LAS VEGAS -- The fight between Floyd Mayweather and Zab Judah was billed as "Sworn Enemies," but it appears the real bad blood was between Roger Mayweather and Yoel Judah, as the older family members of the speedy welterweights went at it in the middle of the 10th round after Judah landed a hard low blow that doubled over Mayweather.
Roger Mayweather, uncle and head trainer of his nephew, jumped into the ring in a rage and was met there by Yoel Judah, father and head trainer of his son, and the two former fighters had to be separated by a dozen security guards. For tense minutes it seemed as though a full-scale riot would break out inside the packed Thomas & Mack Center, but order was eventually restored and Mayweather went back to doing what he'd done since the fifth round of the fight -- outclass Judah.
At the end of the 12-round fight, which should have ended in a disqualification loss for Mayweather in the 10th because his trainer broke the rules by entering the ring during a round in progress (and let's be honest, it was probably allowed to continue to avoid pandemonium in the arena), the fighter whom many fans and members of the press call the best fighter in the world was a clear-cut winner over his Brooklyn-born rival.
Mayweather improved to 36-0 (24) via unanimous decision and scores of 119-109, 117-111 and 116-112. However, it took a few rounds for the cream to rise to the top.
For four rounds, Mayweather looked uncomfortable and off-balance, as he swung and missed, initiated clinches, and ate more jabs than fans are used to seeing. Judah, who fell to 36-3-2 (24), looked very sharp in the opening rounds, as he feinted Mayweather out of position and connected with hard jabs and occasional straight lefts.
In the second round, Mayweather slipped to the canvas in what many ringside observers thought was a knockdown scored by Judah. In the fourth round, Judah nailed Mayweather, driving his Las Vegas-based rival to the ropes and causing the crowd to rise and chant "Judah! Judah!" However, Mayweather kept his cool under fire, blocked or slipped all of Judah's follow-up shots and in the fifth round the boxing master began to work his craft -- landing double lead right hands, left hooks to the body, and quick combinations all while making Judah miss punches.
Judah sucked it up and talked smack to Mayweather by the end of the fifth, but di so through a bloody mouth and nose.
What began as a high-intensity chess match quickly evolved into a one-sided blood-letting from rounds six through nine. Mayweather walked his foe down, landed accurate single shots to the body and head and gradually wore down a bewildered Judah, whose right eye began to swell and face transformed into a contorted, bloody mask of pain.
Judah was reduced from being a competent and composed boxer to a desperate one handed slugger, hoping to land a lucky left.
He landed it in the 10th round; unfortunately it was delivered to Mayweather's cup.
Roger Mayweather, who won titles at 130 and 140 pounds in the 1980s, must have suffered a flashback to the good ole days, because he charged Judah as soon as referee Richard Steele broke the two fighters up for the infraction.
"Roger was choking me," Judah said afterward. "I didn't mean to hit Mayweather low; I was aiming for the body."
When asked about the fight, Judah was humble and gracious.
"No excuses," he said. "I was beaten by the better man tonight."
So where does the better man go from here?
Mayweather's promoter, Bob Arum, has reserved the Thomas & Mack Center for July 29 - a date presumably held for WBO welterweight title holder Antonio Margarito to face Mayweather. However, when asked about the dangerous Mexican fighter, Mayweather kept his 147-pound options open.
"It could be Margarito," he said. "It could also be [Oscar] De La Hoya or even Shane [Mosley]."
If any of those fights happen, the spurious IBF welterweight title Mayweather won from Judah may not be on the line. For now, Mayweather has a unanimous victory over Judah, but the purses of both fighters have been suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission until the 10th-round melee can be reviewed. Roger Mayweather's trainer license has also been temporarily suspended until the commission can review his actions in that round.
Tonight's victory could be ruled a DQ victory for Judah or even a no-contest.