Things got intense at the weigh-in on Friday (Photo courtesy of BoricuaBoxing.com).
Junior Welterweight Championship on the Line on Saturday Night
All of the build-up and preparation for an IBF Junior Welterweight Championship Fight between Zab Judah (40-6, 27 KOs) and Kaizer Mabuza (23-6-1, 14 KOs) reaches its boiling point tonight at the AmeriHealth Pavilion in Newark, New Jersey. With the vacant title on the line, the two highly motivated fighters are set to battle in the feature bout of the inaugural sports event at the venue, which is located inside Prudential Center.
"I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for bringing me here,” Judah said. “I respect Kaizer Mabuza for what he's done and his climb to the top. Me and my trainers, we've prepared ourselves well for this opportunity. He's a young man here (Mabuza). He has a lot of time to come back and try to do this again, but this Saturday night is not his time. I respect him for coming over and taking this opportunity, but Saturday night you will see a five time champion of the world."
In preparation for this bout, Judah has enlisted the services of former world champion Pernell Whitaker, who has presented some of his extensive defensive strategy to the aggressive style that Judah normally employs.
"Pernell has been a great influence. I think we are going to Def Comedy Jam after this,” Judah laughed. “Not only has Pernell Whitaker brought great skills to me, but he tweaked my whole world. He also brought humor, entertainment and kept the camp happy. He brought a lot of excitement, joy and fun. We had a great training camp in Las Vegas. We trained very, very hard for this fight. He came in for a six weeks of training camp, but I'd been training myself long before that. I kind of skipped Christmas and New Years and focused on Kaizer Mabuza. I kept my mind focused on the plan. I mean, I'm ready."
The influence of Whitaker was already evident in Judah this week when he addressed the media, which Whitaker says will come full tilt when the bell rings on Saturday night.
“First of all, I'm not here to talk about strategy,” Whitaker stated. “I think I've given Zab enough, that he has enough in his toolkit for this particular fight. He's done everything I've asked him to do. He's done a little more. Whatever Zab used to do in the past is in the past, and now he has a new direction, a great direction. He's one of boxing's best. So I expect to see that."
Mabuza, who has spent most of his career fighting in his native South Africa, last stepped into the ring in February of 2010 to face Kendall Holt at Bally’s in Atlantic City for an IBF Eliminator Bout. In surprising fashion, Mabuza scored the upset after a corner stoppage in the sixth round.
"I'm glad to be back in America. It's an honor to me to fight a person like Zab Judah,” Mabuza commented. “I think he had his time. He's a former world champion. I think this is my time, because I'm still hungry for success. And I promise him, when I take the ring, I change. I become a new man. I'm hungry for success, so you have to expect that it will be like fireworks."
The first fight of this card will occur at 7:30 p.m., and some tickets still remain for the event at the Prudential Center box office. Anyone unable to make it to Newark can still watch the entire bill through Integrated PPV.