Zab Judah (138) showed he still has a little something left in the tank with a highlight reel seventh round stoppage of Kaizer Mabuza (139) at the Prudential Center in Newark. The junior-welterweight clash had been mostly short on thrills before the stunning finish, with Judah using his edge in speed and craft, along with plenty of movement to gain a clear advantage through the opening six sessions.
The explosive ending came with Judah’s back to the ropes, almost touching the corner pad. He leaned backward ever so slightly as Mabuza fired off a right hand before countering with a perfectly timed short left. Mabuza, rubber legged on impact, almost went straight through the ropes as he pitched forward, with only the second strand keeping him from a trip to the canvas. Though Mabuza never fully touched down, it was a clear knockdown and a jubilant Judah turned and ran towards a neutral corner.
Still in a fog after the eight count, Mabuza was quickly finished off by Judah’s follow-up assault, with Referee Samuel Viruet stepping in after a clean left hand smacked against the South African’s jaw. The time was 0:59 of Round Seven.
Overall, Judah was just a little too quick and cagey for Mabuza. The former 147lb champion was nearly always one step ahead, though he did get caught with a cuffing right hand in the fourth round that was ruled a knockdown when Judah's right glove touched down. Mabuza had another bright moment late in the sixth round when he landed a straight right that seemed to buzz Judah a little, though was unable to follow up before the close of the round.
The win should put Judah in line for a match against one of the division's elite. Whether he's still good enough to compete over twelve rounds against the very best is questionable, but as long as he still possesses fight ending power in his left hand, it would probably be a mistake to completely count him out.