Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

SecondsOut Radio: Eddie Goldman speaks with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Zab Judah 

When Zab Judah was upset on Jan. 7 at Madison Square Garden by the unheralded Carlos Baldomir, the plans for an April 8 showdown between Judah and the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr., atop most observers’ pound-for-pound lists, almost imploded. The unanimous decision victory by Baldomir earned him Judah’s WBC welterweight belt, but since he had only paid sanctioning fees to them and not the WBA or IBF, whose belts Judah also, we were told, was defending that night, he did not win those titles. Instead, Judah lost his distinction of being the WBA “super champion” since he no longer held multiple belts, but did retain his IBF belt for reasons so absurd which only perhaps Lewis Carroll or Dr. Seuss could explain.

But promoters Bob Arum and Don King, along with HBO Pay$Per$View, all decided to go ahead with this Judah-Mayweather fight anyway. From the start, its justification to the public and the media was fraught with nonsense. The fight was billed as being for the “world welterweight championship,” and is still described by HBO as being “a blockbuster showdown for Judah's IBF welterweight title”. Yup, and Saddam Hussein is still the president of Iraq.

Then the marketing types came up with the moniker “Sworn Enemies!” for this fight. To their credit, both Mayweather and Judah repeatedly stressed that they each respect the other, that they do not hate each other, but that they do have a job to do in the ring April 8. Someone must have thought that they were promoting this past Sunday’s major pay-per-view, “Wrestle”-mania.

After this very bad start for this promotion, however, it soon began to sink in that this indeed may be a worthwhile fight, despite the aforementioned rubbish.

Mayweather, 29, has a record of 35-0 with 24 KOs, but is only in his second fight at welterweight. Whether or not he can be as successful in this division as he has been at lower weights remains to be seen in the ring.

Judah, 28, is 34-3 with 1 no contest and 25 KOs. As has been pointed out numerous times in the build-up to this fight, the loss to Baldomir puts him on the hot seat. He must fight well, or his next stop might be Palookaville, Margaritaville, or anywhere other than the main event in places like the major Las Vegas casinos and Madison Square Garden, and major television exposure on pay-per-view. He thus should, if logic can ever be our guide in boxing, be expected to perform far, far better than he did in January in his listless outing against Baldomir.

In addition, while Judah’s retention of the IBF belt was a preposterous move by this alphabet soup body, almost all the independent rankings polls have both fighters rated in the top four at welterweight (except The Ring, which still, as of March 29, 2006, inexplicably has Mayweather at 140). Thus, if you look beyond this title madness, you end up with a fight between two top fighters, with one, Judah, desperate to stay at the top of the sport, and the other, Mayweather, already there but trying to meet new challenges.

Further, the HBO pay-per-view, perhaps because of the tainted title situation of its main event, has at least two worthwhile and intriguing fights as co-features.

Jorge Arce, 43-3-1 with 32 KOs, from Los Mochis, Mexico, and one of the most exciting fighters in all of boxing today, takes on the veteran former two-division champ Rosendo Alvarez, 37-2-2 with 24 KOs, from Managua, Nicaragua. This fight will be for Arce’s WBC interim flyweight belt, but more importantly it could be another step in the emergence of Arce as a star with electrifying punching power reminiscent of a young Mike Tyson, while being a better boxer, and without the drama.

Also on this card will be the undefeated University of Houston student Juan Diaz, 28-0 with 14 KOs, from Houston, TX, defending his WBA lightweight belt against the undefeated Jose Miguel Cotto, 27-0 with 19 KOs, from Caguas, Puerto Rico. This Cotto is the older brother of the undefeated WBO junior welterweight champ, Miguel Cotto. Both Diaz and Cotto are known as bangers, so expect some fireworks here as well.

On this week's edition of SecondsOut Radio, host Eddie Goldman speaks with both Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Zab Judah about their fight Sat. night, April 8, in Las Vegas.

It is free to listen to SecondsOut Radio, but you must register to gain access to it. Just click here, and listen, learn, and enjoy.

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