Danny and Angel Garcia have quite a system. It's not like it's hard to figure out. Hell, they just admit it now. Angel talks, riles opponents up, gets under their skin, and Danny fights them. They think it worked last year against Amir Khan and Erik Morales, both of whom certainly didn't care for what Angel said about them, but it has never worked like it has with Judah, who has gone bananas leading up to the fight. On Thursday, he unraveled, and on Friday, he tried to put on a calmer face.
I think Zab knows he can't let his emotions get the best of him, and he's fighting it. But people, in some base, concrete ways, are who they are, and Judah is an emotional guy and fighter. If Zab can harness that, he's a potential danger here against the younger Garcia. He is faster than Danny, is a better boxer, and may, indeed, have better power. But Danny Garcia is a calm, cool youngster, doesn't get rattled easy (when Khan was outquicking him, he just looked for openings and tried to force Amir to brawl), and stays within himself. Garcia is a smart fighter, and that's the biggest reason that he wins his fights.
I kind of want to pick Zab, but he's just failed too many times on this level. I'm not saying Garcia is Floyd Mayweather or Kostya Tszyu or even the 2007 version of Miguel Cotto. But he's damn sure better than Carlos Baldomir, and I think he's better than Joshua Clottey was, too. Judah absolutely can win this fight. He's not washed-up. He's still pretty much the same Zab Judah. I won't be shocked if he pulls it off. But I can't pick him, not with his history. Garcia UD-12.
It's difficult to argue too strongly against Zab Judah when he says that Danny Garcia isn't faster than him, doesn't have better technical ability, and doesn't hit as hard. On paper, Zab Judah the boxer ticks so many boxes. In reality, it's been tying them all together that's been the problem for much of the Brooklyn man's career. Were he more able to align those physical attributes with a mental strength that was on a similar level, it's likely that Zab Judah would be talked about as one of the past decade's true elite, rather than a guy that was good, but wasn't quite at that level.
Like many, I only finally lost patience with Judah with the Khan defeat, in which the momentum he'd built with a win (officially, at least) over Matthysse, together with a solid stoppage of Mabuza, was all but thrown away with a fairly pathetic display against an otherwise vulnerable titleholder. As a result, I've been surprised to see so many, at least on my Twitter timeline, picking the upset here. But hey, that's what Zab's done for years - convinced the masses that this really was his time - no, really this time - before throwing it all away by, well, being Zab Judah in the fight itself. Physically, and in terms of ability, I have little doubt that Judah is indeed Garcia's equal. The reason that this is such a bad matchup for Zab is that Garcia is everything he's so often not been: resilient, utterly determined, and used to overthrowing the odds.
Judah will box Garcia in the early stages here, and do it well, keeping Garcia at range and finding angles of his own, but the longer this goes on, the more Garcia is going to grind him down. And when Judah's put under real pressure - and he'll be put under relentless pressure here - my suspicion is that he'll do what he's done before: fold. Garcia TKO9
Man, this fight has shot up on my list of fights to see. The pre-fight antics haven't changed my opinion on the outcome, but they have definitely made me more excited to watch it unfold. Despite his rant about being disrespected and actually making me into a temporary fan of his, Zab Judah is still the same Zab Judah. He's not a guy that is going to fight a full 12 rounds, and he has proven in the past to check out if things are not going his way.
Those saying that Garcia is too slow to defeat Judah should remember that virtually everyone that defeats Judah is slower than him with the possible exception of Floyd Mayweather. Carlos Baldomir, Kostya Tszyu, and Miguel Cotto were clearly not as fast as Judah, but it comes down to more than that. Not saying Garcia is as good as Cotto and Tszyu were, but we know what we will get from Judah, and I don't feel confident that he will bring it when Garcia hits back. I think he starts fast and energetic then gradually drops his workrate while Garcia picks it up. As the rounds wear on, Judah will check out mentally and Garcia will start to land the harder, cleaner shots. Garcia by late stoppage.
Judah has had plenty of ups and downs in his career, and I'm not just talking about the number of knockdowns he's suffered. He's won world titles at two weights but is often best remembered by a lot of fans for the defeats he's suffered, most notably his ‘drunken chicken legs' knockout loss to Kostya Tszyu. That's a touch harsh considering he's been victorious in over ten world title fights. He may not be an all-time great but he's been a good fighter who has competed at the top level for years.
It's noticeable that Judah has lost every time he's taken on an elite level fighter, barring Lucas Matthysse, who he got a controversial decision against. That is a worrying trend, one which I expect to rear its ugly head again this Saturday. Garcia is the younger, fresher, hungrier fighter; he also hits with authority and seems to be improving technically, although he still leaves himself open at times when throwing his wide hooks.
Even in his prime Judah was never hard to catch clean, and he looks to be even easier to hit these days as age has slowed his footwork and movement down. That will be his undoing against Garcia, who may have to make some adjustments in the early rounds due to Judah's countering straight lefts from his southpaw stance. As soon as Garcia starts finding the range, especially with his left hook, the bout will be brought to an end quite quickly. Garcia KO 5.