Zab Judah is being targeted for a trip to Russia in June. (Photo by Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE)
Zab Judah is coming off of his best win in some time, a one-sided thrashing of Vernon Paris on March 24, which made him the No. 1 contender for the IBF junior welterweight title. But a curveball has been thrown the way of Judah and promoter Kathy Duva, as Russian manager and promoter Vladimir Hryunov is attempting to bring the Brooklyn-born star to Russia for a June 2 fight against Khabib Allakhverdiev.
BoxingScene.com reports that Hryunov, who has put on Denis Lebedev's fights with washed-up American names Roy Jones Jr and James Toney, plus last week's Lebedev vs Shawn Cox fight, and Kathy Duva has confirmed that they've legitimately reached out in an effort to make it happen.
It might sound crazy on the surface, as Judah is like a cat with his nine lives of relevance to American boxing, and the win over Paris puts him in line to face the Peterson vs Khan II winner (or to fight for the vacant belt if that happens), but if the money's good enough and they were confident, it could happen.
Judah (42-7, 29 KO) is, after all, 34 years old and not exactly having his doors knocked down by HBO or Showtime. Main Events do a good job with him, but their reach is only so far in the political game that is U.S. boxing, and if they're not getting warm feelings from the big American broadcasters, why not send him over to Russia, unless you think he might lose?
Allakhverdiev (16-0, 7 KO) is a 29-year-old southpaw nicknamed "The Hawk." His last two wins have come against Nate Campbell and Ignacio Mendoza, not exactly the creme de la creme of today's boxing world. He actually started his pro career in 2007 fighting in the States, and has been 50-50 overall, with eight fights in Russia and eight in the U.S.
I can't say I know enough about him to say whether or not he'd be a real threat to Judah, but wins over Campbell and Mendoza don't really prove anything when you're talking about another step up, and a pretty big one at that. I've taken my shots at Judah over the years, but talent has never been his problem, and he's always been better than Campbell and Mendoza are today (well, he's been better than them ever, period). I think if they're serious, you have to admire the guts on Hryunov and Allakhverdiev chasing this one. They're not chasing a fight with a guy who looks finished, they're targeting a guy who looked pretty sensational a couple weeks ago.