By Luis Sandoval
Zab Judah’s homecoming to Brooklyn, NY was a sweet one as he put on a dominating performance and simply outclassed Vernon Paris as he stopped him in the 9th round at the Aviator Arena on NBC Sports Fight Night’s main event.
A lot was at stake for both fighters going into this fight. For Zab, a chance to put himself back into title contention and to prove those critics who think his best days are far behind him wrong. For Paris it was a chance to move to the next level , fight for a title and keep his undefeated record intact.
In this case however, it would be Judah who would resurrect his career once again by dominating Paris completely in front of his hometown and ending it emphatically.
The action started quickly as Judah landed his straight left flush on Paris’ chin. Paris was able to shake it off but wasn’t able to do the same for the next two big left hooks the momentarily hurt him and forced him to cover up. As the crowd cheered, Judah began to unload on Paris who backed into the ropes and unsuccessfully tried to sneak in a right of his own.
No doubt Paris came to fight but he was overwhelmed by Judah’s blistering speed and combinations that seemed to catch him clean at will. Judah’s offense was crisp and he looked like the faster, stronger fighter throughout the contest.
It was reported that Paris had trouble making weight to which he declared the scale he and his team used was off and that’s why he came in over the weight limit. You had to wonder if that would affect his performance during the fight. Whether it was the weight or not, Paris looked flat in the ring. The zap on his punches seemed to disappear as the fight went on as Judah continued to punish him with straight lefts and right hooks.
Judah who has often been called a frontrunner did the opposite as he seemed to get stronger as the fight went on. Finding a home for his money punch, his straight left, was easy and he didn’t settle for just one punch; he threw fast combinations that seemed to catch Paris by surprise every time.
In the 5th round, Judah landed one of the biggest punches of the fight up to that point when he snapped Paris’s head with a fierce uppercut. Judah was simply firing on all cylinders as you couldn’t help but see glimpses of a prime Judah who often dazzled us with his speed and power. If you didn’t see Judah in his youth, tonight he did a great impression of his younger self.
Frustration and urgency grew in Paris’ corner with each passing round while Zab was all smiles as he was in control of the fight. In the 8th round, Paris came out and tried to get something going. While he won the first half of the round, Judah once again would take over and even worse, Paris began looking tired.
In the 9th round, Zab blasted Vernon with a hard left hand that staggered him against the ropes. Judah wasted no time as he unleashed a barrage of punches from all angles as Paris covered up and forced the referee to step in and call a halt to the fight. A dominating finish to a very dominating performance.
It was a tough pill to swallow for Paris who dismissed Zab Judah completely leading up to the fight and said he would be the one to knock Judah out. While the ring doctors inspected Paris, frustration and disappointed finally took over as he began to cry. It was a very tough loss for the young contender and a night that will surely haunt him for a long while.
With this fight being an IBF title eliminator, it puts Zab in line to the fight the winner of the Amir Khan-Lamont Peterson rematch which takes place May 19th in Las Vegas, NV at the Mandalay Bay. In his post fight interview Zab informed he will be watching the fight ring side and scouting his next possible opponent who he’s eager to face.
For Paris it’s a learning experience and time to regroup and go back to the drawing board. He lost every round of this fight and was not able to avoid Judah’s left hand or mount his own attack successfully. Experience prevailed over youth tonight and while Zab returned to Brooklyn, he also returned back to the being a relevant fighter in the 140lb division
In a co-feature that was supposed to be a showcase and keep busy fight for Tomasz Adamek against Nagy Aguilera ended up turning into a war. After losing a one sided fight to Vitali Klitschko in his previous fight, the last thing Adamek probably wanted was a tough fight against a relentless fighter. Somebody forgot to tell that to Aguilera.
From the opening stanza, Aguilera fought determined and pressured Adamek who fought off his back foot. A right hand in the 2nd round surprisingly stumbled Adamek as his glove almost touched the canvas. Aguilera saw more success in the 3rd round as he landed another solid right hand but was then caught with a flush left hook that wobbled his legs badly at the end of the round.
Adamek finally mounted his attack in the 4th as he turned the tables and had Aguilera in trouble and pinned him on the ropes. Still determined, Aguilera fought back as both men exchanged violently in the center of the ring in some of the best action of the night. The crowd roared as both men let the leather fly.
Aguilera continued to pressure relentlessly but Adamek was now in control as he ripped him with right hands and combinations to the body. Occasionally Nagy would continue to land a good shot on Adamek but they began to happen too far in between as it was Adamek who really found his offensive groove.
In the end Aguilera went the full distance but made Adamek work every minute of every round as he was as game as they come. Judges scores were 99-91 and 100-90 twice but they did not tell the complete story of the exciting heavyweight bout.
There may be some cause for concern to see Adamek have such a tough fight against a guy who has been thoroughly dominated by other fighters. But it also again proved his toughness and willingness to battle should the occasion call for it.
Heavyweight hopeful Bryant Jennings opened the telecast as he made his second appearance on NBC Sports Fight Night and disposed of Sergei Liakhovich in dominating fashion with 9th round TKO.
In only his 13th professional fight, Jennings showed great promise as he took the fight to Liakhovich from the opening bell. He put his speed and combinations on display as he hit Liakhovich with flush overhand rights and lead left hooks. It was a measured attack but the damaged showed early as a cut opened over the left eye of Liakhovich by the 2nd round.
As the rounds progressed, so did Jennings offensive attack as he started the 4th round with a furious exchange which he got the better off. Jennings controlled the fight and fought at his own pace. Even when Lakvoich tried to press, Jennings would make him pay by landing some hard flush combinations.
By the 7th round it was clear Liakvovich was going to take a sustained beating and there was little chance of him turning things around. His corner threatened to stop the fight at the beginning of the 8th but at the end of it, he was sent back with a bloody nose and his eye heavily bruised. After a 9th round that showed more of the same, the doctor stopped the fight and saved Liavhovich from another 3 minutes of punishment.
It was an impressive win for Jennings as his speed, defense and measured attack made for an easy and impressive fight. He only has 2 years of professional experience but from the looks of it, he’s learned and made up for lost time.
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter @truewest007. You can also tune in to Boxingscene’s official audio show The Boxing Lab every Tuesday from 6-8PM PST with hosts Ernest Gabion, Luis Sandoval, and Ryan Burton.