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Whitaker Praises Transformed Judah


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Whitaker Praises Transformed Judah


Former two weight world boxing champion Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker believes we will see a more polished and transformed Zab Judah when he faces South African Kaizer Mabuza for the vacant IBF junior-welterweight title at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on March 5.


Older boxing fans will no doubt be aware that Whitaker’s unique style made him arguably one of the greatest ever defensive boxers of all time. The 47 year-old, who hung up his gloves in 2001, has nothing but praise for the way Judah has prepared for the Mabuza fight and believes the very best Judah will turn up on March 5.


"You can’t even imagine the feelings I am having right now about this kid (Judah),” said Whitaker. “He’s like a student all over again, it’s like re-teaching the guy some of the best things about himself. Nobody probably knows better than me, other than his father, about his fight game. It’s been easy for me to give him the transformation to do all the things I know he can do very well, and to please the crowd."


Whitaker added: "Zab had a different mentality (before training with Whitaker). It’s not Zab’s style being a knock out artist and trying to prove that he could punch. He’s a finesse fighter, he has probably the quickest hands in the sport and he has power. So he has to let all those things come together."


Reflecting on his own career as one of he world’s top welterweights and now as a trainer Whitaker said: "I’m a scientist now, I’m not a boxer, but I was a legend, I wasn’t just a boxer. I knew the game from A to Z. You can come to me with your opinion, but I know the facts. So what I’m doing with this young man is giving him the facts. If I think something don’t work, we won’t do it. I don’t take no risks, there’s no carelessness.


"I don’t train guys to be like me, I help guys to do the things that work for them. If I can teach you how to hit and not get hit, then that’s a blessing for you. Zab has the same abilities that I have but Zab still has to put it together and do it the way that Zab knows how to do it."


Whitaker has prepared Judah, 40-6-(27), to go 12 hard rounds but if he gets the job done beforehand, all the better. "If the fight is scheduled 12 rounds, we’re prepared to go 12 rounds. My job is to make sure he’s ready to give you people 12 solid rounds. If anything less happens (rounds) that’s just a tribute to his hard work," said Witaker.


"I’m a defensive fighter. That’s the first thing I’m going to remind him of, how to not get hit. That’s the main goal. To hit and not get hit is a beautiful feeling."


So, what does Zab have to do to get to the top of his 140lb division? "All he has to do is stay focused,” insisted Whitaker . “He’s transformed into something totally different than I’ve seen in old Zab. He’s a new father, he has a beautiful family, he’s into his church thing and his religion. He’s just more settled down than the Zab that I’ve seen in the past. When he boxes the way he knows how to box, I can’t see nobody in this division out-boxing Zab.


"I think (in the past) the head butts have been his biggest downfall. He’s been through a couple of those. So it’s my main focus to keep his head out of there. Keep him out of trouble; keep him out of danger spots."


In terms training, so far Whitaker is delighted with what he’s seen. "It’s been a phenomenal four weeks so far with Zab. He’s been looking me right in the eye cause he wants to know these things. He wants to get it down right. So now I’m gonna put all those things together; the finesse; the speed; and the power that he does have. I want to put all three of those things together into one and let him work it out March 5th. What you’re gonna get this time is some good boxing, some great defense and a good jab.


"I haven’t seen anything exciting in the sport in a long time, but I know I will on March 5th when I see this young man (Judah) go out there and do ’me’ all over again. You’re gonna see Zab Judah perform out there."



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