By Keith Idec
There was a time during his star-crossed career when Zab Judah was among boxing’s brashest trash-talkers.
These days, the 34-year-old former two-division champion is a lot less interested in trying to belittle his opponents prior to fights. When informed of some of the things Vernon Paris has said about him in recent weeks, some of which Judah deemed disrespectful, Judah just hasn’t been inclined to respond.
“I think it shows your character as a person, the things that come out of your mouth,” Judah said. “Evidently, that’s his character. It’s kind of funny because I remember being in that kind of position before, and I was what Paris is trying to be. I was that kid, a trash-talker and a loudmouth. You know what I’m saying? It don’t pay to the bills.”
Judah (41-7, 28 KOs, 2 NC), of Las Vegas, and the 24-year-old Paris (26-0, 15 KOs, 3 NC), of Detroit, will square off in a 12-round IBF elimination match March 24 in Judah’s native Brooklyn, N.Y. The winner of their NBC Sports Network main event two weeks from Saturday night will become the mandatory challenger for the winner of a May 19 rematch between IBF/WBA 140-pound champion Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) and Amir Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) in Las Vegas.
“It’s going to be a 12-round fight and I’m fighting a fighter that’s never been past eight rounds, ever in his career,” said Judah, who was stopped by Khan in the fifth round of his last fight, July 23 in Las Vegas. “I’ve been 12 rounds numerous times with some of the top fighters in the world today. So that’s it, you know what I’m saying? We’re a hundred percent ready for this situation and ready to go.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com