By Gary Purfield
Amir Khan passed his biggest test to date and announced himself to the top of the boxing world by thoroughly dominating Zab Judah Saturday night in Las Vegas. Khan dominated the first five rounds and then ended the night with a knockout at 2:47 of round five. In addition Khan walks away as a the unified WBA and IBF Jr. Welterweight champion.
Amir Khan came in as a four to one favorite that seemed surprising to many considering the experience, speed, and power of the Brooklyn native Zab “Super” Judah. It turned out the odds makers had it right as the Bolton England native King Khan controlled every second of the fight from beginning to end.
At the opening bell Khan came out jabbing and his significant height and reach advantage was evident. Khan who stands three inches taller than Judah with longer arms pumped his jab as he marched forward into his opponent. Quickly Khan increased his punch output and began firing multi-punch combinations to further his attack.
Judah who has been in with the best in a long and successful career never found a rhythm or an answer for his talented young opponent. Judah who has considerable hand speed displayed some slick defensive moves to avoid Khan’s biggest punches early but never was able to land his trademark counter shots.
The inability of Judah to land counter punches was a direct result of the size, movement, and skill of Amir Khan. He would circle Judah, move in, fire several punches starting with the jab, and then be out of reach before the shorter opponent could find an opening.
If the technical and physical advantages were not enough Khan got a break right away when an accidental clash of heads left Judah having trouble with his right eye but no damage was done to Khan. Another accidental head butt in round five produced more blood on Judah’s face. This time from the left eye. Again, no damage to Khan.
Khan controlled the first two rounds. He then really took over in round three when his left hook and big right hand started consistently finding the target. Judah was bleeding out of his nose and mouth early and as already stated he never found any rhythm or momentum in the fight. Round four was much the same and at this point it was obvious to anyone Khan had completely swept the rounds thus far.
In between rounds Judah’s trainer the legendary fighter Pernell Whitaker employed his fighter to use the jab and sneak the left uppercut in. Whitaker became more animated each round but other than one left uppercut to the body and a few right hooks Judah never landed anything game changing.
Early in round five Khan landed a left hook that hurt Judah. Then late in the round he landed a straight right to the head and Judah ducked down. With the two fighters in close Khan pulled his right back and fired a huge uppercut to Judah’s mid-section.
Judah dropped to the ground claiming a low blow but referee Vic Drakulich felt it was a legal shot and began the ten count. Judah never came close to rising and the fight came to an end. Replays showed the blow seemed to land slightly below the belt line but it made no difference in what was a one-sided fight.
Make no mistake this was an impressive eye catching performance from the young Brit. The numbers clearly show his dominance. Khan landed 61 of 284 total punches to only 20 of 115 for Judah. Khan landed 33 of 124 power punches to only 12 of 32 for Judah. Even more than the numbers he outclassed an incredibly talented and slick fighter who was considered a very live underdog by many entering the fight.
Zab Judah 48-7 (28 KO) to his credit handled the loss with class and maturity that escaped him in his younger days despite feeling he was stopped on an illegal blow. He would state that he thought the referee was giving him an eight count to recover from a low blow and did not know it was ruled a knockdown until he counted to ten.
Judah was shown the replay in his interview and stated “self-explanatory” referring to his opinion the punch was low. Judah did go on to say to the affect that in his younger days he would have handled this poorly but will not do so and gave credit to Khan.
Khan addressed those who speak of his chin afterwards stating that he has faced and beat the best and biggest punchers at 140lbs.
He stated “he caught me a few times but I felt okay. He caught me with one big one (right hook) at the end of the round but I was okay.”
Khan credited trainer Freddie Roach for a great gameplan and strength trainer Alex Ariza for having him in great shape. He also stated he grew up being a big fan of Zab Judah and was even uncomfortable during some of the jawing at press conferences due to being a fan of Judah.
Khan also addressed Tim Bradley who turned down a 50/50 split of everything and his biggest career payday to face Khan.
“He’s scared; if he was the champion he says he is he would have faced me a long time ago. He pulled out and did not want to fight me. Zab Judah is better fight than Tim Bradley.”
For Khan 26-1 (18 KO) the future is very bright. He is now eight fights removed from his knockout loss to Breidis Prescott which seems a distant memory. He has taken punches from knockout artists Marcos Maidana and Zab Judah but moved forward to win every fight in convincing fashion. In addition he is a big ticket seller and TV attraction in England and now in the United States. He can continue cleaning out 140 or make his move to bigger names at 147.
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