Former welterweight champion Zab Judah will make his ring return on July 16 at the Prudential Center in Newark. No opponent has been named.
Judah (38-6, 26 KO) has seen his career spiral since his January 2006 loss to Carlos Baldomir. Judah kept his money date with Floyd Mayweather Jr. that April, but lost that fight predictably. After a year off, he returned for a small fight on Friday Night Fights against Indiana club fighter Ruben Galvan, which was declared a no contest in the first round. Since then, Judah has lost to Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey, while running off wins over such non-contenders as Edwin Vazquez, Ryan Davis, Ernest Johnson and, most despicably, Ubaldo Hernandez.
Judah, 32, has talked often of returning to the junior welterweight division, calling out Devon Alexander and Juan Urango in recent times, and has also mentioned welterweight titlist Andre Berto on more than one occasion. He hasn't made 140 pounds since December 2003, so it's unlikely. He also hasn't beaten a credible opponent since his rematch with Cory Spinks in 2005.
There aren't any big name options at 147 available for July, but there could be some good fights made. July 16 is also a Friday, and ESPN2 has no Friday Night Fights card set for that date, so it's possible this could wind up there. I wouldn't mind seeing Judah against 23-year-old Antwone Smith, for instance. Veteran Randall Bailey is always up to fight anybody. David Estrada recently surprised a lot of people with a pretty dominant win over Orlando Lora, and if Judah is looking for a pure tune-up fight (which is what he's always looking for, to be honest), that one might make sense.
Or maybe Judah will fight another can.
I really do wish Zab would get more active in the ring, because it's not like I don't watching him fight. The fact that I'm not a fan is irrelevant. He puts on entertaining fights and still has a lot of talent. He's past his prime by a good bit, and he'll never get that back, but he's still in that little bubble between contender and gatekeeper.
We'll find out soon enough who Judah will be fighting, or even if he really plans to fight on July 16 or not.