Zab Judah fell short tonight, but he didn't follow the old script. Though Judah was floored in the eighth round and started slow, he came alive late in the fight, winning the last three rounds, and putting in one of his most valiant performances ever. No folding, no imploding. Zab Judah fought all 12 rounds, and gave Garcia all he could handle down the stretch.
Official scores were 114-112, 115-112, and 116-111. BLH had it 115-111 for Garcia, who banked enough rounds to survive the championship rounds charge from the Brooklyn native.
Garcia (26-0, 16 KO) is more than the sum of his parts. He's smart, he's crafty, he's clever, and he has the "it" factor. He takes a good shot, too, as we saw tonight, because Judah hit him with some good, clean shots, and Zab is not feather-fisted. Garcia was able to walk through those shots for most of the fight, but did get stung a few times in those last three rounds. Still, though, he stayed up.
Judah (42-8, 29 KO) also showed a chin, though he did go down. Zab was actually hurt worse, it seemed, earlier in the fight, when he had the "chicken dance legs" twice. Somehow, Judah managed to clinch enough and avoid enough of the big incoming shots from Garcia, and not only did he "survive," but he gathered himself and made it a fight.
It wasn't a classic, necessarily, and it wasn't a great action fight, but this was fought well on both sides, had drama, blood, a grudge, and a lot of heart and skill on display. And when it was over, the beef was squashed between the camps. The fighters embraced, and even Zab and Angel Garcia shook hands.