Sports

Mayweather and Judah were 'sworn enemies' whose fight descended into farce


Already a three-weight world champion by 2006, Floyd Mayweather secured a suitably high-profile opponent for his 36th professional fight in the brash, trash-talking Brooklyner Zab Judah.

Judah had lost three times in the paid ranks, to Kostya Tszyu, Cory Spinks and Caros Manuel Baldomir and faced a huge challenge against Mayweather.

Despite a build-up that did not go entirely to plan, the bout attained enormous billing, and was destined to live up to its ‘Sworn Enemies’ hype tag – but perhaps not in the way that had initially been envisaged.

Here, we look back at fight which took place on this day 14 years ago…

The build-up

Moving up to challenge Judah for a world title at a fourth different weight was a match made in heaven for Mayweather.

But there was one problem: no sooner had his challenge to undisputed welterweight  champion Judah been agreed, his opponent failed to keep his side of the bargain, and promptly suffered a stunning loss to unfancied Carlos Baldomir.

Politicking and contract re-negotiations ensued, and the bout was rescued with only the IBF title on the line. Judah’s defeat, however, severely tarnished the contest’s pre-fight billing.

Floyd Mayweather took on Zab Judah

The fight

Due to his defeat to Baldomir, Judah went into the fight as a huge underdog, with many bemoaning the fact tha Mayweather might have settled for the easy option.

But Judah set about proving his critics wrong, more than matching Mayweather for pace in the opening two rounds, and the favourite briefly touched down on the canvas, although referee Richard Steele ruled it a slip.

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Mayweather began turning the tide in the fifth round, bloodying Judah’s  nose, and had built up a healthy points advantage as the fight drifted into its concluding rounds.

Mayweather went on to win by decision

The melee

By now a one-sided contest, it exploded into life with 10 seconds left in the 10th round, when Judah lamped Mayweather low, and Steele intervened to give Mayweather respite.

Immediately, Mayweather’s uncle Roger Mayweather jumped into the ring to confront Judah, where he was met by Judah’s father Yoel, and a melee ensured which involved the majority of both teams’ cornermen.

Steele and security intervened, and eventually the fight resumed, with Mayweather clinching his landslide verdict.

The fight was marred by a melee

Mayweather’s uncle Roger jumped into the ring

The aftermath

Typically seeking to make the most of the incident, Judah’s promoter Don King unsuccessfully appealed for the verdict to be reversed in Judah’s favour.

Both fighters had their purses temporarily withheld, while Judah, his father and Roger Mayweather all had their Nevada State Athletic Commission licences revoked for one year.

Subsequently, Mayweather beat Baldomir and went on to achieve all-time greatness. Bar a brief career resurrection in 2011, when he won the IBF light-welterweight crown, Judah was not really the same again.





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