By Rick Reeno and Lem Satterfield
Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events, confirmed BoxingScene.com's recent report regarding the negotiations to stage a junior welterweight unification between champions Amir Khan and Zab Judah. After WBC/WBO king Timothy Bradley turned down a lucrative deal to face Khan on July 23, Duva reached out to Khan's promoter, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, to discuss a potential fight between Judah and the British star.
"When I heard that Timothy Bradley had turned the fight down again with Amir Khan, I said, 'This is great, because I know that HBO is really interested in a fight between Zab Judah and Amir Khan. Everybody there says that it's a terrfic fight and I still have July 23 on hold in Atlantic City where I'm quite sure that the fight would sell out," Duva told BoxingScene.com.
"They haven't had such a great fight there in Atlantic City for a long time, and I'm quite sure that they would want it there and that it would sell out. So I was very, very encouraged when I heard about Tim Bradley. So I spoke to Richard Schaefer last night and I was told that they don't want to make the fight, and that the fight's not going to happen with Khan and Judah."
Bradley turned down a package of $1.4 million, with a 50-50 split on the UK pay-per-view revenue. Duva tells BoxingScene that Schaefer doesn't believe Judah is worth 50% of the revenue, and Khan wants to "keep all of the British pay-per-view money." Duva doesn't agree with Schaefer's position, stating that HBO is willing to pay more money for Khan-Judah than any of the other alternatives - like Robert Guerrero or Marcos Maidana.
"And I said to him, 'That's based on what?' And he said, 'The Khan's don't think that he's worth 50 percent.' So I'm saying that he does a bigger gate than Bradley, he's earned a lot more of the foreign market than Bradley, and he's well-known over there and he's done great in the foreign market, and he's worth more in England than Bradley. The British pay-per-view will pick that up," Duva said.
"And HBO will pay more for Zab Judah than they will for any other opponent that Golden Boy is talking about having Amir Khan fight, so explain for me why Zad Judah is not worth 50 percent of the money. And, Zab has a world title, just like Amir Khan. In fact, he has won four world titles."
"But Richard said Tim Bradley has two world titles. I mean, this is insane. So, I'm frustrated. And Richard said, 'Well, he's not worth half.' So I said, 'Well, what do you think that he's worth?' And he said, 'Well, I'll go back and ask the Khans' So I said, 'Well let me know what they think that he's worth and get back to me.'"
Duva believes Khan is pricing himself out in order to avoid a fight with Judah. The New Jersey based promoter is very surprised with the high amount of money that Khan was offering to secure Bradley. Khan doesn't appear to value Judah in the same way.
"It's amazing. You know, Amir Khan was chasing Tim Bradley to the point where he was offering him more than 50 percent, and then 50 percent of the pay-per-view, and he doesn't think that Zab Judah is worth 50 percent? That's called pricing yourself out of the fight, which means that Amir Khan is afraid. HBO wants the fight. They would pay as much as they would for Bradley," Duva said.
In the case of the 33-year-old Judah, Duva once told BoxingScene.com that his strength of marketability may come from a number of factors. For not only is he a four-time champion, but he also appears to have matured and left behind childish behavior that was costly in past big bouts. Judah hired 47-year-old southpaw former four-division world titlist, Pernell Whitaker, as his trainer, and is coming off a March, seventh-round stoppage of Kaizer Mabuza (23-7-3, 14 KOs).
Whitaker believes that he has revitalized the career of Judah, saying that "Zab is a better boxer," with a, "better mix of punches," and "an overall better tool kit than Manny Pacquiao," and, saying that Judah was similar to himself, but with more power.
Judah was recently mentioned as a possible November opponent for WBO welterweight king Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) before Pacquiao chose to go with a third bout against WBO and WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1, 38 KOs).