On Tuesday afternoon, the Zab Judah and Don King conference call took place for the upcoming “Sworn Enemies” mega-fight. Only one problem: Judah was not present. Apparently Zab did not want to interrupt his rigorous training. His father and trainer Yoel was there in his place. Hmm... Zab Judah purposely avoiding a great opportunity to speak his mind and get his time in with the media? Could it be that after barely training for his last fight, a loss to Carlos Baldomir, that signs look positive in the Judah camp at Deerfield Beach, Florida? Certainly Yoel Judah and Don King exuded confident vibes.
Regarding his current training regimen Yoel said that he merely has to try to contain his son. “He just goes and goes and goes.” When asked about what Zab was doing special to prepare for Mayweather’s speed, Yoel shrugged off the question. He thinks that Floyd should be doing the special preparation, “Floyd ain’t got the quickest hands.” Bold? Yes. Confident? Certainly. A potential oversight that leads to the unraveling, once and for all, of Zab Judah as an elite fighter? Not if you ask Don King.
King said Zab appears even “more focused than for Spinks.” (He lost to Cory Spinks but came back to KO Spinks in the rematch). King says the ability, athleticism and talent has always been there for Zab. Rather its “the attitude... the will to win... that you haven’t seen in a long time.” Well, we’ve heard that before. Last time I remember hearing that, was before his extremely disappointing and uninspired decision loss to Baldomir, in front of his hometown fans in Madison Square Garden. King seems to think that loss was a blessing in disguise, although Judah’s bank account probably would not agree. “The Baldomir fight brought sobriety back to Zab... it humiliated him.” King went on to say that Zab has to, “do what he does best which is knock people out.”
Yoel seemed to simply want to leave the past in the past and he refused to make excuses for his son’s poor performance that evening. “There was nothing. Nothing... nothing in New York, nothing with the promoter,” said the father, trying to smooth over his son’s controversial remarks blaming King for the loss on the Showtime broadcast.
Also brought up during the conversation was the much talked-of Mayweather/Judah sparring session of several years ago. Yoel wanted to leave that incident in the past as well. When asked about it, he seemed to become very agitated and blurted out, “Whatever Floyd said, is what happened.”
Team Judah certainly wants to leave the past behind, but they were more than happy to look a few weeks into the future and make some very bold and entertaining predictions. King commented, repeatedly, that he “would be surprised if Zab didn’t destroy Floyd Mayweather.” He went on to say that the fight would win fight of the year honors and that it would “be another victory for me over Bob Arum,” a shot at his long-time rival promoter whom he is co-promoting with for the first time since 1999. It’s not clear which King relishes more- Zab beating Mayweather, recognized as best fighter in the world, or landing a few jabs of his own on Arum.
Its clear what Yoel and Zab prefer, as the whole world knows they desperately need a win to remain on the A level. Still, Yoel decided to enlighten us just in case we didn’t realize what is at stake. He emphatically warned the viewing public that come April 8, 2006, “don’t blink. [Floyd,] you have a big a mouth! We’re gonna shut it!” For Yoel the eventual knockout blow dealt by Zab is inevitable. “You can’t stop it, it’s like Katrina... it’s coming. You watch.”
Despite the warnings of impending knockouts and a fight card entitled “Sworn Enemies”, Yoel still believes that there isn’t any genuine hatred between the two fighters. “When you push our buttons, you got problems.” Certainly Mayweather has done his best to push Zab’s buttons, commonly referring to him as “Super Glass Jaw” Judah and bragging about their sparring sessions.
Whether or not that will actually lead to him having problems, we will all have to wait until April 8, 2006. Mayweather is rightfully the obvious favorite. With Zab avoiding the media to train, and no refutation from his camp of the Mayweather claim that Zab was “easy work” in sparring, there are some factors to consider. Looks like two weeks before the fight, the scorecard is even, 1-1. But then again, with both sides predicting either a knockout or a stoppage, we should be able to throw those scorecards away today.