Those questions are not likely to be answered until Feb. 9, when Garcia (25-0, 16 knockouts) defends his RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight belts against the 35-year-old southpaw at Barclays Center in Judah’s native Brooklyn on Showtime.
Although the fight still is two months away, the fires were stoked early during this past Saturday afternoon’s press conference at Gallagher’s Steak House.
Tempers flared between the fighters’ camps when Judah (42-7, 29 KOs) took exception to Angel Garcia’s characterization of him as a past-his-prime boxer who would not last more than five rounds against his son.
“Zab is a four-round fighter,” said Angel Garcia, “and Danny’s going to knock him out in four rounds.”
Sitting adjacent and to the left of Angel Garcia, Judah then rose for an intense verbal exchange with the trainer, from whom he had to be separated by former undisputed middleweight champion and Golden Boy partner Bernard Hopkins.
“I am not perfect,” said Judah, later. “I make mistakes. I got mad.”
An approximately 15-minute long fracas ensued, during which no punches were thrown, no one was hurt, and after which calm was restored to allow father, son and Judah to conduct controlled, yet heated one-on-one interviews with media members.
“Danny is a cool, calm fighter. His dad is the mouth,” said Judah, of his 24-year-old adversary. “When you come into Brooklyn, you have to show some respect. Take your ass whooping and head down I-95.”
Garcia is coming off October’s fourth-round stoppage of Mexican four-division titlewinner Erik Morales at Barclays Center in a rematch of his unanimous decision victory in March.
The triumph over Morales followed Garcia’s equally sensational fourth-round technical knockout of Amir Khan in July, which added the RING and WBA belts to his collection.
“It’s going to be another epic show. Come Feb. 9, I’m going to show you. I’m going to knock you out,” said Danny Garcia, directing his words at Judah.
“Now there’s going to be a fight on Feb. 9. I am old-school. I always go for the knockout. I’m going to punish him. I’m going for the knockout. This is not going past four rounds.”
Once the RING, WBA, WBC and IBF welterweight titleholder as well as the WBO and IBF junior welterweight beltholder, Judah was last in the ring in March, when he stopped previously undefeated Vernon Paris in the ninth round to rebound from a fifth-round stoppage loss to Khan in July of last year.
Judah was ringside for Garcia-Morales II, and will represent Garcia’s sixth consecutive bout against a current or former world titleholder following consecutive decisions over ex-beltholders Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt in April and October of last year, respectively.
“He [Judah] is going to try hard, because he is fighting in Brooklyn, and he is in his hometown. He is going to do a lot of barking and I am going to do a lot of biting,” said Danny Garcia.
“I won the title in Houston in front of Morales’ fans. I beat Khan in Las Vegas, and he had a lot of fans there, so this isn’t anything new to me.”
Judah’s past includes losses to world champions such as Joshua Clottey, Kostya Tszyu, Miguel Cotto, Carlos Baldomir, Cory Spinks and Floyd Mayweather Jr., with the setbacks against Cotto and Clottey, Mayweather, Spinks and Baldomir taking place in the welterweight division.
Judah was 22 and undefeated when he captured his first crown, the vacant IBF junior welterweight title, with a fourth-round stoppage of Jan Piet Bergman in February of 2000.
Judah defended that belt five times, with four knockouts, before being dethroned via second-round stoppage against Tszyu in November of 2001.
Judah regained the IBF junior welterweight belt by beating Kaizer Mabuza last year, but lost it to Khan, ending a streak of five straight wins, three of them by knockout, since a ninth-round technical decision loss to Clottey in August of 2008.
Although most consider Judah be at the twilight of his career, he believes that he can still be a force in the talented 140-pound division by returning to his home town and recapturing his youth against Garcia.
“You’ve got a hungry Zab Judah. Get your seat belt on, because it’s going to be a roller coaster on Feb. 9. I am too fast, too slick and too strong for Garcia. Feb. 9 is going to be fun,” said Judah.
“My first title fight was on Showtime, and now, I have a chance to win the unified title on Showtime. It’s a dream to have an arena right in my borough. After 16 years as a professional,,I am going to be able to give my borough the championship of the world.”
Targeted for the Garcia-Judah undercard are WBO middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin (28-0, 20 KOs) in his first defense against former undisputed champion Jermain Taylor, and 160-pound prospect Danny Jacobs (24-1, 21 KOs), of Brooklyn.
Quillin, 29, is coming off a unanimous decision win that dethroned previously unbeaten Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, whom Quillin dropped six times on the Garcia-Morales II undercard.
Jacobs, 25, is coming off this past Saturday’s fifth-round knockout of Chris “The Irish Ghost” Fitzpatrick on Showtime on the undercard of WBA junior middleweight beltholder Austin Trout’s unanimous decision over three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Prior to facing Fitzpatrick, Jacobs scored a 73-second knockout of Josh Luteran on the Garcia-Morales II card.
Photos by Ester Lin, Showtime
Photo by Al Bello, Gettyimages
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com