Vernon Paris is, for all intents and purposes, an unknown to anyone but diehard boxing fans. Zab Judah's been shouted out in a Wu-Tang Clan song. But oddsmakers have installed the 24-year-old from Detroit as a very slight favorite ahead of their Saturday night fight in Brooklyn, Judah's hometown.
As we discussed in the fight preview, this is a tough fight to call entirely because there are so many questions about both fighters, for very different reasons. Paris has never gone past eight rounds. Judah, at 34, is well past his best years. But is he still too much for the inexperienced Paris?
If ever a fight was begging for the Teddy Atlas "deep waters" analysis, this would be it. Judah should still be able to take Paris late into the fight, scheduled for a full 12 rounds as it is an IBF eliminator, and if he does, Paris' already questionable stamina could be a major factor.
But what if Vernon starts fast? Surely he'll intend to, as one of Zab's biggest problems in recent years has been lacking, seemingly, the desire to gut it out in a tough fight. He basically pulled himself out against Joshua Clottey, losing a close decision in nine rounds in 2008, and last year, many thought he wanted out against Amir Khan.
There's not a lot more to say here. I'm genuinely intrigued by this fight and think we're going to learn what's left with Zab, and what's real with Paris.
On the undercard, 5Dimes has Siarhei Liakhovich at -140 against Bryant Jennings (+125), while Tomasz Adamek is, as you would expect, a gross favorite (-2100, -2250) against Nagy Aguilera (+1280, +950).
Bad Left Hook will have live coverage of the triple-header starting tonight at 10 p.m. EDT. And don't forget we'll have simultaneous round-by-round coverage of the Erik Morales vs Danny Garcia show on HBO at 10:15 p.m. EDT, headed by Brent Brookhouse.