Thoughts on Judah-Mayweather debacle
Appeal Sports Writer
After watching Saturday’s pay-per-view debacle between “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather and “Super” Zab Judah, I was left with a plethora of pugilistic pontifications, some of which I’ll share with you today:
• Judah may be a 28-year-old man who also happens to have children, but he acts like an 8-year-old child who just doesn’t get it. Life is not a gansta rap video. It is life, not Thug Life.
Judah was getting his shaved dome (and shaved eyebrows) handed to him by Mayweather in the 10th round. Not one inclined to show honor and go out the best way he could, Judah pulled a Mike Tyson and decided to break the rules and intentionally punched Mayweather in the privates and then in the back of the head.
People can say what they want, but the battered Judah was looking for the easy way out – a disqualification – rather than lose his street cred to someone nicknamed “Pretty Boy.”
• Here’s the sick part: No matter how well – or how poorly – the fight did on PPV, even more boxing “fans” will gleefully pay to buy the rematch than the first one.
Future injuries aside and assuming Judah is not suspended for a year or more, I’ll put out a standing bet for the first dissenter to e-mail me who believes there won’t be a rematch.
I’ll gladly pay for a PPV of the dissenter’s choosing if this fight doesn’t happen by May 2, 2007. If the rematch does happen, the dissenter must pay me for the Mayweather-Judah II PPV. You have my e-mail address. Use it.
• Why am I so sure a rematch will happen? Because controversy sells. Why else were people clamoring for Tyson-Evander Holyfield III. Holyfield took apart Tyson in 11 rounds the first time and was on his way to doing it again the second time around when Mills Lane DQ’d Tyson for biting off a chunk of Holyfield’s ear.
The only difference here is the ear. History has proved time and again controversy and sensationalism lure consumers like successful PGA golfers lure trophy wives.
• Boxing has been better to Judah than he has been to the sport. Boxing has enabled Judah to buy a yellow Lamborghini and a mouthful of diamond-studded teeth (no misprint). And while Judah can afford to buy a posse that follows him around wearing gangsta bandanas around their faces (to signify they are killas and they have their playa’s back) and feed his family, there will always be one thing he can not buy: class.
• Before moving on to what kind of punishment the Nevada State Athletic Commission will mete out to the various participants in Saturday’s melee in 10 a.m. hearing in Las Vegas tomorrow, let’s just take a look at Judah a moment longer.
The man just doesn’t learn. Judah was fined $75,000 and suspended for six months by the NSAC in late-November 2001 for his actions in the ring during his knockout loss to Kostya Tszyu earlier that month.
If you will recall, the 5-foot-7 Judah attacked 6-4 referee (and former University of Nevada boxer) Jay Nady for stopping the fight after Tszyu knocked Judah down and onto queer street. Judah attempted to choke Nady and then threw a stool in his direction.
Judah didn’t merely break the boxing rules by attempting to injure Mayweather with a low blow and rabbit punch (which, when landed correctly, can paralyze a person by injuring the spinal cord). He also circled around and struck from behind with another rabbit punch Floyd’s uncle Roger Mayweather, who had illegally entered the ring to protest Judah’s fouls.
Like Tyson, Judah is living proof that you can take the man out of the street, but you can’t take the street out of the man.
• The NSAC wouldn’t be out of line to hit Judah with a heavy suspension and fine and permanently bar him boxing in Nevada. Nevermind three strikes and all of that noise. This is boxing, not baseball. Judah doesn’t learn. Barring him from fighting in Nevada, suspending him for a minimum of two years and taking his money is all this wannabe street thug will understand.
• Of course Roger Mayweather was wrong for entering the ring and referee Richard Steele would have been perfectly right to disqualify Mayweather for his uncle’s actions. But Roger – contrary to what benighted HBO commentator Jim Lampley implied – did not attempt to strangle or punch either Zab or his father/trainer Yoel Judah.
Roger should have to pay a fine, but he was the one who got sucker-punched by former kickboxing champ Yoel and rabbit-punched by Zab. He had every right to defend himself.
• And credit to Floyd, who didn’t attempt to join the in-ring fracas, retaliate later in the fight or talk smack about Judah after the fight. Floyd has had his share of run-ins with the law (for smacking around women and hitting a bouncer over the head with a champagne bottle), but his non-actions in Saturday’s circus speak volumes about him. Here’s hoping he has turned over a new leaf.
• And now we get to Yoel. No wonder Zab is so screwed up. Talk about a man not acting his age. Yoel has to be pushing 50 and here he is copping Sunday punches on a guy during a televised event.
While it’s not Yoel’s job to make sure his son doesn’t cut himself while shaving his eyebrows or bite his lip with his diamond-sharp teeth or for that matter playing pinball with Pretty Boy’s privates, he is responsible for his own asinine actions.
Yoel is a natural showoff. Every time a camera makes its way into the corner, Yoel begins to throw punches and scream and yell in a feigned attempt at showing Zab how he’s got to do it. At one point Saturday, Yoel – who had a water bottle in his hand during one of his in-corner flurries – doused one of his cornermen with water as he threw a ridiculous-looking punch.
Great role model, huh?
A stiff fine and suspension for Yoel would also be a fair option for the NSAC.
• Lampley has really got to get a clue. After Zab complained that he thought Roger was trying to choke him during the scuffle (actually it was a Mayweather cornerman who was restraining Judah with a friendly arm around his neck), Lampley decided to run with a comically inept analysis.
Lampley incorrectly said that it was Floyd who tried to choke Zab with a forearm to the throat. Then – incorrectly one again – he claimed that the forearm to the throat was an ongoing problem with Floyd.
Mayweather has come to be known as the world’s pound-for-pound best boxer for a reason. One of those reasons is that he is such a great defensive boxer, who covers up from or eludes his opponents’ punches. The other is his lightning-quick combinations.
The move Lampley demonstrated on former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis (who looked a bit surprised and annoyed) is one commonly seen by straight-ahead bangers, who push their elusive opponents’ heads back on the ropes with a forearm to the throat in order to hit them.
You’d think with more than 20 years of calling fights under his belt that Lampley would learn something about the fight game.
• And for the umpteenth time, Lampley intentionally mispronounced Reno referee Vic Drakulich’s name, calling him Drah-cool-lich. It’s pronounced Drack-you-lich. As if he needed further help, announcer Michael Buffer correctly – and loudly – announces and pronounces it correctly. As does unofficial ringside judge Harold Lederman and fellow commentator Larry Merchant – who while he butchers Latino boxers’ names, can correctly pronounce Drakulich.
Furthermore, Drakulich has told me one more than one occasion that he’s had someone speak to Lampley about it.
Oh well, what’s in name? Dim Lampley, Jim Limpley or just plain Limps. It’s all good.
• Nigel Collins, editor-in-chief of The Ring magazine, had an interesting take on the possible Mayweather-Margarito matchup. Collins said Margarito may be all wrong for Mayweather, now 36-0 with 24 knockouts.
Standing 5-foot-11, the 28-year-old Margarito is tall, powerful welterweight with a record of 33-4 (24). He is a banger who comes to fight and has been avoided by other name boxers.
Two of Margarito’s losses have come to southpaws – Rodney Jones and former WBO welterweight and junior middleweight titlist Daniel Santos. Santos – like Mayweather – is a real slickster.
Put my feet to the fire, while I’d give Margarito a shot at beating Mayweather, I think I’d have to go with Mayweather.
• So who can end “Pretty Boy’s” unbeaten streak? Not Judah in a rematch. Not Oscar De La Hoya, which to me is the best fight out there – one that needs to be done next, in fact. My choice is unbeaten junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton, who is moving up to welterweight to fight WBA so-called titlist Luis Collazo, 26-1 (12), in May.
While I have concerns about Hatton moving up in weight, I think he has the best shot at ending Mayweather’s unbeaten run. But don’t look for it happen this year.
• And check out the IBF. That the sanctioning body is even considering not recognizing Mayweather as its champion is a joke. That Judah promoter Don King not-so-coincidentally is calling for the NSAC to reverse the decision and award the fight to Judah by DQ isn’t a surprise.
But if you look at the actions of the IBF and King, they seem to go hand in hand. Ask Reno’s “Koncrete” Kelvin Davis, who was stripped of cruiserweight title by the IBF after he refused to sign King’s contract. And he hasn’t caught a break from either lately.
If what I highly suspect is true – that King and the IBF are in collusion – it would violate the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, which bars such a conflict of interest. Unfortunately, the bill has no enforcement provision and the Teflon Don would have to be sued by aggrieved parties in a court of law.
• And notice that I use the word “suspect,” not “know for a fact.” What a great country it is where you can voice an opinion. As King himself likes to say, “Only in America.”