It was a tough fight that could've gone either way, but Zab Judah, despite a 10th-round knockdown, came away with the narrowest of victories, 113-114, 114-113, 114-113, over Lucas Matthysse.
It was a typical Judah fight in that the Brookyn native, after having a lot of success in the first four or five rounds, lost steam and let his guard down. And Matthysse (27-1, 25 KOs), despite his lack of notable fights, is an extremely talented fighter.
But Saturday night was only the second time Matthysse has been past the fourth round in his career.
Judah, unlike many of the fights earlier in his career, appeared to be more disciplined.
"I expected the fight to go down as it did," Judah told Max Kellerman of HBO, which televised the fight.
This win by Judah (40-6, 27 KOs) shouldn't be dismissed lightly. Fighting a bigger fighter with the type of power Matthysse has took a lot of courage. But it's the type of fight Judah needed to prove to the boxing world he is still a viable option in the 140-pound division.
With this fight behind him, the next question is, who is next?
He isn't likely to see Tim Bradley or Devon Alexander any time soon, as the two will square off on Jan. 29. And the winner of that fight may be looking for much bigger things -- Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather.
Amir Khan or Marcos Maidana seem like logical options. Those two will face each other on Dec. 11 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
How about a rematch with Matthysse? Not likely. Judah's time as a top-flight fighter is running out. Although he's done an admirable job making himself into a contender again, he's 33. Taking on a fighter like Matthysse is dangerous. If he were to lose a rematch, Judah would certainly lose any chance he might have at taking one of the top four 140-pounders.