judah in as their next opponent in the ring.
Should Khan win, Mayweather may finally be lured into a fight with Khan.
Having Judah as a common foe may bring interests into a Mayweather-Khan fight...if Khan wins.
5. Both Men Are Crowd-Pleasers
Khan had arguably the fight of the year in 2010 when he faced Marcos Maidana.
Judah had a possible fight of the year candidate against Miguel Cotto in 2007.
Judah puts on a show even when losing against the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Kostya Tzyu.
Khan's only loss came by knockout.
This means that even when losing, these guys don't know how to not give the crowd what they want.
Both men come to fight and both men have a lot of lose and a lot to gain, meaning there will be no giving up. This will be a 100 percent battle from beginning to ending.
4. Timothy Bradley Is Likely the Next Target
HBO originally wanted Timothy Bradley vs Amir Khan. Bradley told them no.
It's been said that Gary Shaw, Bradley's current promoter, hasn't gotten him far enough.
His contract with Bradley runs out on June 30.
If Bradley waits, he gets to become a free agent and sign elsewhere.
That unfortunately meant Khan would have to settle for another opponent, who fortunately turned out to be Judah.
Bradley will likely have a new promoter signed and ready by the time Khan and Judah face one another this July, meaning a December/November showdown with the winner is highly plausible.
Then the junior welterweight division will have ONE UNIFIED WORLD CHAMPION.
3. Another PPV-Less Blockbuster
No more 24/7 to big over-priced PPV (pay-per-view) for this fight.
This fight will air on HBO at no extra charge (You still need an HBO subscription.).
HBO just got through showing an excellent fight this past April, when Victor Ortiz faced Andre Berto in a likely fight of the year (and maybe upset of the year) candidate. The fight was free to all HBO subscribers and brought pugilistic joy to all who saw it.
The Khan-Judah fight looks to do the same, following HBO's latest trend of putting on blockbuster fights without the usual blockbuster price.
The $49.99-$59.99 fans pay for duds like Pacquiao-Mosley can be kept for wings and beer to enjoy this fight with a peace of mind knowing you didn't have to trade gas money to watch a big fight.
2. Islamic Fighter vs Former Jewish Christian Fighter
Boxing has had a long history of Islamic boxers.
The two most popular boxers of all time are Islamic: Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali.
Amir Khan is the latest hotshot boxer who is of Islamic faith.
Zab Judah was of the unorthodox religion of Judaism.
He himself was a born into a family of Black Hebrew Israelites. He later abandoned this faith to become a Christian.
Whatever pre-fight documentary HBO may air will likely highlight this subject.
In the post-fight interview, this subject will be brought up likely by way of praise their respective higher authorities.
Internet forums and comment sections have already become filled with racial anti-semitic and anti-Islamic messages toward these two men.
Some call Khan a "terrorist" simply because he is of Pakistani descent.
Some call Judah a fake Christian or a fake Jew, simply for his sometimes controversial in-ring antics and behavior of the past.
Some believe religion is what helps each of these boxers become better each day.
Many opinions on the matter stimulate much online debate, prompting many who normally wouldn't to become interested in an already interesting fight.
1. Whose Comeback Will End?
For those of you keeping score, Judah's last loss was in August of 2008 to Joshua Clottey by technical decision.
Khan's last and only loss was September of 2008 by way of knockout to Bredis Prescott.
Both men are nearly three years separate from their previous loss, but either man could wind up with a new loss to accompany the old one from which they are now recovering.
Khan, though improved, still seeks to dust off remnants of his old loss.
Judah still seeks to be rid of his former string of rotten performances between 2006 and 2008 that led to his downfall.
Either man losing will ultimately beset everything they've strived to overcome these past three years.
Boxing is a beautiful sport, but it is also unforgiving.
Khan losing to Judah signifies that maybe Khan isn't ready for the elite big-money veterans like Mayweather or Cotto.
Judah losing would prove he's only a glorified gatekeeper for legendary or possible legendary fighters. Maybe he himself is not one.
No matter who loses, a lot will be sacrificed from the loser's status in order to exalt the victor.
As mush as everyone is excited to watch someone rise, fans morbidly just as much want to watch someone fall.
And they will on July 23, 2011 on HBO.