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Zab Judah eyes September return

37-year-old Zab Judah is looking to end his long layoff and continue his career back in the junior welterweight division.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Zab Judah (42-9, 29 KOs) hasn't fought a professional round since December 2013, when he lost a unanimous decision to the now likely-to-retire Paulie Malignaggi. Prior to his ugly showing against the Magic man, Zab lost another unanimous decision to the man who just prompted Malignaggi's likely retirement in Danny Garcia. Judah, once a junior welterweight star, is 1-3 in his last four fights.

While many were assuming this run to be indicative of the inevitable retirement of Judah, he has instead signed a deal with promoter Greg Cohen, who will work with Super Judah Promotions to put on his fights. Zab aims to return the 140lb division, where he once made a lot of noise, in September. An opponent is still being sought after two have reportedly dropped out on him.

"I am overjoyed to be adding a superstar of Zab's caliber to my promotional roster," Cohen said. "Zab has been in with every great fighter of this era and beaten many of them. He is a Brooklyn boxing legend and still a force to be reckoned with at 140 pounds. He still has the speed and reflexes of a top fighter, and after a few comeback appearances, he will be ready for another assault on the current kings of the division."

Having the tools has never been much of a problem for Judah. He's always had talent and skills. But it seems that Judah has always been his own worst enemy in the ring, failing to hold it together mentally against his most notable opponents. This Achilles heal of Judah's caused him to take a fair amount of punishment over the years, which, in my eyes, began showing itself in his recent lackluster performances.

But since training and sparring with Floyd Mayweather in preparation for the Manny Pacquiao fight, Zab says he's feeling rejuvenated, fresh, in great shape, and sharp enough to still compete with the top guys.

"After the Mayweather camp for Pacquiao, I got my body in great condition and in great shape," Judah said. "I found a new love for the sport. My last fight with Paulie, I didn't show up how I was supposed to show up, and you saw what happened.

"Sept. 20 will mark my [19th] anniversary as a pro. I'm still here, still have my faculties, still quick, still can go at a high level. I'm only 37. Mayweather is older than me. You just got to put in the hard work and dedication. After training with Floyd, I felt excellent. I left out of that camp in top-notch shape. I was ready to go, and I will be ready to go for my fight."

Zab has a stated goal of winning another championship before retiring. Do you think he has any chance of grabbing a strap before hanging 'em up?

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