One thing I try to do with Bad Left Hook above all else is maintain some level of professionalism, and to be respectful of anyone that steps into the ring. Boxers are brave men and women who go into a dangerous environment to earn paychecks and fight for fame and fortune and glory and sometimes just to put food on the plate.
But I'm also just a boxing fan. That's the long and short of why this blog exists: I love boxing, I love the athletes and the sport itself. I love everything about the competition, the one-on-one nature of it, the history, the prestige you can still find if you're willing to look for it.
This is strictly the boxing fan in me speaking.
I've said a million times on this blog that Zab Judah has never been a favorite of mine. I've enjoyed watching him fight. He's got a lot of talent and hey, sports need villains. Zab was such a good villain he made people root for Floyd Mayweather Jr.
That takes talent.
But the key word is "was." Judah now is a big-talking, no-action loudmouth that doesn't back up his words. The former junior welterweight and welterweight world champion has now pulled out of the September 19 Mayweather-Marquez undercard, claiming his opponent isn't good enough and neither is the money.
He's not a fighter anymore. He's a boxing faux celebrity.
This is the same Zab Judah that didn't prepare properly for Carlos Baldomir and wound up out-worked and out-hustled by a far, far lesser fighter, losing arguably the decade's biggest upset in 2006. His already-planned fight with Mayweather was next, and he incited a near-riot with repeated low blows.
After a year out of the sport, Judah "fought" Ruben Galvan on ESPN2 for a couple minutes, the bout ending in a no-contest. Miguel Cotto beat him down next. He's since beaten journeymen like Ryan Davis, Edwin Vazquez and Ernest Johnson, and also lost last year to Joshua Clottey, when he had the fight stopped due to a cut, seemingly because he felt he was ahead on the scorecards. He was wrong.
Oh, and let's not forget he pulled out of a fight last May with Shane Mosley when he got into a brawl with a shower door.
What's he done this year? He agreed to fight Matthew Hatton, a famously-named welterweight pretender who would have been no challenge for an on-point Judah, then backed off, claiming he wanted to fight him at 140 pounds, a weight Judah hasn't made in years, a weight at which Hatton has never fought. When Hatton rightly told Judah to screw off, Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions slotted in veteran Antonio Diaz.
Now, Judah says Diaz isn't good enough. "What's he ever done?" Judah wonders.
What have you done lately, Zab? Judah may be realizing his place in the boxing world is this: The opening fight of a four-fight pay-per-view against an opponent that is barely relevant. Why? Because Judah is barely relevant. All he has now is a name and past accomplishments. He hasn't beaten a top-ranked fighter since 2005, when he defeated Cory Spinks. Since then, the best win on his sheet is Cosme Rivera.
Let that sink in.
Judah bailing on a big show like this puts his career not just near the dumpster, but buried in the middle of it somewhere. He was already fading. Now, his ego has become such a detriment that he's burned bridges again with his "friend" Mayweather, who was doing Judah a favor by insisting he be on this show in the first place. He's also going to have pissed off co-promoter Golden Boy.
But don't worry, Zab fans. Super Judah Promotions is coming along just fine. I hear they're about ready to compete with powerhouses Left Hook Promotions and Calzaghe Promotions.
Judah is calling out Manny Pacquiao, Juan Diaz and Andre Berto. I hope neither fighter ever gives him the time of day. He doesn't deserve it, hasn't earned it, and belongs in the professional doghouse now. All he wants are paydays. He doesn't want to earn his way back into the limelight. He just wants the money. But he doesn't want to fight.
I hope everyone obliges him. His irrelevance is his own doing.