View Full Version : Cotto vs. Judah Prefight Press and Predictions
Judah signs for Cotto fight!
Zab Judah has just left Top Rank headquarters in Las Vegas after signing to face Miguel Cotto on HBO June 9. "It's a 5-round fight...That's what I need to get it done," said Judah. "Then, I will take Cotto's WBA belt, go to the Puerto Rican parade, demand to be the Grand Marshall, invite my man Tito Trinidad to sit next to me and I'm going right down the parade route and hold up the title belt real high." www.fightnews.com
02-15-2007, 05:56 PM
This should be a good one for as long as it lasts, because it's not going the distance. I just hope neither one of them gets injured during training so the fight actually comes to fruition. Both have suspect chins and both can bang, Cotto to the body especially. Very interesting.
02-16-2007, 12:37 AM
Judahs hand speed will give Cotto problems. But Cotto eventually catches up with him. I agree both do have suspect chins , but Cotto has shown the ability to come back when hurt, and I believe his chin is better than Judah's.
A good fight for Cotto, a good move at this point, he should learn alot from Judah. .
02-16-2007, 09:26 PM
I agree with Ricky. Judah has all the tools to give Cotto tons of problems but Cotto is miles ahead in heart & confidence. Cotto will overcome Judah in a tough fight. Great matchup.
02-17-2007, 10:39 AM
Zab's a front runner. He'll look like a million bucks for about 15 minutes and then he'll falter like he does in almost every fight he has ever had against the top opposition.
Zab's problem is that he doesn't seem to be able to maintain focus and he doesn't always have the best stamina. The only time I think he finally put everything together was against Cory Spinks in St. Louis. On that night Zab was awesome, but that, I think, was his prime fight and that was the night we will look back on and say, "He was at his peak on that night."
Cotto will have a hard time with Zab early but eventually he'll start landing those bombs of his. The guy has granite bricks in his gloves if you asked me. Zab won't be able to handle the pressure and the bodyshots and the hard shots and he'll begin to lose focus.
I'll say Cotto by stoppage in the 9th or 10th.
03-26-2007, 10:35 PM
Does anyone else see this as a disaster for Cotto?
Judah is crazy quick, and Cotto gets hit a lot when he commits to the body real heavy. Cotto has not faced many big hitters, and Judah's no slouch.
I really look for Judah to de-rail Cotto.
03-28-2007, 08:39 PM
Cotto KO 10.
Judah drops a load in his pants after five rounds. Zab is hittable. Cotto is so strong and punches so hard.
Zab will look good...no, make that great - for the first several rounds.
Then Zab runs out of gas, pisses his pants and gets knockoed out.
03-29-2007, 12:14 PM
Cotto W12. Judah holds his own for the first half of the fight, but Cotto's body shots take their toll in the long run. Too strong for Judah now.
06-06-2007, 05:33 PM
Cotto Promises To Destroy Judah
By Michael Woods from Sweet Science
For Zab Judah to remain as a relevant earner in the sport, he must beat Miguel Cotto on June 9th in New York. Virtually no one outside of his family and his often profane and passionate fan base thinks Judah can withstand more than six rounds of Cotto whacking away at his torso before he succumbs, like he did in 2001 against Kostya Tszyu. But if there were ever a time when Judah was on message, and in a zone where he comprehends that his professional window may be closing on him, it is now.
The 29-year-old Brooklyn native lost to Carlos Baldomir to kick off a dreadful 2006, and followed that with the Mayweather Melee loss three months after that. After a year suspension for his role in the tenth round meltdown, Judah came back against Ruben Galvan in Mississippi, but that fight didn’t get out of the first round, as Galvan was cut from a butt, and the fight deemed a no contest.
Will Judah be too rusty to stave off one of boxing’s most determined forward movers, the offensively minded Puerto Rican who, his promoter Bob Arum hopes, reaches the level of mass popularity that fellow Puerto Rican Tito Trinidad enjoyed from 1998-2001?
The WBA welterweight titlist Cotto, on a media conference call on Wednesday afternoon—and we have a sworn statement from Top Rank swearing that it really was Cotto!—said that he’s expecting Judah to be at the top of his game. Nevertheless, the Caguas Killer says his strength will prove to be the overriding decider on June 9.
“Does he have the stamina to stay with the same power for twelve rounds? I’ve had the best camp of my life, I feel in good shape. Zab needs to win to put his career working again, but it’s my time, I’m going to destroy Zab on June 9th.”
Cotto wouldn’t tab Zab as his toughest foe to date, stating that he’ll know if that is the case on June 10th.
Cotto said he isn’t living in the past, and isn’t unhappy that Judah will be across from him on June 9 at MSG, and not WBO welter champion Antonio Margarito.
“Margarito chose to fight another opponent for less money,” Cotto said. “That was the problem there.”
Bob Arum chimed in, saying that bygones are bygones, and besides, Margarito has agreed, if he gets past Paul Williams (and that is by no means a sure bet) on July 14, that he will meet Cotto (if Cotto handles Judah). That consolidation fight would happen in November or December, Arum said.
SPEEDBAG Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fights Grover Wiley on the June 9 undercard. Wiley (30-9-1) beat Chavez’ pop in dad’s last fight, in 2005, so it figures that sonny boy will be looking for blood. Arum said he’d like to match Chavez Junior against Arturo Gatti.
I should say, dad’s “last fight.” You never know, until the coffin is glued shut…
--Arum took a slap at ODLH, Mayweather and Jermain Taylor when he promised “there’ll be no dancing, no businessmen fighting. You asked Miguel’s plans for the future. He said he’ll fight anyone we put in front of him. He’s a fighter, not a businessman like some of the guys you’ll see. Boxing needs not take a back seat to anyone, not any mixed martial arts event.”
--The Garden and Top Rank opened up 3,000 mezzanine seats, at $50, to meet demand. The show will sell out, Arum said.
06-06-2007, 05:48 PM
He's Zab Judah, You Know What I'm Sayin'?
by TK Stewart
Listen to Zab “Super” Judah talk and you realize right away that his tongue moves as fast as his fists. Nothing about Zab Judah is slow and even his life seems to be lived at hyper-speed.
His boxing career has gone by so quickly that it doesn’t seem possible that he turned pro 11 years ago at age 18. But in those 11 years, Zab Judah has crammed in a lifetime of living and fighting. And come Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, when he meets the dangerous punching, destroyer from Puerto Rico named Miguel Cotto, Zab is going to have to continue moving fast if he wants to keep his career in boxing alive.
HBO boxing blow-by-blow man Jim Lampley smiles from ear-to-ear when he’s asked to describe Brooklyn, New York native Judah. “He can talk. He has a great smile. He’s fun to be around. Zab has the kind of personality that can get your attention,” says Lampley.
Judah’s rat-a-tat words come out of his mouth as fast as he delivers his rapid fire punches. Despite having suffered the highs and lows of the boxing game, Zab is never at a loss to describe himself or what tools he’ll use to whip the undefeated, WBA welterweight titlist Cotto when the two meet in the ring.
One thing about Zab is that he is constantly looking for your acceptance that you know what he is saying. Let Zab tell you about himself: “Yo, I got handspeed. I got power. I’m mean. You know what I’m sayin’? I’m mad. I want vengeance. I got somethin’ to get. You know what I’m sayin’?”
Judah was blessed from the beginning with the rare blend of speed, quickness, power and athleticism that few professional boxers will ever have. He was reared in a boxing family and he was a young prodigy that was sensational as an amateur and his success continued right on into the pro ranks. When he is focused and up to the task at hand he is as good as any fighter you’ll see. His only real problem has been the fact that he loses his focus after a few rounds and he tends to think that he’s got a fight won before it is half over.
If title fights were only six rounds, Zab Judah would be champion forever, because in the first few rounds of any of his fights he is as close to a perfect fighting machine as there is. Zab manhandled the great Kostya Tszyu in the first round of their November 2001 unification fight and he nearly blew Tszyu clear out of the ring in the first three minutes. But then, the fight unraveled for him.
“I came back to the corner after the first round,” describes Judah. “I said to my corner ‘Yo, I got this dude yo.’ And my father was like, “No! Keep your hands up and stay focused and handle your business first!” And I’m like, ‘Yeah, alright, whatever.’ I go out there, drop my hands, start backin’ up, lookin’ pretty, you know what I’m sayin’? I go backwards and he caught me – Bop!”
Judah was caught square on the chin with an unbelievably straight, accurate and powerful right hand from Tszyu and down he went. He jumped up immediately and then fell down again, at which point referee Jay Nady waived the fight off. “People that know me - my will and my heart – doesn’t allow me to sit on no ground,” says Judah. “You know what I’m sayin’? So I jumped up and my equilibrium wasn’t good yet.”
He’s blazed his way to titles in both the 140 and 147 pound divisions as well as a record of 34-4 (25) KO. Because of his youth, many thought that Zab Judah would be the fighter that would rule boxing for many years. But, he has served two lengthy suspensions from boxing and also has had to pay two hefty fines. The first suspension was for six months and it was handed down after Zab tried to attack referee Jay Nady because Judah thought that Nady waived off the fight with Tszyu too quickly.
In April of 2006, after his fight with Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Judah was suspended for a year and fined again for his role in a 10th round melee that involved himself, his father and several members of Mayweather’s corner. Again, Judah outclassed, outfought and showed glaring flashes of brilliance early against Mayweather and he won most of the early rounds of the fight. But then somehow, the ball of energy and talent that is Zab Judah unraveled yet again and he lost a unanimous decision.
When asked about what the year-long suspension after the Mayweather fight meant to him, Zab was realistic and he was not bitter. “I wanna’ thank the Nevada Commission ‘cause they helped me man, you know what I’m sayin’? They put me on a little time out. It got me good, it got my mind right. It got me a chance to shake off a couple of battles. It got me good, you know what I’m sayin’?”
Judah has grown up in the ring and in front of the eyes of boxing fans. At age 29 he could be poised to claim his spot on the pound-for-pound list if he can make it by Cotto.
He can do it and he has proved it to us before. Zab never looked better than the night when he beat former welterweight champion Cory Spinks in Spinks’ hometown of St. Louis in February 2005. Judah was relentless that night and he stopped Spinks in the 9th round. That was the fight that the Zab Judah that many had been waiting to appear for years finally emerged. It was the one night that he put it all together.
But Judah’s reign was short-lived, as in his very next fight he ended up losing to the then unknown Carlos Baldomir by way of a split decision in the The Theater in the basement of Madison Square Garden. Judah blamed the loss on his then promoter Don King because, as Zab claimed, “Don had me all over town promoting the fight, you know what I’m sayin’? I was worn out, yo!”
Through it all, Judah has never lost faith in himself or his ability. “No matter what you do to me you can’t keep me down,” says Zab. “I’m going to pop up and come back somehow, you know what I’m sayin’?”
In taking on Cotto, who has a record of 29-0 (24)KO there is real danger for Zab. The expressionless Cotto breaks bones when his punches land and he is the type of marching ahead, pressure fighter that never stops coming forward and he is dangerous throughout a fight. His punches sound like a car door being slammed and they land with thuds that have broken cheekbones, jaws, ribs and even the shoulder of one of his opponents. He folds guys up like a cheap lawn chair when he lands his hook to the body. As a 147-pound puncher, Miguel Cotto is as scary and as imposing a fighter as you will find.
Zab, however, sees Cotto differently. “He’s a decent fighter, you know what I’m sayin’? You know what I mean? He’s basic. Takin’ nothing away from him. One thing that I’ll give him, the best asset that he’s got going for him, he’s a strong mental person, you know what I’m sayin’? He determined, he’s goin’ to keep tryin’. Miguel Cotto is a fighter. He’s not goin’ to lay down. You gotta’ put him down. I’m gonna’ put him down.”
The fight appears to have captured the imagination of the New York boxing crowd. The fight is already a near sellout at Madison Square Garden as hoards of Puerto Rican fans will be rooting for Cotto while large numbers are also expected to turn out to see if Zab can make Brooklyn proud. More seats had to be made available in the Garden and it’s the first time in six years that the upper mezzanine has been opened for a boxing match.
“Naturally we are ecstatic, but not totally surprised,” said promoter Bob Arum about the demand for tickets. “We’ve been grooming and showcasing Miguel Cotto at The Garden and on national television for years in preparation for exactly this circumstance. New York has embraced Miguel and this fight as proven by the action at the box office. I expect the same thing internationally with sales. This isn't going to be 'Dancing with the Stars,' it's a real fight and the fans know it. This fight is generating the same buzz we had for the Roberto Duran versus Davey Moore fight 24 years ago.”
As for Judah, he’s excited to be fighting in the big room at Madison Square Garden and in front of his hometown people. He feels Cotto is made for his style. “It’s gonna’ be even better for me ‘cause he’s a fighter I can close my eyes and hit all day because he’s not going to go nowhere, you know what I’m sayin’? He’s young, he’s macho, he’s hungry, he’s got that swagger with him right now, you know what I’m sayin’? He’s the Puerto Rican king right now. With Tito being gone right now he’s thinkin’ he’s the king right now. But I’m gonna’ show him, you know what I’m sayin’?”
Yes Zab, we know what you’re saying.
TK Stewart is a 2005 and 2006 Boxing Writers Association of America Barney Award winner
06-06-2007, 05:57 PM
A Kinder, Gentler Judah?
By Michael Woods from Sweet Science
We’ve taken him to task here at TSS, so let us take the opportunity to be the bastions of fairness and balance that we seek to be.
Zab Judah, the Brownsville bad boy, the excitable wild card who has been lashed for aiming to choke a ref, and instigating a scary midfight melee, proved himself to be a kinder, gentler, more mature version of self at the final press conference at Madison Square Garden prior to his Saturday bout with Miguel Cotto.
Here’s the deal: Judah did an interview Wednesday morning on a local NYC hip hop radio station, Hot 97. The show is called Miss Jones in the Morning, and it runs daily from 6AM-10 AM. Judah chatted about his WBA welterweight title bout against WBA champion Miguel Cotto, the Puerto Rican banger who is bidding to be elevated in the pound for pound mix (both in technical excellence, but also in profile and earning power). He chatted with the hostess, Tarsha Jones, and then some of the audience phoned in. The tone of the repartee took on a racial slant, with the Puerto Rican versus African American angle being played up.
At the press conference at MSG, Judah, who is trying to live down his year-ban at the hands of the Nevada State Athletic Commission for instigating a tenth round inter-camp/posse fracas during his April 8, 2006 bout with Floyd Mayweather, weighed in on the Miss Jones show scene. He made it abundantly clear that he sees his fight with Cotto not in racial terms, but as an athletic event, and a business proposition. There’s no need, Judah said, to go there. There’s no need to inject a race element into the promotion.
“At Hot 97, they got carried away,” said Judah, clad in shorts, backward ballcap and an Affliction sweatshirt. “People took it into a black, Spanish thing. I don’t want it to get into that. I’m from Brooklyn, I got plenty of Latino fans, got a lot of Puerto Rican fans. After Saturday, everything goes back to itself. And I’ll be the new champion.”
A public bravo goes to Judah from TSS for doing the right thing here, and not playing a race card that could stir up the proverbial pot and boost the number$.
Check back here a little later for a fuller account of the PC….
06-06-2007, 08:22 PM
I'll be attending this fight. Anyone else from the board?
06-07-2007, 12:13 AM
Cotto-Judah: An Old Fashioned Garden Show
By Cliff Rold
In the moments leading up to the second Arturo Gatti-Mickey Ward fight, HBO went old school. They showed you the fighters in black and white, invoking the shadows of the 1950’s. This Saturday’s welterweight bout between Ring Magazine #3 Miguel Cotto (29-0, 24 KO) of Puerto Rico and former World welterweight champion Zab Judah (34-4, 25 KO, #5) of Brooklyn belong to even earlier technologies. To give fans the flavor of what Cotto-Judah is really all about, one would need to gather with their friends around the radio live and join them again a week later, dropping a dime in the till at their local movie theatre to see what they’d heard.
That’s how old-school this weekends affair is when you strip it to its roots. The setting, Madison Square Garden in New York City, has been the home of many fights like it. It’s an ethnic neighborhood fight on a grand scale. It’s BK versus Boricua and the fans, an expected 20,000 of them, will let the whole world know how much that means to them. The fact that it’s happening on the weekend of the Puerto Rican Day parade will only amplify that volume. This is the kind of match-up the old timers are talking about when names like Benny Leonard, Tony Canzoneri and Barney Ross slide off their tongues.
Those were the marquee names in the Garden’s grandest era. The people of the Irish, Italian and Jewish communities packing the rafters to see one of theirs stake his claim. Are the African-American and Puerto Rican communities going to be out in force, even in these politically correct times, to do the same this weekend? Absolutely and, from the look of things, we might all have a fight (if not the fighters) to live up to the old ghosts.
Of course, Cotto and Judah both have more at stake of course than community bragging rights could ever provide.
If the ghosts of old neighborhood battles are not enough, this weekend is also a classic of a more timeless quality. This is the ultimate crossroads fight. Judah, 29, has lost two of his last three and is more known for unfulfilled talent than his brief stay as king at 147 lbs. In the immediate wake of his February 2005 title-winning rematch victory over Cory Spinks, in Spinks home town of St. Louis no less, it was hard to believe Judah would be in this position less than two years later.
Enter one Carlos Baldomir circa January 2006. With a title defense against Floyd Mayweather already booked, Judah got thumped in a tune-up…err ‘mandatory’ against the Argentine. Twelve rounds later, his title was gone and so was much of the respect he’d found among the public. He still got the Mayweather bout and, while he fought well early, was further dismissed from the upper echelon of the sport.
Twenty years from now when Judah is brought up the best response will likely be a sighing “he was alright” if he’s brought up at all. This Saturday is Judah’s likely last real chance to show he's more than alright. His ledger against the three best fighters he has faced (Kostya Tszyu, Cory Spinks and Floyd Mayweather) is 1-3, with the Tszyu and Mayweather losses decisive. Another such loss to Cotto and Judah could sink him lower than alright, closer to whatever.
Cotto’s burdens this weekend are no less. A solid prizefighter to be sure, Cotto, 27, has two crosses to bear. The Puerto Rican fans demand of him that he be next in a line of the island’s greats, taking his place along side Wilfredo Gomez and Felix Trinidad. The sport demands that he become the superstar he was built to be. If the crowds he generates are any indication, Cotto may already have achieved the latter. Like Oscar de la Hoya before him, Bob Arum has masterfully moved Cotto to the brink.
However, legends are defined in history not by the money they generated but the men they defeated. On that count, Cotto’s mark at 140 and now 147 lbs. is adequate at best. He has beaten solid fare (Cesar Bazan, Kelson Pinto, Lovemore N’Dou, Ricardo Torres, and Carlos Quintana) but Judah is something different. For the first time, Cotto will enter the ring with a legitimate former World champion and a current top five fighter (N’Dou is rated in the top 5 at 140 now but was not when he faced Cotto).
He also enters the ring with some disadvantages. His foes have been a step behind the Tszyu’s and Mayweather’s, so the experience edge goes to Judah; so too do the advantages in speed and one-punch power. Cotto’s strengths are of a more subtle kind. He has shown greater maturity, focus and consistency than Judah. He has also shown, in bouts with Torres and DeMarcus Corley, that he can battle back when seriously hurt. Those moments of adversity bolster Judah supporters, who recognize that their man may have finished what others less talented than he started.
Altogether, these are the elements of a great fight, regardless of the day, year or century.
There are of course also very modern and immediate concerns as well. Cotto will be defending the alphabet belt (WBA) he won last December against Quintana with an eye locked already towards the fall.
Until he states that he has vacated the throne, Floyd Mayweather is still the one true welterweight champion. Cotto-Judah is, in that light, the first part of a four man run-off to create a mandate for a Mayweather fight or declare a successor should Floyd rule out a return to the division.
This drama will continue to unfold on July 14 when longtime #1 contender Antonio Margarito (34-4, 24 KO) of Mexico faces #10 Paul Williams (32-0, 24 KO) of Augusta, Georgia. The winner of that bout, allegedly, is contracted to face the winner of Cotto-Judah perhaps as early as September. The emergent force will be the rarest of commodities: a true mandatory to a champion. Or, should Floyd vacate, he will be the new undisputable king.
Neighborhoods…crossroads…championships…Madison Square Garden. ‘nuff said.
Hall of Fame: Not to be forgotten, this weekend also marks the inductions of Pernell Whitaker, Ricardo Lopez and Roberto Duran to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Lopez is easily the best fighter in the history of the straweight division, having defended that crown 20 times and retiring undefeated. Whitaker and Duran are arguably the two greatest lightweights ever. Due to conflicts with the fight in New York City this weekend, I likely won’t be able to get to Canastota so let me say early the only thing anyone should say to all three of these warriors: thank you.
Mail: Last weeks words on the overlooked status of Shannon Briggs as a former World heavyweight champion provoked strong sentiments among readers. Here’s my favorite of the bunch.
Jason Bobbitt of the UK wrote: Wow, and you talk about revisionist History? Well written piece, so please know my critique does NOT stem from that. You are obviously well educated and well respected in Boxing circles BUT c'mon!!! Who are you trying to convince with that Briggs wank-a-thon??? Briggs has His standing in eyes of the Boxing public for a reason. His Only BIG win is a loss, against a 45 year old man no matter what the record Books say. Anyone who saw that fight will never give Shannon any credit. It was a Robbery. Everything Briggs has done since then just helped cement his status as an average boxer with a big punch...Alot of young impressionable minds read this site. And I think your version of events, though factually accurate, none the less is an extreme case of Misinformation. (Note: My answer to Jason is that I noted the bad decision and never made a case for Briggs as a quality fighter. Jason is totally right on one point: My piece was factually accurate. Since it was an argument in favor purely of facts, that’s a compliment.)
The Ten-Second Bell: So is Joe Calzaghe-Mikkel Kessler happening or not? No declaration has been made, but there is no denying that it is a fascinating negotiations process. Calzaghe’s claim that he will travel to Denmark to defend his 168 lb. crown one-upped the hard to believe claims that Kessler was turning towards Roy Jones Jr. Have no doubts: this is the best fight that can be made in all of boxing and the ratcheting rhetoric is a positive sign…Just a thought but how cool would it be if HBO went double telecast and broadcast Jermain Taylor-Kelly Pavlik the same day as a Kessler-Calzaghe bout. Heck, I’d take them a week apart and happily see the victors dance for big dollars in 2008.
Call me crazy, but if Antonio Tarver looks good this weekend on Showtime, I’d be curious to see a rematch with Ring light heavyweight titlist Bernard Hopkins. The man is 4-0 in rematches and the Hopkins bout was as flat as he ever appeared. There’s evidence that his age has caught up to him, but if it hasn’t who knows?...That doesn’t mean I don’t want to see possible Tarver foe and WBC light heavyweight titlist Chad Dawson get a big fight. Dawson is a special talent. Maybe promoter Gary Shaw can get him lineal World light heavyweight champion Zsolt Erdei; I’d pay for that…Russia’s Sultan Ibragimov says he wants to be a true champion, what with his shiny new WBO heavyweight belt and all. He is, at the least, that man who beat the man etc. that last defeated Wladimir Klitschko. If Klitschko drops another ratings turd against Lamon Brewster this July like he did against Ray Austin, one wonders how HBO can continue to justify his pay without at least a fellow titlist like Ibragimov in the other corner.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com
I'll be attending too. :)
06-07-2007, 09:44 AM
Cottos an unknown in some ways, who knows how he performs on top level, but he seems a bit too mentally strong for Zab Joker.
Dunno if he has to come off the floor to do it, but i think he grinds down this unfeasibly baggy tee-shirt wearing homeboy at some point in the second half.
06-07-2007, 03:01 PM
A Walkover or a Superfight: Zab Judah’s Last Chance Against Miguel Cotto
By Mike “Rubber Warrior” Plunkett
They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Such as is the case with a professional prizefighter, regardless of his God-given talent. Years of baseline groundwork, toiling in gyms often in the shadows, largely unannounced, are at the core of any fighter’s career. Natural aptitude and extraordinary athleticism are indeed rare plusses, but it’s the years of hard work and dedication that determine the potential of any boxer.
Miguel Cotto is a prime example of a natural talent that has put in his time. Born in Puerto Rico, Cotto spent years as a youngster learning his craft at the Bairoa Gym where ultimately over time he developed into a top amateur fighter. After experiencing success on the international level at various competitions, he represented his homeland at the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a light welterweight. After an early round points loss, Cotto turned professional in early 2001.
Cotto developed as a professional at what could be described as a somewhat accelerated rate. In his 10th professional match, just sixteen months into his career, he turned back the challenge of grizzled ring veteran Justin Juuko. Not long after that, in his 14th start, he stopped former WBC Lightweight Champion Cesar Bazan, serving notice to all that he indeed was a developing and gifted force in the sport, one worthy of being watched by all closely.
After a series of notable wins over various junior welterweight contenders such as Victoriano Sosa and future WBA Light Welterweight Champion Carlos Maussa, Cotto positioned himself for a title opportunity against undefeated Kelson Pinto for the vacant WBO Light Welterweight Title. Pinto, undefeated with an imposing 21-0, 19 KO’s, record, fell in six rounds. Now holding the WBO Title and commanding enviable attention from HBO, Cotto underlined his value as one of the sport’s hottest tickets with six high profile title defences, but not first without revealing a couple of potential chinks in his armour. Rocked badly and staggered during a defense against DeMarcus Corley in early 2005, critics came out of the woodwork to voice concern that Cotto had a suspect chin and questionable ring general ship, despite prevailing under duress. Outgrowing light welterweight, Cotto moved-up to welterweight, eventually winning the vacant WBA Welterweight Title in December 2006.
Contrasting Miguel Cotto’s meteoric rise is former two-division champion Zab Judah. The slick boxing southpaw turned professional in 1996 at eighteen years of age after claiming the New York State Golden Glove Championship at 139lbs. in 1995. Lauded for his exceptional hand and foot speed, Judah also made waves early in his career with numerous displays of debilitating punching power, particularly with his left hand. Barely two years into his pro career, Judah received rave reviews for his seemingly effortless decision win over the perennially tough Mickey Ward. In early-2000, Judah faced Jan Bergman, a 40-fight veteran, for the vacant IBF Light Welterweight Title. After being dropped in the first round, Judah went on to annex the belt with a fourth round stoppage, but despite leaving the match with his first championship, many now wondered aloud about Judah’s focus and ability to absorb punches at the world class level. Several months later, Judah went down again in the first round, this time while making his second title defense against former IBF Light Welterweight Champion Terron Millett. If anything, while Judah showed extraordinary athleticism and ability, he was intermittently coming up short in the focus and chin departments.
In 2001, Judah was the decided favorite going into a pivotal unification mega-match against the heavy-handed WBA/WBC Light Welterweight Champion Kostya Tszyu. In the weeks leading into the bout, Judah spared Kostya no insult, promisingl to make quick work of Tszyu in becoming the Unified World Light Welterweight King. In the bout, Judah attacked Tszyu in the opening round with staccato flurries, prompting many in the crowd to cheer loudly at the supposed drama, as if the curtain could drop in Zab’s favour at any moment. To Tszyu’s credit, he held on when necessary, showing the marked composure and maturity of a seasoned professional. Early in round two, Kostya began stalking a suddenly in retreat Judah. It was as though Judah had decided on a new strategy altogether, but one without any real intent, pot-shotting and reaching with his punches for no apparent reason. As the round drew to a conclusion with the apparent momentum in favour of Tszyu, a sudden right hand dropped Judah and vastly altered his career path, if not his quest for stardom.
Over the next few years, Zab looked lackluster edging inferior foes before eventually moving up to welterweight to challenge slick southpaw Cory Spinks. Despite his advantages and a solid start, Zab’s focus waned, his composure suffered and after getting dropped late by the light hitting Spinks, lost a close decision. After a couple of low-key wins, the rematch with Spinks was made, and it is here that we see a marked change in Zab Judah as a professional. In the bout, Judah displayed a level of consistent focus previously not seen from him, ultimately solving the complicated Spinks style and winning the WBC/IBF Welterweight Titles with a sudden and explosive flurry of punches, seemingly from out of nowhere. Clamor about a new and more mature Zab reverberated for months after the win. Options and potential mega fights began popping up. HBO made a point to pick-up on Judah where the masses left off after the Tszyu disaster.
Now in line for a PPV mega match and career high payday with consensus pound per pound King Floyd Mayweather, JR., all that stood in the way was a mandatory title defense against the unheralded and statistically unspectacular Carlos Baldomir. Unfortunately for Zab, his ability to stay focused from fight to fight was not commensurate with his exceptional his skill level, and he suffered an unsightly manhandling at the hands of the gritty journeyman, and in the process losing his title and all of the ground he had regained since his embarrassing first loss in 2001.
Not that his PPV clash was the “Pretty Boy” was ever really in danger, boxing has a way of recycling such setbacks with mere monetary adjustments and subtle spin so as to pique the interest of the paying public. In the bout, the best of Zab Judah showed-up, troubling Mayweather beyond expectation over four rounds. It was in round five that Zab’s ego arrived and focus was ordered into the backseat. The rivalry went into overdrive in the tenth when a frustrated and hurting Judah went low on Mayweather JR before attempting to discombobulate him with a series of dangerously placed rabbit punches. Class ultimately prevailed and Judah lost a clear decision. Subsequent to the loss, and after a review of his illegal tactics, he was suspended for a period of one year.
Fast forward to the present and the boxing world is poised for a major clash between two very talented fighters on June 9th. The undefeated Miguel Cotto, 29-0, 24 KO’s, will face the enigmatic Zab Judah, 34-4, 25KO’s, in a twelve round crossroads clash for Cotto’s WBA Welterweight Title – an intriguing match-up that promises volatility and drama. When the bout was originally announced last winter, my first impression was that Judah was making a huge career mistake looking to face the streaking and peaking Cotto after a year of enforced shelf time. My knee-jerk reaction was that Miguel Cotto was going to overpower him and bring out Zab’s worst instincts. Upon reflection though, I’m no longer so sure that my initial impression holds water.
Consider that it was a southpaw in DeMarcus Corley that rocked Cotto to his socks two years ago. While Corley did manage to pull out the win in that close call, Corley lacked Judah’s superior skills, extraordinary speed and devastating power, not to mention Judah’s world stage experience and killer instinct. Cotto’s heart and fire prevailed, yet the fact remains he was in dire straits for a few heart-stopping moments against a poor man’s version of Zab. Another aspect of this match-up that has me paying close attention is Judah’s mindset. Certainly at this juncture, Zab knows that he cannot afford another setback if he wishes to remain a star in boxing and command future lucrative opportunities. He absolutely has to take command of the opportunity from the outset, looking to apply his awkward style and gifted delivery with pinpoint precision. In other words, the variant of Zab that impressed the masses and waxed Spinks in their rematch has to reappear for the Cotto match.
Judah needs to have his mind and body tuned to a fine point. A sublime marriage of strategy and aggression keyed for precise delivery once the in the groove Cotto looks to press the action. At 29 he is still clearly in his prime, but he cannot afford to be drawn into extended exchanges or look to fight off the ropes. His opponent has the benefit of youth and the confidence that comes with having prevailed in every assignment to date. For this bout, Judah must keep Cotto turning by boxing him in a controlled and patient fashion in the center of the ring. He has a golden window of opportunity to derail Cotto via sharp counters, if he applies the patience and maturity he previously exhibited in the Spinks rematch.
Zab Judah is not the stepping stone known commodity the Cotto camp looked to capitalize on when first signing for the bout. He is the most dangerous of prize fighters at this moment in time. He’s at the top of his game as a threat, hanging by a mere thread on a precipice overlooking fistic oblivion. If he’s learned anything over the last seven years of career highs and lows, it’s that he has to show up as a seasoned professional and stick to a game plan, keeping the fire of passion burning at a controlled flame. Look for him to succeed on June 9th, playing on the passion of the young Cotto, surprising Miguel from the outset with his seasoning and prudent application of awkward aggression, ending Cotto’s undefeated streak and taking his title in the process. The sudden and emphatic ending will shock collective fans around the world and once again restore Judah’s name to the upper echelon of fistic prominence, if only for one last moment in a career checkered with mind boggling imbalance
06-07-2007, 03:50 PM
Is this PPV? Well, I'm looking forward to this fight and regardless of the outcome I hope Zab comes in focused so he reallys tests Cotto's chin and mental fortitude. It should be really really interesting. I'm really bad with predictions so I won't make one (not that anybody is dying to know it). I like the styles of both fighters and they can both look beautiful when at their best, but at this point in their careers Zab has a lot more to lose, I would say. Cotto can deal with his first loss, but another setback in Zab's career would be desastrous for his career.
06-07-2007, 04:19 PM
I flat out won't spend ANY money on Judah. Yes he's got all the talent in the world but he's mentally weak & has proven it in all his crossroads fight. Zab is a frontrunner & the quintessential example is his fight with Floyd.
After the first five rounds he was totally in the fight if not leading slightly. Then Floyd took over & started whuppin' him.
So what does Zab do? Fight on like a MAN? No ... he throws a two punch combination one to the balls & the other to the back of Floyd head & neck.
Then his father charges the ring & Zab sneaks behind the ref & hits him in the back of the head. Then they let the fight continue!!!
What the hell do you have to do to get DQ'd these days?
I won't predict a winner but if Zab gets in trouble he'll do something stupid just like he ALWAYS has.
I'm not spending $$$ on a jerk like him.
06-07-2007, 10:05 PM
I can't see a Judah win in this one. He's toast after 5 rounds and despite Cotto's less than granite jaw, Judah is not the puncher at 147 he was at 140. Two words spelling Zab's doom: Body shots.
06-07-2007, 11:10 PM
Seems like it will be the typical Judah fight versus an opponent who knows he's a front runner and has enough skill to wait him out except Cotto can seriously hurt Judah.
Judah looks good early as his speed stands out...Cotto keeps coming...begins to break him down...probably has Judah on the verge of KO in later rounds...Judah fouls to avoid the KO.
Did I miss something?
I say all this even though I paid to see the fight live.
I see it like this. If Judah somehow rises to the occasion to beat Cotto or if Cotto breaks down & eventually takes out Judah, I'm watching a good fight either way I cut it.
Regardles of the shortcomings seen of Cotto, IMO he's shown the stones to take whatever Judah has & keep coming. The only thing Judah's shown consistently is inconsistence.
06-08-2007, 01:40 AM
I don't think the fight will follow the exact same pattern as the Floyd fight. Floyd and Cotto are completely different fighters and Judah is a mistery until the fight starts developing. We know what to expect from Cotto, exactly, but not Judah.
Then again, due to Zab's stamina problems and Cotto's inevitable and constant pressure, the later rounds might be Zab's doom. Seems the most likely of scenarios, though I'm wishing for a change in the script.
06-08-2007, 08:14 AM
MARGARITO & WILLIAMS SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS ON SATURDAY’S COTTO-JUDAH FIGHT
For Immediate Release
LOS ANGELES (June 7, 2007) -- In a highly anticipated match and can't miss candidate for Fight of the Year, WBO welterweight champion Antonio Margarito will defend his belt against undefeated, No. 1-ranked and mandatory challenger, Paul “The Punisher” Williams in the main event of "Pride N' Punishment'' on Saturday, July 14, in the outdoor tennis stadium at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The 12-round bout, presented by Goossen Tutor Promotions, will be televised on HBO “World Championship Boxing.”
At a press conference earlier this week, promoter Dan Goossen said, “The winner of this fight is the preeminent welterweight in the world -- and that includes (Miguel) Cotto or anyone else in the 147-pound division."
Given the significance of Saturday’s world welterweight title fight, Margarito and Williams were asked to “weigh in” with their opinions on Miguel Cotto versus Zab Judah.
Here is what they had to say:
WBO Welterweight Champion Antonio Margarito
QUESTION: Who do you think will win this weekend and why?
ANSWER: Cotto will walk away victorious because he is too strong for Judah.
Knowing this makes me happy because after I walk away victorious on July 14 I will be ready to fight Cotto.
QUESTION: Will it be a knockout or victory by decision?
ANSWER: If Judah comes to fight Cotto will probably knock him out. If Judah is only there for the payday and to run around, then the fight might go the distance, but either way Cotto wins.
QUESTION: Could the Cotto-Judah winner overcome your size advantage?
ANSWER: I have always fought fighters of all sizes throughout my career. Tall or short, no one is going to beat me.
QUESTION: What would you do against Cotto or Judah?
ANSWER: I look forward to fighting either of them. Of course, I will win.
I feel I am the best welterweight in the world. I never go into a fight predicting a knockout. All that I know and that my fans know is that I ALWAYS give my best and come out victorious.
QUESTION: Would you like the winner to be seated ringside on July 14?
ANSWER: My fight against Paul Williams is going to be a great one. If the winner of Cotto vs. Judah was sitting ringside on my night, that would be great.
QUESTION: Who is the most feared welterweight in the world today?
ANSWER: Me. I’m the best out there and on July 14 Paul Williams is going to know that too.
Unbeaten, No. 1-Ranked Paul Williams
QUESTION: Who do you think will win this weekend and why?
ANSWER: Right now my only focus is July 14 and putting a whippin’ on him.
I just hope it’s a good fight (Cotto vs. Judah) because I know my fight against Margarito is going to be spectacular.
QUESTION: Will it be a knockout or victory by decision?
ANSWER: Like I said, I just hope it is a good fight. If I had to pick, I’d go with a knockout.
QUESTION: Could the Cotto-Judah winner overcome your size advantage?
ANSWER: After July 14 the boxing world will have to recognize Paul Williams as the best welterweight in the world. I would love to fight the winner of Cotto vs. Judah but I would be willing to fight any top welterweights to show that I am the best. Size doesn’t matter.
QUESTION: What would you do against Cotto or Judah?
ANSWER: Put a whippin’ on him -- just like I am going to do to Margarito.
QUESTION: Would you like the winner to be seated ringside on July 14?
ANSWER: Yes, most definitely. I’ve been calling Margarito out for so long that after I beat him, I want to look down at ringside and see my next opponent. One of my goals is to unify the titles.
QUESTION: Who is the most feared welterweight in the world today?
ANSWER: Me. I’m the best out there. On July 14, Williams is going to know that too.
06-08-2007, 09:01 AM
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., pictured, will fight Grover Wiley on Saturday. Wiley defeated Chavez's father in Chavez's last fight.
(Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images)
06-08-2007, 09:06 AM
Grover Wiley rolls with punches to stay in game
The Nebraska fighter hasn't had it easy as he learned the ropes and is the definitive underdog against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a 150-pound match.
By Steve Springer, Times Staff Writer
June 8, 2007
NEW YORK — When Grover Wiley of Omaha walked into his hometown gym, the C.W. Boxing Club, for the first time, he was greeted with sneers, scowls and suffocating silence.
The grunts and groans of the fighters and the sound of leather exploding on punching bags and jump ropes whipping through the stifling air all faded away as everybody in the building focused on the intruder.
Wiley couldn't have gotten any more attention if he had been a Martian.
Instead, he was a 17-year-old high-school wrestler, short but muscular, a white kid stepping into an all-black environment.
"What do you want?" asked Midge Minor, who ran the gym.
"I want to box," Wiley said.
"Everybody wants to box," Minor said. "Go home. Do 150 sit-ups and 150 push-ups and then come back."
That Wiley did, and more.
He came back to the gym the next day and the next and the next.
A wrestler since age 8, Wiley's introduction to boxing had been crude and undisciplined. When a snowstorm canceled school, Wiley and some buddies went to a friend's house and engaged in an impromptu boxing tournament in the basement.
It was the first time Wiley had put on boxing gloves, but hardly the last. After knocking out all comers — five or six, as he recalls — Wiley, who already had qualified for a state wrestling tournament, dropped out and headed to the C.W. gym.
It wasn't easy in the beginning.
"The first couple of months, I got beat to death," Wiley said. "I'd go home sore every day."
"He sure wanted to do it," Minor said. "I had a lot of tough fighters there, and he took a lot of whuppings, but he kept showing up every day. Finally, I thought I might have something there."
"They soon realized I wasn't going to quit," Wiley said. "And so, the people there took me in like family."
That was 15 years ago.
On Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, Wiley will again step into a environment where he will be greeted by sneers, scowls and a lack of respect. He will face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a 150-pound match on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto-Zab Judah welterweight title fight.
Wiley is here because he beat Chavez's father in the Mexican legend's final fight. Now, Wiley is being given a chance to beat the son as well.
But he doesn't seem to have much of a chance.
Chavez Jr. is everything Wiley is not. While Wiley has struggled to a mediocre 30-9-1 record with only 14 knockouts, most of his matches against fighters politely referred to as tomato cans, Chavez Jr. is 31-0-1 with 24 knockouts. While Wiley, with a late start to his career and no reputation, had to battle through the amateur ranks, Chavez Jr., benefiting from his name, sailed into promoter Bob Arum's Top Rank organization and was put on a course designed to protect and nurture him.
"At first I saw him only as an interesting attraction," Arum said. "He couldn't fight. Well, maybe a little bit."
There was never any doubt, at least in the younger Chavez's mind, that he was going to follow in his father's footsteps, no matter how big those footsteps were. Chavez Jr. had been following his father to the gym "since I can first remember," he said.
He was a cute kid with an oversized pair of gloves in those days. When Oscar De La Hoya and Chavez Sr. fought the first time, Chavez Jr., then 10 years old, would get in the ring with his younger brother, Omar, and shadow box after his father had sparred, bringing a lightheartedness to the camp.
There was no such lightheartedness on Sept 26, 2003, when Chavez Jr., all of 17, made his professional debut in Culiacan, Mexico, against Jonathan Hernandez. Chavez Jr. won a four-round decision.
While the name may be the same, the styles of father and son are different because of their different body frames. Chavez Jr. will never be meaner than his father, but he is leaner, and taller by four inches at 5 feet 11. That has given him the ability to employ a more mobile, smoother boxing style than that of his father. But Chavez Jr. still mixes in the savage body punches that were his father's trademark.
Chavez Sr.'s involvement in his son's career consists of approving opponents and reviewing Chavez Jr.'s performances afterward.
It can't be easy living up to such a famous name, especially in his native Mexico, but Chavez Jr. just shrugs off the pressure.
"It is something I was born with," he said of his name. "People expect more of me. There is nothing I can do about that."
He is confident, however, he can fight his way out of that imposing shadow.
"I'm a human being, an individual," he said. "And someday, I am going to be a world champion on my own."
For now, Arum is happy with the progress shown by the 21-year-old Chavez.
"He now is becoming a real fighter," Arum said. "He lives and breathes boxing. He has made tremendous improvement, the kind that has blown us away."
And he just might blow Wiley away.
Consider the fact that Wiley has lost four of his last five fights, the exception being Chavez Sr., who was 43 years old with 115 fights under his expanded belt before Wiley stopped him in the fifth round of their 2005 fight in Phoenix.
In the other four fights, Wiley was stopped twice, once in the second round and once in the fifth, and lost the other two by decision, the last time being in March to Dmitriy Salita.
Consider also the motivation of Chavez Jr.
"This will be something special," he said through an interpreter. "I want to take revenge for my father. I am very hungry for that."
Wiley, now 32, also is hungry, for some long-awaited recognition.
"This could be great," he said. "I could be the guy who gives the father his last loss and the son his first loss. That's history right there."
06-08-2007, 09:59 AM
I look foward to a great fight and that is the main thing.
I read that Ron Scott Rabinowitz appointed Arthur Mercante Jr to do this fight, which is par for the course with his tainted commission.
He rewards Junior for being involved in a deathl in the ring, and a series of televised bouts year after year that he ruined with such ineptness that it is beyond belief that his political connection to the commission can get him a Lawrence Cole type pass each time.
The Cotto V Judah fight is the main thing to watch but try to notice one thing too.
Watch for this one quirk in the referee on fight night.
Once I was getting dressed before a big fight and in the next dressing area, Mercante Sr was telling Junior the following and demonstrating it to him.
He was putting pancake makeup on his face like a movie star to remove glare from the lights and showing him how to "Cup his hands"
and hold them close to his sides when he would approach the fighters.
The kid was practicing it and the father was saying, "You will look better now, more slim for the camera, when you jump in toward them keep your palms facing the rear, cup them like this, and keep them very close to your sides and your physique will "Look better."
I literally almost threw up from the idea behind it and watching them practice this with Senior coaching him. It certainly was not to avoid poking a fighter in the eye like Senior did to Joe Frazier, it was TOTALLY a cosmetic and profiling thing.
I have seen him do this over and over and he concentrates so much on how he looks while moving, that he froze in the ring in the Beathoven Scotland fight and he died, and the Whitiker V Huertado fight where Whitiker rained on Huertado on HBO and almost killed him before Junior stopped it. He was concentrating so much on how he looks while moving during Lewis V Grant he missed the holding and hitting which caused the tko.
The Commission's appointment of him is steeped in political stupidity and the overlooking of death, injury and the whole history of what they tried to pull off in the DeLahoya V Leija fight behind the scenes.
That is why Rabinowitz and Spindola know nothing about boxing, do not care about anything except political rewards by putting in the worst officials as "Favors." Look at the films of MIke Pascale sitting next to Stevens at Ringside and then review Pascale's REAL history with the Commission and you will have your answers.
06-08-2007, 07:45 PM
anyone putting any cash on this fight? I lost $300 betting on Freitas in the Diaz fight, being that Freitas was the first real top fighter Diaz faced plus his hard punch I thought that would pull him through that fight, we all know what happened there, last week I wanted to put some money on Briggs by KO, we all know what happened there too, anyway I'm now thinking of putting some cash down on judah by a stoppage, when he wants to he has some really great defence, after seeing Cotto repeatedly rocked and dropped versus a clumsy slow mauler like Torres, judah has to have a good chance of catching Cotto and stopping him, I think I should have learned my lesson with Freitas, "Don't put money on a guy with no heart", or something, does anybody see Judah laying this Cotto out?
06-08-2007, 08:33 PM
If Cotto works the body it's going to be a short night. If he gets into a boxing match Cotto still wins but much harder.
06-08-2007, 08:35 PM
You like to give your away, hey, send some this way, I could use some to buy me a beer.
06-09-2007, 06:18 AM
I hope they nail down the stools for this one!!... I cant really see Zab winning this in anyway really... Cotto can be outboxed imo but Zab just hasnt got the chin or the mental strength to do it.... I think Cotto could even get this over early if he starts fast and jumps on Judah early... I just hope ZaB doesnt resort to insanity and turn another big matchup into a farce... perversely I think if Zab were to lose but takes his lumps with grit or maybe goes the distance, he would probably enhance his reputation...
06-09-2007, 06:21 AM
I dont agree with people saying Cotto has a poor chin... he can be hurt, but he took so many shots against Torres that anyone with a diddly chin would have been over and out for the night.... Zab on the other hand can fall apart from one punch and not recover....
06-09-2007, 09:57 AM
true that, true that.
06-09-2007, 10:23 AM
Miguel Cotto, left, will defend his World Boxing Assn. welterweight title against Zab Judah on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
(Ed Mulholland / US Presswire)
06-09-2007, 10:28 AM
Cotto sharpens other skills for Judah bout
By Steve Springer, Times Staff Writer
June 9, 2007
NEW YORK — Fighters love to strut their stuff at news conferences, bolstering their confidence, entertaining their egos and playing with their opponent's minds. They pull up their shirts to reveal washboard stomachs or flex their biceps to demonstrate bulging muscles.
At Wednesday's Madison Square Garden news conference for tonight's boxing show, Miguel Cotto, who will defend his World Boxing Assn. welterweight title against Zab Judah, did some showing off of his own.
He spoke to the media.
Cotto, a Puerto Rican, has been in training of a very different nature from boxing to learn the language and build the confidence to use it in a public setting.
"I used to think that if I don't have Ricardo [Jimenez, a Spanish-speaking publicist] beside me, I can't do this," Cotto said in English. "This is going to make me more popular."
It's all part of what Cotto's promoter, Bob Arum, is calling the fighter's "coming-out party" tonight. A huge star back home and a familiar figure among Hispanic boxing fans, Cotto is still relatively unknown in the rest of this country despite a 29-0 record with 24 knockouts, a World Boxing Organization junior-welterweight title, which he successfully defended six times, and his current title, which he is defending for the second time.
Arum is hoping to bring Cotto, who weighed in at 146 1/2 pounds Friday, into a wider spotlight beginning tonight when he takes on his biggest opponent on a national stage.
At this point, more people know Judah, and not necessarily for the right reasons. The Brooklyn native, who weighed in at 145 pounds, has had his shining moments in the ring, having amassed a 34-4 record with two no-contests and 25 knockouts. He's a former junior-welterweight champion and a former undisputed welterweight titleholder.
But there have also been dark moments as well, the worst being Judah's performance in his last fight, a year ago against Floyd Mayweather Jr. A low blow by Judah resulted in a near riot in the ring for which he was suspended for a year.
Judah also lost his previous fight, to Carlos Baldomir, by decision in January 2006.
So Judah sees tonight as his coming-back party.
Also on tonight's attractive pay-per-view card is a super-featherweight match between Humberto Soto (41-5-2, one no-decision, 25) and Bobby Pacquiao (27-12-3, 12), brother of Manny; a welterweight fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (31-0-1 24) and Grover Wiley (30-9-1, 14), the last man to defeat Chavez's father, and a super-welterweight bout between Yuri Foreman (22-0, 8) of Russia and Anthony Thompson (23-1, 17).
The preliminary fights are 10 rounds each.
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