VERONA, N.Y. — It was the first time Cletus Seldin entered the 11th round of a prize fight, and very likely the last time for Zab Judah.
Sensing his opponent was wearing down, Seldin pressed the attack in the 11th and stopped Judah at 1:40 of the round Friday night at the Turning Stone Casino. Seldin, known as The Hebrew Hammer, unleashed a stream of power punches that left referee Charlie Fitch little choice but stop the fight.
“I was very proud to go into the 11th round,” said Seldin, who is from Shirley. “I was waiting for the opportunity to take it over and [trainers] Pete Brodsky and Scott Lopeck gave me the go ahead. Right after this fight I am looking for a 12-round world championship fight.”
The Seldin-Judah fight was the main event of a seven-bout card promoted by Star Boxing. It kicked off the weekend festivities for the 2019 International Boxing Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
The fight opened slowly, which was unusual for a Seldin bout. He tried but had an unwilling partner in Judah. Seldin, 32, pressed the action while Judah retreated behind his jab. In the third round, Seldin began to close the distance and finally wobbled Judah with an overhand right moments before the bell.
“He’s a very smart fighter and he knows what he’s doing in there,” said Seldin, who improved to 24-1 with 20 knockouts. “Once I saw after the third round that he couldn’t hurt me I was just trying to wear him down.”
Judah settled in a few times in the fifth and let his hands go, but it wasn’t enough to keep Seldin from pressing forward. Still, it was the best round of the fight, as Seldin burrowed in and Judah countered.
Judah, 41, summoned the resolve to hurt Seldin in the closing moments of Round 8, but the southpaw couldn’t build any momentum. The fight resorted back to its familiar pattern after that, with Seldin pursuing and Judah backpedaling. The unrelenting pressure from Seldin was too much for the former champion Judah, whose record dropped to 44-10.
It could very well have been the last fight for Judah, who once met the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto but only fought three times in the last three years.
In the co-feature, Buddy McGirt Jr. fought to a draw with David Papot in a 12-round bout for the WBO international middleweight title. McGirt (27-3-2) used his long right jab to control the first half of the fight but Papot (22-0-1) finished stronger. The scores were 117-111 for Papot, 115-113 for McGirt and 114-114. McGirt’s father is being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Earlier in the night, Roberto Duran Jr., son of the legendary Hall of Famer from Panama, won a split decision over Jonathan Pierre (3-1) in a four-round welterweight fight. Two of the judges scored it 39-37 for Duran Jr. (3-0) while a third judge had it 39-37 for Pierre. Duran Jr. is being trained by one of his father’s rivals, former world champion Vinny Paz.
Huntington’s Wendy Toussaint (10-0) won a unanimous six-round decision over Lucius Johnson (4-6-1) in a six-round junior middleweight bout.