This Saturday night on Showtime Championship Boxing, 140-pound unified titlist and Ring Magazine belt holder Danny “Swift” Garcia (25-0, 16 KO’s) of Philadelphia, PA will go at it with Brooklyn’s own former undisputed welterweight world champion Zab “Super” Judah (42-7, 29 KO’s). And when the bell rings inside New York’s Barclays Center for this featured unification bout, it’s hoped that the action in the ring will at least equal that of all the pre-fight drama.
With the originally scheduled date postponed due to Garcia suffering a rib injury, this has left plenty of time for that drama to build. Aside from a near physical altercation during the inaugural press conference, there has since been a police incident involving Judah and company in Los Angeles, a verbal showdown between Team’s Garcia and Judah at Modell’s Sporting Goods, as well as Zab reportedly being prevented by GBP from speaking in the presence of the Garcia’s at this past Thursday’s press event. This allegedly due to tension.
Of course a prime antagonist in most of this would be Danny’s animated father Angel, who seemingly spiteful has slung comments towards Zab ranging from provocative to insulting. But hardly one to take it, this has prompted Judah and his entourage to respond in kind and then some, especially considering Angel Garcia’s negativity always seems to descend into obscenity. And with what’s transpired already, I surmise a question or two has since arisen in the minds of many.
Specifically, will all of the antics that have taken place outside the ring make for a pitched battle inside of it? And if so, will this lead to Zab allowing his emotions to get the better of him as has happened in the past?
Whatever the scenario, that spewed from the mouth of papa Garcia, a man who seemingly goes out of his way to get under the competition’s skin, cannot entirely be dismissed. I mean the notion that 35-year-old veteran Zab Judah’s best days are behind him is certainly at issue.
Commented Angel Garcia at the opening press conference, “every time he [Judah] stepped it up he lost. When he fought Kostya Tszyu, that was his time. He didn't get nothing. He got clipped. That's okay though it happens. But the thing is, that was his time, his era. This is a new era.”
Further revealing his sentiments Angel would boldly continue on. “Zab, I give him credit. You’re gonna be work for Danny,” but “I say Zab goes down in four or five counting, cause Zab’s a four-round fighter.” A heated Judah would respond, “he's gotta fight, not you. I've been here since 16 years ago. I won more world titles,” and “got more knockouts than he got fuckin fights.”
With the Brooklyn fighter understandably offended, perhaps this is precisely what Angel Garcia is banking on, as it totally serves Team Garcia’s purposes to have Zab flustered, over emotional, and less than focused upon entering the ring so as to possibly self-destruct.
I mean papa Garcia is well aware that “Super” Judah hasn’t been so super in the biggest of fights. Too much bravado, too little humility, and a penchant for losing his cool have at the most inopportune moments plagued Zab over the years. But one would assume that as a consummate veteran Judah has overcome this drawback by now. However, only an assumption, there still exists the possibility that it could all resurface again this weekend, much to the challenger’s detriment.
Of course if Zab is able to maintain his composure, then this may be the first step in allowing us to see if he truly has anything left to offer at the elite level. All told however, if Booklynites are hoping their native son has what it takes to pull off what would be considered an upset over the young gun, they may be grasping at straws.
For despite Zab recently having some quality wins against both Lucas Matthysse and Kaizer Mabuza, to in the process capture two vacant titles, “Super” Judah was anything but against mutual opponent Amir Khan.
Arguably looking for a way out of the Khan fight, it seemed that the hand speed of Amir amongst other things had bothered Zab. This would cause him to visibly fold within five rounds, thus fulfilling one of Angel Garcia’s main assertions. This doesn’t bode so well for Judah in that Danny Garcia would himself definitively take Khan out in even shorter time to unify the division.
But if there’s a bright spot for Judah, it may come in the form of the Philly fighter perhaps being slightly overrated. With Garcia’s most notable wins coming against a soft jawed Amir Khan who slipped up of his own accord, as well as a faded Erik Morales who would resort to ingesting a banned substance, perhaps Zab can indeed find a way to exploit the champion’s perceived flaws.
“Swift” Garcia, though an exquisite catch and counter type with power, is wide on occasion in delivering certain of his blows, so that there exists a window of opportunity for the now Las Vegas based Judah. Am I saying that Zab has a chance? I am, but only the kind of chance that comes with landing an unexpected blow on an opponent asleep at the wheel. In other words this is Garcia’s fight to win or lose.
And with Danny looking to land his go-to punch, a big left hook, while Zab simultaneously attempts to set the champion up for a straight left or left uppercut, things may boil down to who can land what first. But like the odds makers I favor Garcia here. Reflex wise Danny’s are perhaps much sharper, while it’s much more difficult to see Judah having more than momentary success, especially considering his chin may prove vulnerable.
Nevertheless, Zab will have the backing of many a hometown fan in what is now a four-man tournament at junior welterweight, with the winner of Saturday’s bout to face off with either Lucas Matthysse or Lamont Peterson who are scheduled to clash on May 18th for the IBF title. In turn this is to produce an undisputed junior welterweight champion, a most noble aspiration.
But as boxing continues on, so continue the ironies that have plagued the sport. That’s to say the last man standing in all this may very well have to contend with Amir Khan, assuming Khan gets by Julio Diaz this Saturday night in Sheffield, England.
And therein lies the discrepancy. Amongst the four men vying for titles and the right to be crowned the division’s undisputed champion, they’re all ranked at or near the top, whereas the number 2 ranked Khan who holds no such title, is to face off with an opponent nowhere to be found in any sanctioning organization’s top 15. Not the first, and not the last, but yet another sad commentary that cuts through what remains of boxing’s integrity.
Catch all the action beginning live at 9pm ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) as Danny “Swift” Garcia goes at it with Zab “Super” Judah in a scheduled 12-round bout for Garcia's WBA, WBC, and Ring Magazine belts, while in a co-main event just as intriguing if no more so, undefeated WBO middleweight world champion Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin (28-0, 20 KO’s) of Brooklyn, NY will put his title on the line against hard-hitting Dominican and upset minded Fernando Guerrero (25-1, 19 KO’s) out of Salisbury, Maryland.