Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com is reporting that the scheduled HBO show for November 6 could be a little bit different than initially reported, as talks are in progress for Golden Boy Promotions and Main Events to present a double-header from the Prudential Center in Newark, a show that would feature Zab Judah in the main event.
Judah (39-6, 27 KO) fought in July in a half-return to the 140-pound ranks, obliterating former lightweight contender Jose Armando Santa Cruz on ESPN's Friday Night Fights. Right now, he is slated to face another tune-up type on October 2 in Newark, with Michael Clark as his scheduled opponent. A deal for a November 6 fight on HBO would almost surely cancel that bout, and with good reason.
Judah's opponent would be Argentina's Lucas Matthysse (27-0, 25 KO). The 27-year-old with the cracking punch fought last Friday, knocking out Rogelio Castaneda Jr. in the first round. In February, he beat Vivian Harris via controversial early stoppage in the fourth round in Mexico.
This would be a big step for the 32-year-old Judah, and a bit of a risk. Matthysse is no superstar, but he can bang. Judah would also be stepping back into the limelight of a major American broadcast for the first time since November 2008, when he beat Ernest Johnson in a ho-hum fight on the awful Calzaghe-Jones pay-per-view. It would be his first fight on HBO since August 2008, when he lost a technical decision to Joshua Clottey.
Judah is insisting that his comeback and return to 140 is for real, that he's dedicated and looking to make a big splash. I don't think anyone questions his talent. Even at 32 and having been through some wars, Zab is an incredibly talented fighter and if he's focused and in shape, a tough matchup for anybody in the weight class. His hand speed is still among the best in the sport, he has power, and he's always been better off below welterweight, though he won the lineal championship at 147, too.
Robert Guerrero would still be in the co-feature for the show, with James Kirkland taking his return bout off-TV. The initial talk was that it would be Guerrero and Kirkland in the TV slots in Texas, with Kirkland possibly fighting tough veteran Ishe Smith, but that fight now seems unlikely. Smith said earlier today that he still wants the fight, but I'm guessing Golden Boy might want a less frustrating opponent than that for a rusty fighter's return to the ring, especially one who could generate as much interest and money as Kirkland has the potential to generate.
For now, this is just in the talking stages, but if it's a real opening, Judah would be silly to stick with the Clark fight. It's a chance to show a wide audience that Zab Judah is back in the game, and a win could get him right in line to fight the winner of January's Bradley-Alexander fight (which is close to done), or the winner of a potential Khan-Maidana fight coming in December.