Zab Judah knows all about being the "can’t miss" boxing prospect.
The Brooklyn native took the sport by storm over a decade ago in the junior welterweight division. After starting his professional career 27-0, the wheels started to come off for Judah in 2001 when he was knocked out by Kostya Tszyu.
Following the fight, Judah incited a riot in the ring, which resulted in a six-month suspension and $75,000 fine. Five years later, a similar incident occurred during a match with Floyd Mayweather Jr., which resulted in a year-long suspension. Despite the setbacks, Judah, now 33, has managed to claw his way back up the junior welterweight division.
On Saturday, Judah will step in the ring with today’s can’t-miss prospect, Amir Khan, for the WBA Super & IBF light welterweight titles. BET.com spoke with Judah about his HBO fight with Khan and why he’s refusing to speak with the British media.
How is training camp going?
Training camp is going good. We’re working hard and really focused. We are very pleased with how everything has turned out. I’m very anxious and excited for Saturday night.
Is 140 pounds your ideal weight?
Yes, 140 pounds is. I make it comfortably. I’m pretty solid and this is the weight class I’ll be at.
What role has your trainer, Pernell Whitaker, played since joining your camp?
Pernell was a master defensive fighter. He’s a great strategist and he brings to the game a lot of great light and energy. It’s great to be working with him.
Do you think you’ve managed to get under the skin of Amir Khan with your back-and-forth talk?
I’m a man of love and peace. I don’t think I got under Amir Khan’s skin. That’s not my goal or anything to that effect. I’m just looking forward to getting in there. As a fighter, when you get into great shape and you get into great condition, your words might come out a little different. It’s just a form of confidence. I’m very confident in the situation that I’m in right now. No disrespect to Amir Khan and Amir Khan’s family.
Can you explain why you aren’t speaking with the British press prior to this fight?
The situation was blown out of proportion. During the negotiations, Amir Khan used the U.K. revenue as a way to back out of the fight. He tried to threaten me if I wanted to take any of the money from the U.K. revenue that [we] weren’t going to fight. I said if you were going to take all the U.K. revenue, I don’t think it’s right for Zab Judah and Team Judah promotions to do any promotional obligations in the U.K. I’m a fighter — I’ve fought in the UK before. I love the U.K. I vacation over there. No disrespect to them, but that’s just the way Team Khan and Golden Boy has made it.
If Amir Kahn is your appetizer, who is the entrée? Or is this a three-course meal? Is there a soup or salad before we get to the main entree?
Right now, I’m not even thinking about what the entrée is going to be. I’m just hungry right now. I just want my appetizer. After my appetizer, then I will look at the menu again to see what the main entrée is.
What are your thoughts about Timothy Bradley?
Timothy Bradley is a good fighter. Great hand speed, good movement.
Is he someone you could face down the road?
I don’t know. I’m not even thinking about those situations right now. All I’m thinking about is Amir Khan on July 23.
(Photo: Kristian Dowling/Getty Images for Jose Cuervo)