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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Judah Easily Gets Past Santa Cruz, Eyes Title Shot


After a 9 month layoff, Zab "Super" Judah (39-6, 27 KO's) made a convincing statement in front of 4,215 fans at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., stopping Jose Armando Santa Cruz (28-5, 17 KO's) in the third round. The victory places Judah back in the mix with the top fighters of the junior welterweight division. Judah has now won three straight bouts and five of his last six, while Santa Cruz was kayoed for the fourth time in his professional career.

Judah was euphoric following the fight.

"They mention Timothy Bradley, Devon Alexander and Amir Khan; They are so-called champions," stated Judah. "Don't forget about me. I'm here and I'm coming back!"

Judah is certainly back and credits his original promotional company, Main Events, with his resurgence.

"I came back and got with a promotional company that I started my career with, the promotional company that made Zab Judah who he is," said Judah. "You're going to see a lot of us. We're not going nowhere."

Judah's performance was exceptional, as his punches looked particularly sharp. He displayed a game plan and stuck to it. Judah's shots landed with pinpoint accuracy, and he kept Santa Cruz turning after he threw his combinations.

In the first round, Judah connected with a series of straight lefts and right hooks to Santa Cruz' body. Santa Cruz had a great deal of trouble getting his shots off.

Judah continued his superior lateral movement in round two, repeatedly turning Santa Cruz as soon as he finished landing straight lefts and right hooks to the body. Then, Judah opened up his arsenal a little more and connected with a straight left that landed flush on Santa Cruz' face.

In round three, Judah sneered at Cruz for a brief moment. After that, Cruz stepped up his game and struck Judah with rights and lefts in succession. Next, Judah unleashed a vicious left uppercut that flattened Santa Cruz. Judah, who is known as a terrific finisher, blasted Santa Cruz when he got up with several lefts and rights until Benjy Esteves stopped the action at 2:33.

"He got me with a really good uppercut," said Santa Cruz. "I got beat by a really good fighter."

Clearly, Judah will fight anyone next. WBC and IBF titlist Devon Alexander, WBO titlist Timothy Bradley and WBA titlist Amir Khan top the list of possible upcoming opponents for Judah. Alexander, Bradley and Khan are all excellent, young fighters. However, none of them possess the experience or reputation of Judah. They are all untested and need a fight with Judah to prove themselves in the junior welterweight division. On the other hand, Judah needs them just as much, as his performance tonight indicates he is ready for a title shot right now.

October 2nd at the Prudential Center is the tentative date and venue for Judah's next bout.

"They're talking about them fighting each other," Main Events C.E.O. Kathy Duva stated, referring to the discussions by HBO about Alexander, Bradley and Khan fighting each other.

Duva added, "We have a plan to fight on October 2nd, and if they would like to be here they are more than welcome."

And if Mayweather and Pacquiao cannot agree to terms of a highly anticipated bout, Judah would be more than happy to fight Pacquiao.

"You put 20 million on the table and 40% of that PPV, we'll do it," acknowledged Judah.

Without a doubt, Judah's confidence is at a pinnacle right now.

Judah declared, "This is just my opinion - I'm the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing."

CONCEPCION WINS 2ND PRO FIGHT
Light heavyweight Angel Concepcion improved to (2-0, 0 KO's), capturing a 4 round unanimous decision victory against Shannon Anderson (4-2, 2 KO's). Official scores were 40-35 and 40-36 twice. 

In the first round, Concepcion utilized a stiff left jab to keep Anderson off balance. Anderson was looping his punches and got stunned by an overhand right. 

Concepcion battered Anderson some more in round two, landing consecutive left hook - right hand combinations. Just as the bell sounded to end the round, Anderson connected with a left hook to the head. 

However, Concepcion continued to assault Anderson in round three, wobbling him after landing consecutive left hooks to the head. 

In round four, Concepcion landed a solid left hook to the body. Anderson responded quickly, connecting with a right - left combination. Then, Concepcion answered with an overhand right.

Throughout the entire bout, Concepcion landed the cleaner and more effective punches.

FARRELL, KIDD BATTLE TO A DRAW

In a cruiserweight brawl, Patrick Farrell (5-1-1, 3 KO's) and Newton Kidd (7-7-2, 4 KO's) fought a 6 round majority draw. Official scores were 57-56 for Kidd and 57-57 twice.

In round one, Farrell was very aggressive, but Kidd struck him repeatedly with a stinging left jab. 

Kidd nailed Farrell with a right uppercut - left hook combination in round two, although Farrell answered swiftly, scoring with a big left hook to Kidd's head. Kidd showed more lateral movement than the previous round.

In round three, both men fought at a furious pace. Farrell connected with a number of left hooks, while Kidd staggered him with several rights to the head. Toward the end of the round, Farrell's punches lost a little steam. 

Round four was close, as Farrell scored with a hard left hook and used his jab more. Next, Kidd caught Farrell with a left hook. After that, Kidd landed a left - right combination. 

Farrell opened round five by landing a sharp right to Kidd's stomach. Then, Kidd landed numerous rights to Farrell's head. Farrell was hurt, but would not go down. Farrell displayed a tremendous amount of courage, and fought back valiantly. Both men were exhausted by the end of the round. 

Farrell hurt Kidd in round six after he connected with a right to the head. Consequently, Farrell kept pressuring a tired Kidd, throwing right hands and left hooks to the body. Farrell kept banging away with body shots until the bell sounded. 

KOWNACKI WINS 4TH STRAIGHT BY KO

After exchanging knockdowns in the first round, unbeaten heavyweight prospect Adam Kownacki (4-0, 4 KO's) steamrolled Damon Clement (0-3) with a perfectly timed right hand that floored the Ohio native. Time of the stoppage was :42. Clement has been stopped in all of his professional bouts.

PEREZ DECISIONS BARROS

Welterweight Alex Perez (12-0, 7 KO's) remained undefeated, scoring an 8 round unanimous decision over Edvan Barros (10-10-1, 7 KO's). Official scores were 77-75, 78-74 and 80-72. 

Throughout the fight, Perez connected with numerous right hooks and straight lefts, but Barros displayed a remarkable chin. At times, Barros landed some ferocious body punches, although Perez took the shots well. Barros pushed Perez to the ropes many times in the bout, hammering him with hard body shots. However, it was quite clear that Perez was scoring with extremely sharp counters, mostly to Barros' head.

ALI DAZZLES CROWD, STOPS EDMONDS

Sadam "World Kid" Ali (8-0, 4 KO's) put on his most spectacular performance to date, stopping Julius Edmonds (7-8, 0 KO's) in the third round of a welterweight bout. 

Ali's punches were exceptionally fluid from the opening bell, as he displayed vast improvement in his timing and placement of punches compared to his previous outings. Ali also exhibited quick left hooks and crisp inside punching that left Edmonds astounded. The volume of punches that Ali threw proved to be just too much for Edmonds to handle, as he dropped the Philadelphia fighter with a quick right hand in round one. As a result, Edmonds sustained swelling under his right eye, which led to a small cut opening seconds later.

Ali went on to floor Edmonds with a fast left hook - left uppercut combination in round two.

In round three, a devastating left hook by Ali badly hurt Edmonds. Then, Ali unloaded a barrage of punches with Edmonds' back against the ropes until referee Eddie Cotton halted the bout. Time of the stoppage was 1:14. 

DEMARCO GETS REVENGE

In lightweight action, Nicky DeMarco (3-2, 2 KO's) avenged an earlier 4 round majority decision loss to Jose Guzman (5-8-1, 0 KO's), winning a 4 round unanimous decision by scores of 40-36 and 39-37 twice. 

Beginning in the first round, DeMarco swarmed Guzman with an onslaught of punches and prevented him from unloading his shots. DeMarco trapped Guzman on the ropes numerous times, scoring with a variety of short head and body shots. 

In round two, Guzman struck DeMarco with a solid left hook to the body. However, DeMarco kept coming at him with punches from all angles. Guzman's punches lacked the power to hurt DeMarco.

During the third and fourth rounds, Guzman showed signs of fatigue. In contrast, DeMarco proved to be in superior condition, demonstrating plenty of energy in the second half of the bout.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Interview: Marshall Enzer

(Marshall Enzer is pictured far right)

Marshall Enzer started his brilliant career in the boxing industry as a helper in a small backyard makeshift gym in Van Nuys, California called Ten Goose Boxing. Marshall approached Mr. Joe Goossen for a job, but was turned down because he could not work without a permit at 14-years-old. After attempting 6 more times to get a job at Ten Goose Gym, Joe finally let him work for what has become one of the biggest boxing promoters and trainers in the world today, Goossen Tutor Promotions.

Goossen Tutor promotes of Andre "SOG" Ward, Paul "The Punisher" Williams & Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola. Marshall worked under Joe Goossen at all the local fight cards in the San Fernando Valley's Reseda Country Club, which is no longer open. At the young age of 17-years-old, Marshall had already learned to wrap the fighter's hands, and tend to their swelling and cuts if any occurred during a bout. At 23-years-old, Marshall worked his first World Championship fight as a licensed cutman in Nevada with Mike "Second To" Nunn when he fought Juan Roldan for the IBF Middleweight title in Las Vegas, Nevada. Marshall has earned his spot in the boxing world as one of the best managers and cutmen in the business today. Marshall also learned from the likes of Joe Chavez , Rafael Garcia & Jacob "Stitch" Duran and most of all, Joe Goossen himself.

Marshall Enzer has worked the corner for Michael Nunn, Gabriel Ruelas, Rafael Ruelas, Frankie Duarte, Oliver McCall, Hasim Rahman, Ron Johnson, Daniel Judah, Joseph Judah, Joel Casamayor, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Erislandy Lara, Lionel Butler, Mia St. John and many other numerous fighters around the world. On Friday night, Marshall will be Zab Judah's cutman for the 3rd time when Judah battles Jose Armando Santa Cruz in a sizzling junior welterweight showdown at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. After the weigh-in, I had a chance to speak with Marshall about Zab's training camp. 

Mt. Charleston, the highest summit of the Spring Mountains (11,918 ft.) on the west edge of Las Vegas, Nevada, is where Zab Judah did a series of intense running to prepare for his upcoming bout against Jose Armando Santa Cruz. 

"Zab changed all his living habits to prepare for this fight," Enzer noted. "He ran 3 times a week at Mt. Charleston, which is 8,000 feet above sea level. It was Eddie Mustafa Muhammad's idea."

Eddie Mustafa Muhammad also helped Zab get ready for his bout with Santa Cruz, however, a prior obligation to work the corner for Ishe Smith on Friday night in Southaven, Mississippi will prevent him from being in Zab's corner.

"Zab did a 90 day training camp," stated Enzer. "He didn't start sparring until the 8th week of camp. Once he got down to 145 lbs., we began working on strength and nutrition.

"Zab sparred multiple rounds with Anthony Lenk from Johnny Tacco's Boxing Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada, along with Ishe Smith and undefeated light heavyweight, 'Bad' Chad Dawson in preparation for Santa Cruz. All of the sparring took place at William Haney's H.I.T. Factory Boxing Gym located at 2006 Paradise Rd., Las Vegas, Nevada, 89104, (Tel) 702-485-4422."

Marshall Enzer also serves as the General Manager of the H.I.T. Factory in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is the boxing gym where Zab Judah, Chad Dawson, Celestino Caballero and Guillermo Rigondeaux currently train.

(Zab Judah at today's weigh-in)

Weigh-In Photos


 Jose Armando Santa Cruz (142 lbs.) vs. Zab Judah (141 lbs.) Junior Welterweights


Alex Perez (148 lbs.) vs. Edvan Dos Santos Barros (149 lbs.) Welterweights


 Patrick Farrell (197 lbs.) vs. Newton Kidd (190 lbs.) Cruiserweights


Julias Edmonds (142 lbs.) vs. Sadam Ali (145 lbs.) Welterweights


 Shannon Anderson (178 lbs.) vs. Angel Concepcion (178 lbs.) Light Heavyweights


Nicky DeMarco (132.5 lbs.) vs. Jose L. Guzman (132.5 lbs.) Lightweights


 Adam Kownacki (231 lbs.) vs. Damon Clement (243 lbs.) Heavyweights

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Press Conference: Zab Judah vs. Jose Armando Santa Cruz


On July 16th at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Zab "Super" Judah (38-6, 26 KO's) returns to face the durable Jose Armando Santa Cruz (28-4, 17 KO's) in a ten-round main event on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights". Judah, 32, will be coming off a 9 month layoff when he steps into the ring Friday night, but appears extremely confident moving back down to the junior welterweight division, a weight class where he only lost one time.

"I've taking a year off for Mayweather, a year off for Kostya Tszyu, and I've been off a year just relaxing," stated Judah. "I have a vision in the game that I want to finish up with, and I am going to finish as strong as I started."

Judah is 5-4 with 1 no contest in his last ten bouts. However, he only moved up to welterweight for the money, and was always considered a natural junior welterweight.

"My reason for going up to welterweight was Don King," declared Judah. "Don King said, 'You want to fight Cory Spinks?' I said yeah, yeah I want to do it. I could knock him out! When I won the title, there was no going back."

Judah added, "In the fights with Cotto and Clottey, they were bigger and stronger than me. I wanted to go back to the weight class where I felt comfortable competing. A fight with Mayweather or Pacquiao would be the only reason to go back to 147 lbs."

On the other hand, Santa Cruz, 29, is happy he does not have to make lightweight anymore.

"Making 135 lbs. was too much for me and I felt drained," said Santa Cruz. "I feel very good now. After this fight, I plan on moving up to welterweight."

Since suffering a 6th round knockout loss to Antonio Pitalua in 2008, Santa Cruz has won his last two bouts and attributes that to his father, Jose Santa Cruz Sr., being in his corner.

"My dad gets more out of me," acknowledged Santa Cruz. "He puts more pressure on me than other trainers. He gets mad if I don't do things right."

Santa Cruz believes Judah has really good speed, although he plans to smother Judah's punches and relentlessly attack his body.

"When I put pressure I cannot be reckless," said Santa Cruz. "I must avoid his punches."

This will be Santa Cruz's first fight in New Jersey, however, he did battle Joel Casamayor in 2007 at nearby Madison Square Garden, losing a twelve round split decision. Casamayor, a southpaw like Judah, presents a similar challenge to the Mexican warrior. Santa Cruz believes he has a plan to stop him.

"Both Casamayor and Judah are fast, but I believe Judah is faster," declared Santa Cruz. "I may switch to southpaw against him. I am going to see what will work better during the early rounds. I will apply a lot of pressure to his body."

Judah feels Santa Cruz is tough and is avoided by many fighters.

"A lot of fighters don't want to fight him," said Judah.

An impressive win for Judah could mean a possible fight in the near future against Timothy Bradley, Amir Khan or Devon Alexander. Yet, Judah is not in a rush and not looking past Santa Cruz.

"For 3 1/2 months I had a picture of Santa Cruz in my gym," said Judah. "I'm focused on him."

Judah did acknowledge that a fight against Alexander would be little harder to make than one with Bradley or Khan, because Alexander is promoted by Don King, who used to promote him. There are dates lined up in October and January at the Prudential Center for a possible title shot, which would air on HBO or Showtime.

"How I feel after this fight will dictate what comes next," confirmed Judah.

Judah added, "I've kayoed guys at 147 lbs. and 140 lbs. I bring excitement win, lose or draw."


Undercard Action

Undefeated welterweight prospect Alex Perez (11-0, 7 KO's) takes on tough veteran Edvan Dos Santos Barros (10-9-1, 7 KO's) in an 8 round bout.

In other welterweight action, Sadam Ali (7-0, 3 KO's) puts his undefeated record on the line against Julias Edmonds (7-7, 0 KO's) in a 6 round bout.

After suffering his 1st professional loss, Patrick Farrell (5-1, 3 KO's) will try to bounce back against Newton Kidd (7-7-1, 4 KO's) in a 6 round cruiserweight battle.

In a lightweight bout, Nicky Demarco (2-2, 2 KO's) faces Jose Guzman (5-7-1, 0 KO's) in a rematch. Previously, Guzman won a four-round majority decision. Their rematch is also scheduled for 4 rounds.

Light heavyweight Angel Concepcion (1-0, 0 KO's) will attempt to gain his second professional win against Shannon Anderson (4-1, 2 KO's) in a 4 round match-up.

Heavyweight Adam Kownacki (3-0, 3 KO's) seeks his 4th professional win by knockout when he squares off against Damon Clement (0-2, 0 KO's) in a scheduled four-rounder.

Tickets priced at $53, $78, $103 and $203 (ringside) can be purchased at Prudential Center Box Office, by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or by visiting www.prucenter.com

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Talking Boxing With ESPN's Brian Kenny


Born on October 18, 1963, Brian Kenny attended St. John's University and the New York Institute of Technology. Prior to joining ESPN, Kenny was Sports Director at WTZA-TV in Kingston, N.Y. for 11 years, where he won 11 New York State Broadcasters Association Awards, along with 5 Associated Press Awards for Journalistic Excellence. In 2005, Kenny was the recipient of the Sam Taub Award, given by the Boxing Writers Association of America to its Boxing Broadcaster of the Year.

Recently, I had the opportunity and distinct pleasure of interviewing Brian Kenny, ESPN's Studio Host of "Friday Night Fights". We discussed Zab Judah's next fight, Rafael Marquez' battles with Israel Vazquez, the "Super Six" tournament and much more; here are his thoughts:

Zab Judah returns to action July 16th on "Friday Night Fights" against Jose Armando Santa Cruz. If Judah wins, can he become a major factor again in the junior welterweight division?

I've always loved Zab, but it's rare for anyone to drop back to an old weight class and dominate. It's not as if Zab jumped up to a weight class that was beyond his frame - like Shane Mosley going to 154 lbs. There are a lot of young lions at 140, and I don't know if I'd favor Zab against Amir Khan or Devon Alexander. That, by the way, is not such a disrespectful thing - those are 2 of the most complete young stars in the sport.

After a magnificent trilogy, Rafael Marquez stopped Israel Vazquez quite easily in the 3rd round of their fourth fight. Did you expect Marquez to look so much sharper than Vazquez?

Rafael Marquez has long been one of my favorites. I was definitely surprised by the outcome. I had thought he had gotten the worst of it against Izzy in the 3rd fight, and I thought the whole trilogy sucked the life out of both men. Glad to see a great warrior have that pinpoint precision again, and glad both weren't crippled in the process - they do awful things to the other.

Miguel Cotto is a solid fighter, who fought valiantly in brutal knockout losses to Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao. Has Cotto sustained too much damage to be a force in the junior middleweight division?

I think Cotto is still a major player at welterweight and junior middleweight. I was ringside for his fight with Pacquiao, and he would've beaten most anyone in the world that night. He wasn't damaged walking in - he came in to WIN. It's just that he faced a total warrior, who was just too fast and too nasty. The first 3 rounds of that fight are an all-time great.

With the success of Showtime's "Super Six" tournament, do you see HBO following their footsteps, possibly staging a junior middleweight or junior welterweight tournament soon?

The Super Six tourney is fabulous. It's definitely sparked interest, but it takes so long, takes such cooperation, and is so difficult logistically, I don't see it taking hold. That said, I applaud those who put it together. There isn't a bad match-up in the bunch, but again, that takes its toll on the fighters.

Tomasz Adamek looked exceptional at cruiserweight, winning impressively versus O'Neil Bell, Steve Cunningham and Jonathon Banks. Now, Adamek has conquered Andrew Golota, Jason Estrada and Chris Arreola at heavyweight. How much of a chance do you give Adamek to defeat Vitali and/or Wladimir Klitschko?

Adamek has turned into a very good heavyweight. I did not expect it, but it speaks to where the division is right now that a light-heavyweight champ can jump up post-prime and start beating top ten heavies. Can he beat either Klitschko? No. And no one else can either.

Throughout the history of boxing, there have been some stellar, one-punch knockouts. Which one would you rank higher - "Sugar" Ray Robinson's sweeping left hook versus Gene Fulmer in their second fight in 1957, or Rocky Marciano's right hand blow to Joe Walcott's head in their first meeting in 1952? Is there another one you would personally rank higher than both of those examples?

The Rock's right hand is the best shot ever. Look back at those clips - Marciano ALWAYS found a way. Yes, he ruled a weak era, but looking through his fights, you realize you cannot dismiss him in the all-time debate. He may have hunted down Ali, or out-slugged a prime Joe Louis. Can't rule it out.

I would like to thank Brian Kenny again for taking time out of his extremely busy schedule and granting me this interview. When Brian Kenny is not hosting "Friday Night Fights", you can find him anchoring the 6 p.m. ET edition of Sportscenter, as well as hosting ESPN Radio's "Brian Kenny Show", which debuted in February 2009.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ward Cruises Past Green, Looks Ahead To Bout With Dirrell


 
Andre Ward (22-0, 13 KO's) used superior in-fighting to simply assault Allan Green (29-2, 20 KO's) for twelve rounds, winning 120-108 on all scorecards. With the victory, Ward retained his WBA super middleweight title.

Ward, 26, came out strong from the opening bell, and constantly was first with his shots. Ward never gave Green a chance to get off a jab, as he smothered his shots continuously throughout the fight.

In a slow-paced first round, both fighters tried to get into a rhythm and battled competitively in the clinches. After that, Green was never close to harming Ward. Ward dictated the action, hitting Green and then tying him up. Green managed to land a counter left hook toward the end of round two, although Ward responded swiftly with his own lunging left hook.

In round three, Ward got Green against the ropes and pounded him mercilessly with potent left hooks to the body. Ward took away any strength Green held inside of him, battering him with short, accurate punches for approximately two minutes.

Ward sustained his fierce offensive attack in close quarters during the fourth round, hammering Green with numerous left hooks. Then, Green tagged Ward with a flush left hook, but Ward absorbed it and wore down Green further as the round progressed.

Ward's overall physical strength was just too much for Green to overcome. As the fifth round came to a close, Ward connected with a solid straight right to Green's head.

In the sixth round, Ward and Green traded left hooks. Next, Ward staggered Green with a series of right hands to the head. Green could not back Ward up, which led to Ward peppering him with a multitude of crisp punches.

Green hardly landed any punches in the second half of the fight, and experienced some swelling above his left eye after round seven.

Ward momentarily hurt Green with a right-left combination in the beginning of round ten, and continued to impose his will on a mentally and physically beaten Green.

At times, it seemed Green was sitting back waiting to hit Ward with a counter punch. One of Green's problems was thinking he could counter someone, whom he quickly discovered, possessed much quicker reflexes and hand speed than he did.  Once Green realized he could not compete with Ward's speed, talent and keen instincts, he became a punching bag for the 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist. Another problem Green had was  fighting in close quarters, which was due in large part to Ward's first-rate boxing skills and a lack of mental toughness. When the fight got tough for Green, he just fizzled out and it enabled Ward to overwhelm him in every phase of the game.
Currently, the "Super Six" standings are as follows:
Andre Ward - 4 points (2-0)
Arthur Abraham - 3 points (1-1, 1 KO)
Carl Froch - 2 points (1-1)
Andre Dirrell - 2 points (1-1)
Mikkel Kessler - 2 points (1-1)
Allan Green - 0 points (0-1) *Replaced Jermain Taylor (0-1)*

GROUP STAGE 3

ANDRE DIRRELL vs. ANDRE WARD

CARL FROCH vs. ARTHUR ABRAHAM

MIKKEL KESSLER vs. ALLAN GREEN

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