I’m no policeman and I really have no intention of finding someone who could run a criminal background check on Zab Judah. But since the Brooklyn native began boxing the most vile thing I’ve seen him accomplish was an attempted choke-hold on referee Jay Nady after being knocked into the twigh light zone by a Kostya Tszyu right hand. Based on what Judah’s personal side has shown boxing, if I were Floyd Mayweather I wouldn’t be shaking in my boots at the thought of traveling to Brooklyn before my next fight.
Especially if I described my sparring session with Judah to Greg Leon as “easy work.”
Perhaps it was just Judah talking because of the exclusive interview Boxingtalk.com was able to get with Floyd Mayweather last week. Or maybe it’s two good friends trying to hype up a fight and pull one over the boxing audiences eye lids.
Whatever the case may be, Zab Judah should look at the history of the trash talk game. Some guys are good at it while others don’t have a clue as to how to produce the intense drama that comes with selling a big fight to an audience.
Judah proclaimed that if he sees Pretty Boy Floyd in New York he is going to go all out to put his career on hold or maybe even do enough damage to end it. This type of trash talk is taken right out of the books of Judah’s buddy Iron Mike Tyson, who once told boxing fans across the world that he would eat Lennox Lewis’ children.
The line failed to have any punch because Lewis had no children at the time.
And while Judah’s remarks seem fueled with rage and passion, it’s crazy for any fight fan to believe that Judah - if he sees Floyd in NY - would do any physical damage to Floyd Mayweather on purpose.
That goes for outside the ring as well as inside it.
This same Judah put his hands down and pleaded to the referee to stop his rematch with Cory Spinks when he saw Spinks rocked back against the ropes and in danger.
Afterwards Judah explained that he isn’t out to hurt anybody. Cory Spinks has a family and a life after boxing and death inside the ring as well as outside isn’t a joke to any fighter.
Judah understands this and it is because of his understanding that his recent trash talk is far from impressive.
Don’t think for a second that mastering the verbal art of warfare is an easy task. Fighters have come before Judah with less than imposing trash talk and there is sure to be many fighters in the future to follow in the footsteps.
Boxing is a sport that lives off of how much money can be made in the pay per-view industry. Fights that are going to cost the public 50 bucks that are obviously mismatches with no hype are going to hurt the industry.
Vitali Klitschko’s drubbing of Danny Williams is a prime example.
The public knew going into the fight that Klitschko was going to have a sparring session with Williams. Neither fighter talked any trash what so ever and the end result proved to be a boring pay per view that has cost HBO a lot of green paper.
Some fights that are mismatches can be saved if trash is talked correctly. Let us take Floyd Mayweather’s complete beat down of Arturo Gatti this past June. Most boxing experts knew Gatti stood no chance against the excellence of Mayweather. But Floyd and Gatti exchanged verbal jabs with each other in such a way that it was believable for either guy to win the fight.
The end result was a solid pay per view number for a fight that was as one sided as any fight has been in years.
Mayweather-Judah doesn’t need much trash talk to sell. It’s a big fight with a lot of consequences for both fighters pending a loss. With a loss Mayweather will have failed to become the first fighter to win a title in 4 divisions in under ten years. A loss for Judah will mark the second time he has lost to an elite fighter. Not to mention a smaller fighter.
Putting the pay per-view industry aside, I have compiled what I believe to be the keys in good trash talking. Hopefully Zab Judah takes some notes.
A) REALITY - Keep it real. No fighter is going to pull out his pistol and put a few holes in his opponents chest on the streets. No matter where you grow up. If you lose the basis of reality then it becomes a childish waste of air and adds nothing to the build up of a fight.
B) CLEAN - The instructions before a fight are “Keep it Clean” and that is the direction that any trash talker should take. It’s okay to swear a bit, but don’t drop the F bomb as if you are mad about a drug deal gone bad and looking to blast someone. It doesn’t matter if you were born into riches or born in a crack house, show some respectability or else it’s just noise and nobody’s gonna hear it.
C) LEVEL GROUND - It’s cool to get heated, but don’t pull a Ricardo Mayorga and talk about someone’s dead mother or someone’s ailing father - you get the picture. It should be made obvious that you must keep things on a level ground. No matter how brutal the sport is, fighters are human and that needs to be kept in mind.
Not all fighters will follow these tips and that’s fine. But any smart fighter-trash talker knows that you don’t have to act like a caged animal to get the results you’re looking for. But don’t take my word for it. Check out the history of the guys who had the most muscle in their mouth - start with Ali and work your way through - and you’ll see that there’s a fine line between good trash talk and simple nonsense.
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