LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — Zab Judah’s (41-7, 28 KOs) cries of a low blow went on deaf ears as Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) unified the WBA and IBF junior welterweight titles with a right uppercut KO in the fifth round.
Round one began with Amir Khan establishing his jab. Unlike previous bouts, Khan mixed up his arsenal by shooting several jabs downstairs. The punch kept Judah defensive, allowing Khan to land with a solid straight right. Judah, looking for big counters, caught Khan with a head-snapping right hook. Khan took it well and continued pressing forward, causing an accidental head butt which had Judah blinking heavily as the round ended.
Judah started round two well with a short left hook. However, Khan took control again behind his jab. When Judah attempted to jab with him, Khan’s superior speed allowed him to catch Judah with hard left hooks. In close, it was Khan who worked short right hooks to the body.
Going into round three, Judah trainer and Hall of Famer Pernell Whitaker implored Judah to follow the game plan, stating “let’s do it my way now.” He told Judah to keep his chin tucked, dip low to avoid shots, and work the jab. But it would be Khan who controlled this stanza, strafing Judah with more body shots and keeping Judah’s jab holstered due to the counter left hook.
Before the fourth, Whitaker pleaded for Judah to throw the left uppercut, the shot that gave him a KO in his last fight against Kaizer Mabuza. Judah couldn’t time the shot; Khan’s hand speed allowed to get off first and knock Judah into the ropes with straight rights.
Sporting a bloody nose and swelling right eye, Zab Judah began taking a heavy beating from Khan in round five. Emboldened by Judah’s lack of aggression, Khan battered Judah from the outside with jab-straight right combinations, and inside with hooks to the body. With Judah bent over in a clinch, Khan threw a right uppercut that landed on Judah’s belt line. Although visibly not a devastating punch, Judah fell to both knees claiming a low blow.
Referee Vic Drakulich ruled the blow legit and begin the count. Judah remained unresponsive until the 10 count, at which point he looked up in disbelief at the bout being stopped.
Although replays showed the punch on the belt line, Judah remained adamant that he was hit in his genitals. He also criticized the referee, stating he thought the 10 count was the time he was being given to recover.
“I thought he was giving me an 8 count to recover,” Judah stated. “When he got to 10 I was like it’s over?”
Khan, who is rumored to be a potential opponent for Floyd Mayweather in 2012, threw a shot at Timothy Bradley, his remaining junior welterweight rival. Bradley holds the WBO and WBC titles, which he unified in January with a win over Devon Alexander. Negotiations with Khan fell apart several months back with Bradley pulling out over money issues.
“Timothy Bradley is scared,” Khan declared. “Zab Judah is a better fighter than Timothy Bradley in my eyes.”
At press time, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has confirmed that Khan may possibly return to the ring in December to face Erik Morales, who is coming off a spirited loss to Marcos Maidana in April.