All That Glitters Just Doesn’t Make Sense: Mayweather vs. Judah
 By Coyote Duran (April 3, 2006)  
Photo © HBO-PPV
There was a time during the dawn of his career when Zab Judah used the nickname ‘Lightning’. The moniker was then replaced when someone dropped a dubious bug in Judah’s ear that he might have been born on Krypton instead of Earth. As a result (as you all know), he was known from then on as ‘Super’ Judah.

Last June, prior to his masterful yet punishing assault on then-WBC super lightweight titlist Arturo Gatti, Floyd Mayweather Jr. referred to himself as the ‘Lightning’ in contrast to the beloved Gatti’s ‘Thunder’. In so many ways, ‘Pretty Boy’ couldn’t have been more correct.

So, on April 8, are we to assume that Our Sport will fall victim to a most tremendous swath of electrical energy, so intense that we’ll be talking about the after-effects for years to come?

Somehow, I highly doubt it.

On paper, the long-anticipated war between the former friends/hip-hop understudies sounds enticing enough but the more I think about all of the particulars leading up to next Saturday’s pay-per-view, the less I give a damn. But I’m not terribly certain if I’m in the majority.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just a little too sensitive to the incessant fleecing of the most devout fans of The Sweet Science (especially those who pay 50 bones a shot for what I consider boxing’s answer to a glassy-eyed, emotionless hooker) but to me, there’s something so wrong about this fight. Even in the ‘11th hour’ before the showdown, I can’t help but think that it’s much less about history and legacy and more about Mayweather, 35-0 (24), slapping around the over-hyped product that Judah, 34-3 (25), has always been and, with a straight face, calling it a ‘championship’ challenge. I’m sorry. It’s simply a turd that doesn’t flush. I could be wrong (obviously I don’t I am) but to call the man who was clearly beaten for the real and absolute Undisputed Welterweight Championship of the World a ‘World Champion’ because the IBF was too avariciously stupid (or would it be ‘stupidly avaricious’?) to strip him is a lot like calling Mariah Carey a legitimate actor for starring in a C-grade movie like ‘Glitter’. It only makes real actors who’ve bled and sweat the thespian arts for most of their lives scratch their heads and ask the MPAA, ‘What the f__k?!’

Just like legitimate World Champions and titleholders like Carlos Baldomir and Antonio Margarito, respectively, must be doing, still, this very moment.

One with an ounce of sense in his or her head (like a Brian Kenny – thank goodness for his exasperated thirst for truth) would look to put a filter on this fight and sift out the bullshit and leave behind what this fight really is: a compelling enough battle between a sublime boxer and a flawed hothead who, when focused enough, can do great things. But, as we all are fully aware, sense is an endangered species in this game. It seems that for every Brian Kenny that has the stones to speak his mind, there’s an IBO that’s more than willing to staple their vacant ‘World Title’ belt to this alphabet sham to further legitimize the confusion and, at the same time, wedge their grubby little paws into the fighters’ wallets. It’s the two-sided coin. The Ring’s Ivan Goldman (in the June 2006 issue, on sale now!) says Judah should be kicked over to ESPN2 (and he’s right) and HBO turns around and calls this a ‘Welterweight Title fight’. Commonsense emerges and ridiculousness smacks it in the head like an ass-backwards game of ‘Whack-A-Mole’.

It just doesn’t feel right yet the boxing world-at-large seems to be frothing at the mouth for it. There are so many questions I have. Why pay-per-view (I can’t wait for Doghouse Boxing’s very own Steve Hudgins’ take on this one!) and not regular HBO where it truly belongs? Why can’t it be a 12-round fight for contention in the welterweight division? Why couldn’t Bob Arum schedule a sit-down with Mike Marley and the Sycuan boys and make a legitimate championship fight or, even better in some ways, make 2 and 2 actually equal 4 and set up the biggest fight the 147-pound club could offer up in Mayweather-Margarito (both Top Rank commodities)?

Most importantly, what does it matter if Carlos Baldomir has never made a million bucks in a single fight? Does that really make him less appealing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. or is it more telling of a fear of the unknown? Hey, it happened to Judah. Mayweather’s a different (and far superior) breed of cat but this is ‘The Theater of the Unknown’, right?

Anything can happen.

Or is Mayweather just waiting out the result of the upcoming Gatti-Baldomir World Title clash in July, hoping Gatti wins so he can pick him off at the right time, post-Judah? I don’t know. You don’t know. None of us, except those in the big money machine, really know. As per usual, whatever happens will simply be attributed to natural occurrence in the fight game and no one will be the wiser. We’ll just accept it and go on our merry ways. We might bitch about it for a wee bit but we’ll soon forget about it after the next Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo fight ends and then everything will be right in the world.

For now, I guess we’ll have to wait for the so-called lightning storm between boxing’s preeminent glittery bling-meisters to subside. Once ‘Super’ Judah is out of the mix, then maybe we’ll get a less cloudy outlook of the welterweight picture. Then again, who knows? Maybe the WBU, IBC, WBF or the IBU will make him their undisputed champion and it’ll all start over again.

Maybe by then we’ll all have finally come to our senses and learned how to wait a full week for a tape delay.
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