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Cautious Judah stops Green
by Chris Bushnell

January 13, 2001
Z ab Judah easily defended his IBF 140 lb. title by coasting past veteran Reggie Green for most of 10 rounds. Reggie Green had a solid, if unspectacular, gameplan. He simply fired a straight right hand into Judah's chest and arms all night long. Judah's gameplan was simply to improvise. At times, Judah threw his trademark speedy combinations with a surprising crispness. But mostly he was content to use his feet and feint for minutes at a time. It was a safe plan, although it was met with loud disapproval by the live crowd. Twice, veteran ref Arthur Mercante Sr. actually had to call time and demand that the fighters throw punches. After one such warning, Judah unleashed his best flurry of the night. But Green was rarely phased by Judah's power, or quickness, and when Judah would stop throwing, Green would mechanically return to punching him in the chest.

The fight slowed in the later rounds, as Judah boxed more and occasionally showboated. The crowd tried to stay awake by chanting "Reg-gie," but it was not to be. In the tenth, Judah slipped one of Green's rights and nailed him with a beautiful counter left. Green stood motionless, out on his feet. Judah sent him down with another left, although he could have sneezed and tipped Green over. Reggie made it to his feet, wobbling a few steps forward, then a few steps back. Mercante let him continue, and Judah literally leaped at him with a right hook lead. The punch swiveled Green's head and his knees collapsed. Fight over without a count.

Judah (now 26-0/20) probably did the right thing... he didn't take any chances against a cagey ex-sparring partner because he has a May 19 date locked in against the winner of Tszyu-Mitchell. But he didn't win any fans, either. Judah really hasn't had a defining fight, but he really hasn't put much effort into his end of the bargain, either. If Judah wants to be called "pound for pound," he needs to outclass opponents that aren't in his class. Green isn't in his class, so why was this such a stinker?

-Reggie Green said before the fight that a loss would lead to his retirement. He lost. Green is now 33-5/16, but probably put up a good enough showing to convince himself he should continue.

-Before the fight, referee Arthur Mercante was honored for having now refereed, both in the amateur and pro ranks, in seven different decades. A representative from the Mohegan Sun surprised Mercante in the ring with an original Leroy Neiman sketch of Mercante leading Frazier to a neutral corner after having dropped Ali in the Garden. Mercante was pretty choked up.

-The undercard saw the pro debut of two 2000 Olympians. Rocky Juarez outpointed awkward southpaw Pascali Adorno in a four-rounder. Juarez looked a little tired after four rounds, and needs to keep his chin tucked... but looked decent. Much more impressive was Mexican Olympic team member Panchito Bojado. Of course, his opposition was an 0-1 fighter. Still, Bojado displayed an aggressive crowd-pleasing style with combos upstairs and down. His victim was down once in the first, then in round two took a savage pounding in the corner before wilting under the barrage. Bojado has "Boxing After Dark" written all over him... sorry Showtime.

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