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Zab Judah Thinks he can Beat Manny Pacquiao and Wants the Fight

I used to be a huge Zab Judah fan for a simple reason — he has Jewish roots and was shouted out in a Wu Tang song. That’s about as unbeatable of a combination as possible. But Zab went from being a promising southpaw in the light welterweight division to someone who lacked focus and a proper work ethic to succeed. He lost three fights in a row from 2006-2007, falling to Carlos Baldomir, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Miguel Cotto. Three fights later, he lost to Joshua Clottey. While the losses to Floyd and Cotto were understandable, Zab is too good to have ever lost to guys like Baldomir and Clottey, but that’s what happened.

Zab has said he’s rededicating himself to the sweet science and has put together a nice run of five straight victories, including a split decision win over Lucas Matthyesse in November. Super Judah now has two light welterweight belts and apparently has his goals set pretty high. Not surprisingly, he wants a piece of Manny Pacquiao, though not for a lack of respect.

Judah told Boxing Scene that though he respects Pacquiao and what Manny has done, he’d like to get with Manny in the ring because he knows he can beat him. He says the matchup of speed and southpaws would be intriguing, but I think Manny would own him.

Though I respect Zab’s lofty goals, I feel like he’s in a long line of fighters who want their shot at Manny. Why is that? Because Pacquiao’s the most popular figure in the sport, and a fight against him brings major guaranteed money and publicity. There’s no shame in losing to Manny and at least you get compensated handsomely. If you win, then you’ve done something historic. Fighting Pacquiao is a win-win proposition for any of his potential opponents.

Tom Zbikowski Boxing Again in 2 Weeks

Baltimore Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski improved to 2-0 in his professional boxing career with a first-round win over Richard Bryant Saturday. If the first-round knockout didn’t convince you that Bryant was a bum, maybe the news that Zbikowski will be fighting again in two weeks should.

Zbikowski announced on both his twitter and facebook account that he has another fight set up for March 26th in Atlantic City. The card will be on HBO and feature the following four fights:

Yuriorkis Gamboa (19-0) vs. Jorge Solis (40-2-2)
Miguel Garcia (24-0) vs. Matt Remillard (23-0)
Jorge Diaz (15-0) vs. Teon Kennedy (16-0-1)
Glen Tapia (8-0) vs. Eberto Medina (5-5)

Zbikowski will fit in on the undercard in some capacity, and I’m sure it will be another cupcake opponent. Like I said, Bob Arum is going to try and ride the Tommy train as long as he can until the NFL figures out its labor situation. He’s moving quickly.

Tommy Zbikowski Scores 1st Round Knockout of Richard Bryant on Body Shot

Ravens safety Tommy Zbikowski is now 2-0 in his professional boxing career after beating Richard Bryant with a first-round knockout in Las Vegas Saturday evening. Bryant was belted squarely beneath the ribcage (as you can see in the picture above) and was knocked out for the count 1:45 into the fight. The first-round victory marked Zbikowski’s second first-round knockout of his career, but it didn’t come without questions.

First off, Zbikowski took way too many shots in the fight. He was hit several times by a below average opponent who’s now 1-3 — that shouldn’t happen against inferior competition and it makes me think Zbikowski could use a lot more training on his defense. Secondly, there was a delayed reaction from Bryant after the body shot raising questions about the legitimacy of the knockdown.

I don’t dispute that Zbikowski hurt Bryant badly with the shot straight to the chest, but I wonder how Bryant could have been damaged enough to be knocked out, yet well enough to throw two more punches after absorbing the blow. Does that make much sense to you? Maybe it was just a delayed reaction to a massive strike, but it leaves me with a few questions. Either way, Zbikowski moves to 2-0 while Bryant falls to 1-3. One can’t help but figure Bob Arum will ride the Zbikowski train until the NFL’s labor issues are solved. Because of his football roots, he’ll be a draw regardless of the low quality of opponent he faces.

Ricardo Mayorga Loses to Miguel Cotto After Dislocating Thumb, Retires

Ricardo Mayorga hung with Miguel Cotto for 11 rounds of their bout Saturday evening in Las Vegas before succumbing in the 12th. The Nicaraguan mauler gave Cotto everything he had but got his hand caught as the fighters exchanged hooks and got his thumb dislocated. Mayorga was knocked down on the exchange by Cotto, beat the count, but later told the referee he could not continue.

The initial reaction from fans was that Mayorga quit in the fight, but we later learned he dislocated his thumb on the exchange. Steve Kim at Max Boxing was all over the injury, observing that “It looks like Mayorga may have dislocated his left arm in that exchange. He calls the fight off because of it.” It turned out that Mayorga dislocated his thumb, saying post-fight “I felt my thumb touch the back of my hand. I hate the way this fight ended.” The judges all had Cotto up 107-102 (eight rounds to three) at the time of the TKO.

After the fight, Mayorga announced in his interview that he planned to retire. Mayorga is 38 years old, had taken two years off from ’08-’10, and is now 1-1 since returning. He’s now 29-8 in his career, still a showman, but maybe feels like he’s had enough. I’m guessing the injury and loss contributed to his feeling and I wouldn’t hold him to his word. He may change his view in time.

David Haye to Finally Face Wladimir Klitschko with Vitali as Backup Plan

The waiting game of almost two years finally came to an end on Sunday: David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko agreed to fight this summer. Though this fight lacks the attention and publicity the elusive Pacquiao-Mayweather fight has received, it’s one fans have been waiting for since 2009.

Haye pulled out of his 2009 fight with Wladimir citing an injury concern. He later negotiated a fight with Vitali Klitschko, never signed, and instead beat Nikolai Valuev to win his belt. Since then, Haye has talked all sorts of nonsense saying the Klitschkos were avoiding him while Wlad responded calling him a chicken (read the whole timeline here). At long last, the game is over.

The fight is set to take place June 25th or July 2nd at a European location. But here’s the best part: there is injury insurance that guarantees Haye will fight one of the Klitschkos. If Wlad gets hurt and pulls out as he’s done frequently, Vitali will step in for the bout. Does it get much better than that as far as tag team partners go?

The Klitschkos are based out of the Ukraine while Haye is British, so it appears as if the mutual location for the fight will be Germany. All I know is that I’ll believe this fight is on when I see the bell ring, but I will add it will be quite cool to see the Klitschko brothers own all four major boxing belts by the end of the year.

Oscar De La Hoya Thinks Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. Fight Will Happen

It’s the fight we’ve all been waiting for patiently since 2009 — Floyd Mayweather Jr. against Manny Pacquiao. In fact, it’s the boxing matchup of the century that even has its own category here at LBS. And the good news is Mayweather’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy, believes the mega-fight will go down eventually.

Speaking to Reuters on a conference call, De La Hoya said “I believe that fight will take place. I believe Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao understand that it has to take place. They are the best fighters out there and I feel they both really want this fight to happen. When the time comes, people will enjoy a tremendous fight because styles make fights.”

De La Hoya predictably said he thinks Mayweather would win the fight (as if he’s really going to say he thinks Bob Arum’s fighter will). The two areas where I question Oscar is when he says both fighters understand the fight has to happen, and when he says he thinks both boxers want the fight to happen.

With some of Floyd’s recent displays including mocking Pacquiao on Facebook, I really don’t think he believes the fight has to happen, and I don’t think he wants it to. Though it appeared as if the sides were in heavy negotiation before conflicts over drug testing came in the way (for which I blame Manny), it does not seem like Floyd has any real interest in the fight. If he wanted it to happen, they would be discussing it instead of a Pacquiao-Mosley no-contest.

I just hope for fight fans’ sake that Oscar is right. The good news is if Oscar is talking about it with optimism. Maybe he knows something we don’t.

Tom Zbikowski Fighting on Mayorga-Cotto Undercard in Las Vegas

Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski may be the first NFL player to cash in as a professional athlete in another sport once the lockout becomes official. The former Notre Dame star will be added to the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga undercard on March 12th to fight his second professional bout, as Pro Football Talk reported.

Zbikowski has a deep boxing background, having begun fighting at the age of nine and amassing a 75-15 record as an amateur. Back in 2006, he fought his first professional fight knocking out Robert Bell 49 seconds into the first round. Zbikowski was still a defensive back and special teams player at Notre Dame during his first fight and he had some of his Fighting Irish teammates supporting him in his corner.

This time around, Tommy will be an injury replacement for Christy Martin who was attempting a comeback to the ring at the age of 43. According to BoxingScene.com, Martin had to pull out because of broken ribs suffered during training.

Dan Rafael reports that Zbikowski, who first fought as a heavyweight, will box as a cruiserweight on the 12th. Only two obstacles remain before the fight can officially be schedule. One, the Nevada State Athletic Commission needs to approve Tommy’s request for a boxing license. Two, the lockout needs to happen so he’ll be free from his contract with the Baltimore Ravens. I’m sure both will happen without a problem and I can’t wait to see him in the ring.