Since Antonio Margarito has gone ahead with plans to fight Paul Williams in his mandatory defense instead of vacating the belt and going head-to-head with Miguel Cotto on June 9, Top Rank has sought out a replacement opponent for Cotto on the same date: Zab Judah.
Judah, who was beaten twice in 2006 by Carlos Baldomir and Floyd Mayweather Jr., was to fight Pito Cardona on April 27, but that fight is now off since it's simply too close to June 9. Judah may fight in Mississippi in early April as a tune-up for Cotto, which he could certainly use.
The fight is, of course, dependent upon Judah winning whatever fight he may take before June 9, as well as Cotto beating Oktay Urkal on March 3 in Puerto Rico. It will still be held at Madison Square Garden.
And Judah, as you'd expect, is already talking.
"I'm not Paulie Malignaggi. I'm Zab Judah. They must not know who I am. Cotto is a little boy. He's like my son. You know how it is when your son gets out of line and you have to give him a spanking to get him back in line. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to spank him like he's my son."
The truth of the matter is, Judah has become a forgotten man to some degree. His loss to Baldomir was probably the upset of the year for 2006, and he followed that up being badly outclassed by Mayweather. His last victory was against Cosme Rivera in May of 2005, three months after beating Cory Spinks in their rematch, which was probably the biggest win of Judah's career.
If the fight goes off as planned, there's really no way Cotto won't be a pretty big favorite considering his punching power and the roll he's been on, compared to Judah's downhill slide. Cotto should have no real trouble with Judah's southpaw stance, having soundly beaten Carlos Quintana and DeMarcus Corley.