Amir Khan vs Zab Judah: 3 Reasons to Be Excited for This Fight
In the past decade, the general consensus opinion of the masses has been that the sport of boxing has begun a swift decline into irrelevance. Many have blamed this decline on a shift from a sport of brawlers and haymakers to slick boxers and technicians.
The validity of those opinions can be debated, but what's clear is that those in favor of action, risk taking and heavy punches will be reward on Saturday as WBA Junior Welterweight Champion Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KO's) will battle veteran IBF Junior Welterweight Champion Zab Judah (41-6, 28 KO's).
Amir Khan and Zab Judah don't carry the marquee names that some of the summer's past matchups have included (Klitschko vs. Haye, Hopkins vs Pascal etc.) but what Judah and Khan lack in Q-rating, they are assured to make up in pedigree, skill and action.
One of the fastest rising stars in the sport, 24-year-old Amir Khan, is knocking at the door of a mega-fight. A win over a well respected veteran such as Judah would almost assure it.
But unlike many of the aging stars we've seen recently Judah, 33, has shown little signs of aging and represented himself well in a recent fight against strong opponent, just ask Devon Alexander, Lucas Matthysee.
In a fight that could be one of the best of 2011 here are three reasons to watch Khan vs. Judah.
3. A Chance to See One of the Top Pound for Pound Fighters in Action
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In a boxing climate where the top fighters seem to fight only once or twice a year (or in the case of some, every leap year), it has become a rarefied occasion to catch one of the world's best fighters in action.
Generally ranked as one of the top 13 fighters in the world and ranking as high as No. 8 in the all important Bobby Bonner pound for pound charts, Khan has already proven himself as one of the brightest stars in the sport.
Blessed with size, speed and talent, Khan has run off an impressive streak since the only loss of his career with dominate performances against legend Marco Antonio Barrera, Andriy Kotelnyk, Paulie Malignaggi and the "Fight of the Year" epic over Marcos Maidana.
Paired with top trainer, Freddie Roach, Khan has reportedly looked stronger after a new intense training program, which has integrated long runs through sand, work in the pool and sparring with none other than Manny Pacquiao.
Only 24 years old, we may be watching the beginning of a long run of Khan dominance.
2. The Drama Which Is Zab Judah
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Watching a Zab Judah event is like some weird mixture of HBO classics Legendary Nights, Oz and the always hilarious and profanity filled Def Comedy Jam.
For a fighter with as much natural talent and skill as any of his generation, Judah, while always facing and fighting the best, has yet to beat elite competition.
While Judah has constantly championed his resume throughout the build up of the fight, Amir Khan has made a simple rebuttal of stating "whenever (Judah) moves up in class, he always gets beat."
It would be hard pressed to argue with Khan as Judah has fought three elite fighters in his career, losing each time to Kostya Tszyu, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto.
But to characterize Judah as not capable of beating elite level fighters, as Khan has, is too blindsided and inaccurate.
What has plagued Judah throughout his career has also made him so entertaining.
In each and every Zab Judah event there is usually the repeated occurrence of three things—Zab Judah using his speed, power and boxing ability to beat his opponent to the punch and in the scorecards, then in between rounds the "thank God this is HBO" instructions from Judah's father Yoel—and if you are truly lucky, an Oz-type prison brawl in the ring.
What the boxing community has always wondered is, if Judah were to get rid of all the distractions and rid himself of the demons that have plagued him in the past, what type of finished product would we have?
In preparation of his last shot at boxing glory, Judah seems primed to show us what he can truly be as he took the important step of removing his father from his corner and bringing in Hall of Famer Pernell Whitaker.
At the age of 33, Zab Judah might have finally figured things out.
If not, things could get even more interesting.
1. The Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather Jr. Effect
When it comes down to it, doesn't everything in boxing revolve around Mayweather and Pacquiao?
Possibly the greatest sell of Khan vs. Judah is the high possibility that the winner of this fight may face Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao.
Khan, who has viewed this upcoming fight as a launching pad to bigger and better things, has not held back his ambitions of fighting either pound for pound king in the near future.
"I've always said I want to fight the best," Judah has said. "It's a great time to have these fights and then fight Floyd Mayweather. I know I've got the skills. I'm sure we can do it, and I'll be happy to go up to welterweight."
One would have to assume that if Khan can not get a deal with Mayweather, that the next dream fight would be a match up with fellow Freddie Roach stablemate, Manny Pacquiao.
In the event that Judah should upset Khan, Judah would get the second chance at boxing's highest level that has evaded him since his 2007 loss to Miguel Cotto.
A battle of lefties with Pacquiao would make sense, while the door would be opened to a rematch with Mayweather.
In either case, much of the boxing landscape will depend on this fight.
That always seems to make for great fights.