Danny Garcia beats Zab Judah to keep junior welterweight title
NEW YORK -- Danny Garcia unanimously outpointed Brooklyn's Zab Judah on Saturday night at Barclays Center to retain the WBA and WBC junior welterweight titles.
In a unanimous decision at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Danny Garcia outpointed Zab Judah.
Garcia (26-0, 16 KOs) dominated the 35-year-old former champion, although Judah came back in the 10th and 11th rounds to land some hard shots and shake the champion from Philadelphia.
The judges scored the fight 116-111, 115-112 and 114-112, with all three giving Judah the last three rounds when Garcia seemed to tire.
"I love the atmosphere. I love the fans. In order to take over someone's territory, you've got to beat the guy from there," Garcia said in the post-fight news conference.
The 25-year-old Garcia was at the receiving end of a hard left-handed shot from Judah in the eighth round. He countered with a left that missed, but immediately connected a right hand that sent Judah to the canvas
Judah (42-8, 29 KOs), who since 2008 has lost to Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto and Amir Khan, came in looking for a win and trying to revive his career after those losses, but looked overmatched against Garcia.
"Actually I was really surprised because I was putting pressure on him with strong, sharp punches," Garcia said. "He came back strong in the late rounds. He came prepared. He's been in big fights before."
A portion of the announced crowd of 13,048 tried to inspire the Brooklyn native with "Ju-dah! Judah!" and a familiar "Brook-lyn! Brook-lyn!" chant that has become synonymous with Nets games in the arena's first months.
But it wasn't enough for Judah, whose 140-pound fight was supposed to take place back Feb. 9, but was postponed after Garcia sustained a rib injury. Judah claimed Garcia had faked the injury and had instead been out partying and not training. There was even a standoff between the veteran and Garcia's father, Angel, who also serves as his trainer.
"It was a helluva fight. I had to beat the Brooklyn guy in his hometown," Garcia said. "I knew he had a lot of pride behind him. He was never going to give up."
Coming into the fight, Judah saw Garcia as slow starter.
"He started fast in this fight. I wanted to be cautious. I didn't want to go in there and be throwing wild punches. I wanted to be a scientist in there," Judah said. "I thought I did a good job."
Garcia stepped up his attack in the third round and, then in the fourth, landed a flurry of shots, but Judah somehow managed to survive the round.
It was Garcia's second fight at the Barclays Center after christening the Brooklyn arena Oct. 20 with a victory over Erik Morales
Danny Garcia survives flurry of punches from Zab Judah for title win
Danny Garcia (right) dominated Zab Judah early to defend his WBA/WBC junior welterweight belt. (Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK — Three thoughts on Danny Garcia’s unanimous decision win over Zab Judah:
For Garcia, a learning experience
No question, Garcia won the fight. He dominated most of the early rounds and picked up a knockdown in the eighth, countering a straight left hand from Judah with a stinging right that sent Judah tumbling to the canvas. But Judah showed tremendous heart, refusing to quit and rallying to win most of the final rounds. He hurt Garcia repeatedly in the tenth, seeming to catch his second wind while Garcia started to slow down. But Judah gave away too many rounds early, and the judges’ scoring (115-112, 114-112, 116-111) was spot on.
Garcia gets the win, and an education in the process. “I had to adapt and bite down,” Garcia said. “I proved I could fight hurt.” Indeed, this was a tough test against an accomplished opponent with a great chin and the skill and craftiness to challenge him in ways he hasn’t before. Garcia, 25, still has some holes in his game–he leaves himself wide open when he throws some of those looping right hands–but he will be a better fighter next time out because of this experience with Judah.
A clear path
As SI.com reported, Garcia is expected to be a candidate to face Floyd Mayweather in the fall. That would be a mistake. Mayweather would pick Garcia apart at this point. Where Garcia should look is to the winner of next month’s showdown between Lamont Peterson and Lucas Matthysse. Both Peterson and Matthysse are stand-in-the-middle-of-the-ring, toe-to-toe sluggers. Matching either of them against Garcia is a no-brainer.
Is Judah finished?
Judah made it crystal clear after the fight: This isn’t the last you will see of him. Judah, 35, has lost two of his last three fights, but unlike his lopsided knockout defeat to Amir Khan in 2011, Judah looked decent in this loss. “He’s not washed up,” Garcia’s father and trainer, Angel Garcia, said. “Please don’t anyone say that. That man can still fight.” The 140-pound division is loaded with top fighters–which include, along with the aforementioned fighters, Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado and, in all likelihood, Adrien Broner. Judah’s fights always do solid ratings on premium networks and, judging by the 13,048 in attendance at the Barclays Center, can draw a decent crowd in Brooklyn. There will be plenty of opportunities for Judah, and no reason for him not to take them.