We’re minutes away from seeing if Zab Judah can still bring it.
Zab, who reconnected with Kathy Duva and Main Events, is fighting at 140 pounds for the first time in seven years. Judah’s last hurrah at junior welterweight as a first-round knockout of Jaime Rangel in Atlantic City in December, 2003.
Judah (38-6, 26 KOs) will be squaring off against Jose Armando Santa Cruz (28-4, 17 KOs). Judah scored a second-round TKO of Ubaldo Hernandez last November.
Santa Cruz won’t be easy for Judah. He has fights against David Diaz and Joel Casamayor under his belt. He was winning on all three judge’s scorecards when Diaz stopped him in the 10th. And he knocked Casamayor down in the first round before losing a split decision.
ROUND 1: Judah looked energetic early, picking and choosing when to attack. He landed several quality body shots. Santa Cruz seemed a bit slow with his attack, allowing Judah to slip and duck most of his punches with little effort. Judah wins the round: 10-9.
ROUND 2: Judah opened up a little more in the second and landed two dazzling combos midway through the round. Santa Cruz was just too slow to be effective. Judah ended the round with a solid right uppercut to the midsection. Judah wins the round: 10-9
ROUND 3: It was easy pickings for Judah as he connected with a left to Santa Cruz’ jaw for a knockdown. Cruz kept going, but the fight was stopped about 10 seconds later 2:33 into the round by referee Benji Estevez. Judah wins the round and the fight.
Judah improves to 39-6, 27 KOs. Santa Cruz drops to 28-5, 17 KOs.
It was a good showing for Judah. Some will argue his opponent was inferior, but Judah needed to prove he still has what it takes to compete. Had this fight went the distance, Judah's comeback might have been halted in its tracks. Any fans looking for a good feature/fight story on Juday, check out Greg Logan's story on Newsday.com or pick up the print edition on Saturday.
Judah was obviously buzzing with confidence after the bout.
"I really got behind my jab," said Judah. "I let my jab go. I let my jab set everything up."
Judah said the plan all along was to use his jab. He said he took the advice given to him by his father and his trainer. "Right before I left camp, my father and Eddie told me 'when your jab is on, you can knock anyone out,'" Judah added.
As for his future, he wants to compete against the best. He said it didn't matter who is in front of him -Devon Alexander, Tim Bradley, Amir Khan- "I just going to pick them off one by one," Judah said.
Check back here tomorrow for a live blog of Tim Bradley's exciting match.