Zab Judah and Vernon Paris both had questions entering tonight. For Paris, it was a question of whether or not he was ready for a 12-round fight against someone more credible than the likes of Tim Coleman. For Judah, it was a question of whether or not even faded and past his prime, he was still too good for Paris, or if he'd slipped to a point where he was a fringe contender and nothing more.
Well, we got our answers. Paris failed his test, while Judah passed with flying colors, dominating all eight rounds before stopping the Detroit youngster early in the ninth on a huge flurry that forced the referee's hand.
Garcia UD-12 Morales | Kirkland DQ-10 Molina | Houston Undercard
Adamek UD-10 Aguilera | Jennings RTD-9 Liakhovich
Judah (42-7, 29 KO) is now in line for a shot at the winner of the May 19 fight between Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan, as tonight's bout was an IBF mandatory.
Let's talk about what's real here, and just break it down in bullet point format.
- Zab Judah looked very sharp tonight, but he's not "back" to an elite level, because he was never truly an elite fighter. He was a guy who could fight with elite fighters, but he never did beat them. I'd explain more about my thoughts on this, but I've done it before, and nothing changed.
- That said, he was good, and he's back in the mix at 140. With titleholders as soft as Danny Garcia out there, Judah could win another belt.
- Vernon Paris (26-1, 15 KO) looked awful. He did nothing well in this fight. The way to beat Judah is, was, and always has been and always will be to pressure and crack him. Judah folds when things get tough. Always has, always will. Paris tried to box from the outside, which he lacked the speed to do. Judah hasn't really lost anything, as I discussed on Twitter earlier. He still has his speed. He still has the same power. He's not any worse than he was a few years ago. It's just that there are certain things he never did have that haunt him. Paris worked on none of those things and by round five, looked beaten, overwhelmed, and lost.
- Paris has to go back to the drawing board. Whether he rebounds from this is another story, but that's what's in front of him now. He has to find a way to come back, and frankly, he has to get a lot better. This isn't the world of Tim Coleman anymore. This was the big leagues.
That said, and this is not the next fight for either of them, I'd pick Judah to beat Danny Garcia. He's still always going to have the same problems, though. Guys who pressure can beat him, and probably will. Guys who aren't overwhelmed by his speed will give him a lot of problems. Nothing changed for Zab Judah tonight. A lot changed for Vernon Paris, though.