Danny Garcia will defend his coveted RING Magazine lineal title against Zab Judah on April 27th.
And while Zab is not as threatening as Brandon Rios or Lamont Peterson and Garcia vs Judah may not be as exciting as Garcia vs Matthysse, this match-up will answer some interesting questions as they relate to the jr welterweight division.
Why Danny Garcia vs Zab Judah Makes Sense
Zab is Accomplished and Popular
Zab Judah is 'name' fighter who has been in the ring with the likes of Kostya Tsyzu, Amir Khan, Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto. He's been on the big stage and has won 6 world titles in two divisions and, as a result, will draw the interest of the casual boxing fan. Simply put, Garcia vs Judah could be a fairly lucrative venture for Golden Boy and Garcia.
Winner of 6 of his last 7 bouts, Zab Judah, in his most recent outing last March, turned back the clock by scoring a ninth round TKO over previously unbeaten Vernon Paris (then 26-0, 15 KOs). Zab, who was simply too fast and experienced for Paris, also showed decent power at 140 lbs that night.
The underdog in the fight, Judah controlled the bout from start to finish and hurt Paris several times in the opening stanza and second round. Finally in round nine, Judah, who had seemingly won every round, trapped Paris in the corner and unloaded 12-18 unanswered power shots, forcing the referee to halt the action with Judah comfortably leading on all 3 judges' scorecards.
A Good Test
While Judah isn't a high-risk opponent, he still possesses enough speed and skill to give Garcia a good test. Keep in mind, Amir Khan appeared to have Garcia signed, sealed and delivered prior to absorbing that monstrous left hook from the Philadelphian.
And in addition to having an edge in speed, Zab Judah's reach is an 1½ inches longer than Khan's and he'll enjoy a 3½ inch reach advantage over Garcia should they fight.
Zab Judah, who isn't nearly as shopwarn as Morales, has also fought the best of his day and can take Garcia to places he's never been in the ring.
Is Zab Done?
Is Zab truly finished as an elite fighter? It seems every time the media counts him out, he comes roaring back. We thought he was finished when he moved to 140 but he, instead, he defeated Lucas Matthysse in his inagural bout at that weight. He then went on to win a world title soon thereafter before losing it to Amir Khan last summer.
And most us thought we knew for sure Zab was finished after losing to Khan but he surprised us again by knocking out a younger, unbeaten and favored Vernon Paris earlier this year. So unlike Erik Morales the past 7 years, Zab Judah has defeated some pretty decent, albeit not spectacular, opponents lately.
And Zab must certainly know that even a respectable performance in defeat against Garcia, as Morales achieved in Garcia vs Morales I, would at the very least keep his career on life support a little longer and enable him the opportunity to fight another bigshot in the division.
How much does Zab have left and will he figure into the landscape of the 140 lb division going forward?
Garcia vs Judah will tell us.
Pictured: Amir Khan absorbs a right hand from Danny Garcia
Courtesy of Hogan Photos
Garcia vs Matthysse
Lastly, some are calling for Garcia vs Lucas Matthysse but the latter lost to Judah in 2010 and Devon Alexander last year. While, stylistically, Garcia vs Matthysse would likely be a better fight, Judah is the more accomplished, more deserving, better-known fighter, and he still has something to prove.
Simply put, Zab Judah is a highly-ranked contender who has paid his dues.
And aside from past-their-primes DeMarcus Corley and Vivian Harris, Matthysse's resume is devoid of a win against a 'name' fighter... unless you count the smaller Humberto Soto who had recently jaunted from lightweight to jr welterweight.
Garcia vs Judah on April 27th.
Let's give Golden Boy, Garcia and Judah a pass for this one because it makes sense.
Afterwards, if everything goes as planned, fans should demand Garcia vs Matthysse, Alvarado and/or Peterson.