By Jake Donovan
Former two-division champ Zab Judah was due to return to the ring on March 12 in Las Vegas. His actions as well as that of promoter Roy Englebrecht - both of whom were disciplined for falsifying legal documents pertaining to the show - not only led to the cancellation of the event but also a temporary suspension pending further review.
That status hasn't changed, with both receiving an extension of their respective suspensions as per the outcome of the latest monthly agenda hearing held by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday at state headquarters in Las Vegas. No additional action has been taken, other than for both to reappear at a future hearing, where final disciplinary action will likely be levied against both.
Judah was due to headline a March 12 telecast on CBS Sports Network live from what would've been a sold-out venue at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. The fight would have been his first since a Dec. '13 loss to fellow Brooklyn-bred former two-division titlist Paul Malignaggi.
However, the event was canceled due to what the NSAC referred to as "egregious actions" regarding the paperwork submitted on Judah's behalf by Englebrecht, allegedly unbeknownst to the boxer.
The matter was raised into question when a box was selected claiming there weren't any liens against him. A brief investigation conducted by the NSAC showed that Judah owed more than $240,000 in back child support, according to records with the New York State Department of Social Services.
Due to Englebrecht serving as the lone promoter of record and the timing of such discovery, the NSAC was left with little option but to cancel the entire show. Had the action been discovered sooner, handlers would have been provided the opportunity to secure another promoter to handle the show. However, such a move requires 48 hours notice and approval from the NSAC, which likely would have been granted if not for the time constraints.
The matter was presented before the five-person panel during Tuesday's hearing, where Englebrecht - a promoter based in California - expressed sorrow for his actions. The sincerity of his apology was accompanied by his reminding the panel of his having served as a promoter for more than 30 years - at one point even running a Fight Promoter University seminar for those looking to learn the gam from that angle.
Judah was also present at the hearing, although reportedly arriving late for the session (staff from BoxingScene.com was not present on location, with participation limited to listen-only mode through the agenda's dial-in feature).
Their respective pleas for leniency fell on deaf ears. The current temporary suspensions for both have been extended at least through the next scheduled agenda hearing, which is due to take place April 19. Judah's case could run through the following hearing, on a yet-to-be-scheduled date in May.
Now at risk is an April 7 show in California to be presented by Englebrecht, although the show could go on with another promoter serving as the lead. The veteran promoter has regularly held shows at The Hangar in Costa Mesa, California. The Nevada commission falls under the auspices of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), which means the suspension must be honored by all members - including the California State Athletic Commission.
Meanwhile, Judah (42-9, 29KOs) is dealt yet another reminder that perhaps a comeback is not in his best interest. A former champ at super lightweight and welterweight, his best days are long behind him although he's offered the occasional inspiring performance and - especially at age 38 - condition-wise can still hold his own with any prime boxer in the gym.
The aforementioned loss to Malignaggi was his third in a span of four fights, having also dropped a competitive but clear 12-round decison to Danny Garcia in April '13, and having suffered a 5th round knockout at the hands of Amir Khan in their July '12 super lightweight title unification clash in Las Vegas.
His last win came four years ago - to the day come Thursday - in a 9th round knockout of then-unbeaten contender Vernon Paris.
Following the back-to-back losses in 2013, Judah decided to rest up and focus his efforts on running his gym in Las Vegas. The boxing itch came back, although such desire has now resulted in four consecutive cancellations.
Judah was due to return last September, only to get into a fight with his opponent, Hevinson Herrera at the weigh-in, thus killing their headlining appearance in Westbury (Long Island), New York.
From there came his first attempt at staging a show at The "D" Hotel, only for their planned event last November falling by the wayside due to the commission not approving any of the suggested opponents. Efforts to resurface this past February instead led to a falling out with previous promoter Greg Cohen, without a single fight to show for their union following the aforementioned canceled events.
Suggested fines and suspensions awaiting Judah and Englebrecht were not made available as this goes to publish. Because the documents in question are government-issued, federal charges could apply as well, although the final punishment will likely be limited to their involvement in boxing.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox