Former two-division world titleholder Zab Judah, idle for nearly 1½ years and having boxed only twice since 2013, is returning to the ring and hopes to compete eventually for a seventh belt.
The 41-year-old Judah will take on fellow New Yorker Cletus Seldin on June 7 at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, Star Boxing promoter Joe DeGuardia announced on Monday.
The fight will headline a card DeGuardia is putting on to coincide with the 30th annual International Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend a few minutes away in Canastota, New York.
Judah and Seldin will compete in a junior welterweight bout scheduled for either 10 or 12 rounds, DeGuardia said.
Brooklyn's Judah, long one of boxing's most well-known names, won world titles at junior welterweight and welterweight, where he was the undisputed world champion. He has fought a who's who of top opponents throughout his 23-year career, including Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, Lucas Matthysse, Amir Khan, Danny Garcia, Paulie Malignaggi, Cory Spinks (twice), Kostya Tszyu, Carlos Baldomir, Micky Ward and Junior Witter.
After back-to-back decision losses to Garcia (in a junior welterweight title fight) and Malignaggi in 2013, Judah was out of the ring for three years before fighting once in 2017 and once in 2018 and notching victories against low-level opponents.
But Judah (44-9, 30 KOs) said he never retired and has been training again seriously in New York for the past year. After meeting with various promoters, he accepted an offer from DeGuardia to face Seldin.
"I've been in the gym training with young guys back in New York, and they say that even though I'm 41, I'm still moving great, still dropping guys, still fast, still have power," Judah told ESPN. "I never retired. I've never even uttered the word 'retirement.'
"I was back in the gym with these young guys and I was like, 'Let me get back in shape.' I got into shape first, and now I am ready to fight again. I've always kept in decent shape. I'm very proud. I'm 41 years old and still can fight at 140 pounds. In 1993, I won my first New York Golden Gloves at 139 pounds. Now it's 2019, and I'm still fighting at 140 pounds. If that ain't discipline, I don't know what is."
Judah said he hopes to use the fight with Seldin -- which DeGuardia said would have a broadcast outlet but that he is still working on finalizing a deal -- to springboard himself to another chance to fight for a world title.
"Cletus Seldin never fought nobody," Judah said. "He lost to the only guy he ever faced who was the real-deal situation. But Joe said, 'What about fighting Cletus?' He's a New York fighter, he has a good record. But I got more knockouts than he has fights. On paper, it's a good New York fight, and we'll give 'em a good show. I'm just gonna go out there and show that at 41, I'm still a force to be reckoned with. That's my goal, 100 percent, to go for another world title.
"Cletus will set the tone and let me show people where I'm at. I'm gonna go in there and be the monster I am and demolish him. I feel so good; still have my reflexes, my speed and power.
"I'm back in the trenches. I'm ready to go."
Known as "The Hebrew Hammer," Seldin (23-1, 19 KOs), 32, of Shirley, New York, burst onto the national scene when he scored an exciting, third-round knockout of Robert Ortiz on HBO in November 2017 and then returned to the network just one month later. But he was outclassed and suffered a lopsided, 10-round decision to Yves Ulysse Jr.
Elbow surgery followed, and Seldin was out action for 11 months. But he returned in November and has won two fights in a row by first-round knockout.
In the co-feature, middleweight James "Buddy" McGirt Jr. (27-3-1, 14 KOs), 36, of Vero Beach, Florida, will take on David Papot (22-0, 3 KOs), 28, of France, who will be fighting outside of his home country for the first time.
McGirt will be boxing on the card on the same weekend that his father, Buddy McGirt, a former two-division world titleholder and now one of boxing's top trainers, will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on June 9.