Zab Judah's legacy on the line
By Rob Scott (January 6, 2005) 
Zab Judah
There are many things that often are letdowns. But more than anything, the biggest letdown is wasted talent. Zab Judah had been compared to one of the most talented fighters to put on the gloves since Pernell Whitaker; yet to this point he has been more like ‘Gab’ Judah than anything else. On February 5, 2005 Judah, 32-2 (23), has the opportunity to show that he is more than just words when he meets undisputed welterweight champion Cory Spinks, 34-2 (10), in Spinks’ hometown of St. Louis in a rematch of their bout from a year ago. In their first meeting, Spinks won a unanimous decision in a fight that Judah could indeed have won.

If you have ever read anything by me, you know how I harp on about greatness. Make no mistake about it, Pernell Whitaker was a great fighter; and to be compared to such a fighter, Judah had to have something. The problem is he hasn’t parlayed that ‘something’ into anything reminiscent of Whitaker’s greatness. When will the ‘would-haves’, ‘could-haves’ and ‘should-haves’ that have circled Judah turn into the ‘have-dones’?

While Judah has held the IBF and WBO junior welterweight belts on separate occasions, two failed attempts at ‘undisputed’ crowns have been the defining moments on Judah’s dossier. His November 3, 2001 attempt to unify the 140 lb title against Kostya Tszyu and his unsuccessful attempt to lift the welterweight titles from Spinks’ waist in their first encounter have been clear examples of actions speak louder than words. They have, as I mentioned, been reasons to see him as ‘Gab’ Judah, because his words spoke volumes over his actions.

Don’t let my references to Judah’s shortcomings fool you; he has talent in abundance. A disciplined Judah can excel and make all the ones that touted him right in their assessments. He has all the physical skills to get the job done; but we all know that physical is only half the battle. Avoiding youthful and cocky urges has been Judah’s Achilles’ heal. Discipline, or lack there of, has been his undoing. Actions such as fighting with his hands down with Kostya Tszyu and starting too slow with Cory Spinks have turned into big losses. These are negatives that he must alter.

Judah has extreme pride and confident in his Brooklyn roots. He loves rappers like 50 Cent and fellow Brooklyn native Jay Z.; but to quote one of the greatest emcees of all time, Rakim, "It ain’t where you’re from – It’s where you’re at”, and on February 5th Judah will be in the ring in St. Louis attempting to right his wrong. Not many people have the opportunity to right wrongs; not many people have the opportunity to prove that their talents haven’t been wasted; not many people have the opportunity that Zab has. He has the opportunity to reverse his fortunes; he has the opportunity to forever lose the ‘Gab’ moniker and make Brooklyn proud of him. Zab Judah has the opportunity to be called ‘The Undisputed Champion’. Will he do what it takes to make it happen?
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2005