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Zab Judah: I'm locked and loaded

Zab Judah, right, lands a punch on Ernest

Zab Judah, right, lands a punch on Ernest Johnson during a boxing match at Madison Square Garden. (Nov. 8, 2008) Credit: AP

Zab Judah believes he has come full circle.

He’ll get a chance to show the boxing world exactly how far he has come when he steps into the ring against Kaizer Mabuza in an IBF 140-pound championship bout on Saturday, March 5 at the Prudential Center in Newark.

There is a lot at stake for Judah in this one.

In addition to the IBF title, Judah could be in line for a shot at the likes of Tim Bradley, Amir Khan or Devon Alexander. The Brooklyn native, who’s vying for his fifth world title, said it’s an opportunity he’s determined not to squander.

“It’s been more of a mental thing for me,” Judah said of the stumbling blocks he faced in his career. “Everyone asks when is Zab going to wake up and come around. You’re won’t be 21 forever.”

That type of sentiment wasn’t always apart of the mindset of Judah, 33, who was suspended for a melee in the ring he started following a unanimous-decision loss to Floyd Mayweather, Jr in 2006.

But Judah said he’s moved beyond that and credits his family, his manager and his close circle of friends for helping him stay on track.

“I’m able to focus 100 percent on boxing now,” Judah said.

Aside from his new mental outlook on things, Judah also made some changes in his camp. Former world champion Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker is now part of Judah’s training crew.

“I’ve really picked Pernell’s brain,” said Judah. “I wanted to know everything.”

Judah said he’s taken a “military approach” to his training. He said he lets Whitaker do most of the talking.

“I don’t speak much,” Judah said. “It’s like going to school. You breakdown to rebuild.”

Judah (40-6) is going to need to take advantage of every ounce of his strength and training to take on Mabuza (23-6), who hasn’t lost since suffering unanimous-decision set back at the hands of Emmanuel Lartei Lartey August 4, 2007.

Mabuza won by referee stoppage in the sixth round over Kendall Holt in an IBF title eliminator February 27, 2010.

Judah beat Lucas Martin Matthysse in a split decision last November.

“I am locked and loaded for Mabuza,” Judah said. “Come Saturday night you’ll see how far I’ve come.”


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