April 8, 2006- At the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Floyd Mayweather took on Zab Judah in a welterweight contest that was for the IBF and IBO belt at 147. What happened in the ring as it went on was nothing short of classic boxing controversy.
Heading into the fight, Judah (34-3,25 KOs) was the undisputed welterweight champion at the time, but earlier in the year was upset by Carlos Manuel Baldomir in a unanimous decision in Madison Square Garden. Baldomir won the WBC title, but he didn’t get the WBA and IBF titles because he didn’t pay them their required sanctioning fees. This let Judah, despite the loss, keep the IBF belt heading into the contest.
Mayweather himself was coming in undefeated (34-0, 24 KOs) off a 2005 year, which started with the dismantling of Arturo Gatti and a quick stoppage of Sharmba Mitchell in his jump to welterweight that November of that year. The scheduled bout was arranged for April 8 with different financial terms, but once Judah lost the titles, it was renegotiated.
This change was to Mayweather being scheduled to earn a minimum of $6 million, and Judah was to receive $3 million-plus a percentage of the profits. The revised figures of Mayweather would earn a minimum of $5 million while Judah was guaranteed $1 million-plus a percentage of profits above $7 million.
Those profits would be from the HBO pay-per-view price tag of $44.95 and a crowd of 15,170.
The fight generated 374,000 pay-per-view buys and $16.8 million in pay-per-view revenue once the numbers were tallied.
Promotional Fight poster for Floyd Mayweather and Zab JudahOnce the bell rang, it was a tale of two fights, and it swung from the onset. Judah and his southpaw style gave some trouble to Mayweather in the early rounds. There was a moment where Mayweather’s glove touched the canvas in the second round but was ruled a slip from the referee by Richard Steele. The broadcast made note that once Mayweather by the middle rounds took complete control of the fight to the point leaving Judah with a bloody nose as it went on.
Late in the tenth round, Judah hit Mayweather with a blatant low blow followed by a punch to the back of the head. As the referee called timeout to give Mayweather a chance to recover, Mayweather’s uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather, entered the ring and went after Judah. The referee and a security guard restrained him.
Yoel Judah, Zab’s father, and trainer, then entered the ring and threw a punch at Roger. The ring was soon filled with members of the fighter camps and security in a scary free-for-all that came close to sparking a full-scale riot. During the melee, Zab hit Mayweather cornerman, Leonard Ellerbe, in the back of the head. After several minutes, the order was restored, and the fight continued.
Once the free-for-all in the ring was cleared out, Mayweather cruised in the final two rounds and scored the unanimous decision victory with scores of 119-109, 117-111, and 116-112 all in favor of Mayweather. The final punch numbers shown that in classic Mayweather defense, made Judah miss and miss often only landing a total of 82 out of 444 punches (19%) while Mayweather landed 188 out of 404 (47%)
After the fight, a hearing took place on April 13 where the Nevada State Athletic Commission fined the following for there involvement in the melee during the tenth round:
* Roger Mayweather $200,000 and revoked his boxing license for one year.
At a hearing on May 8, the commission disciplined the other offenders in the melee:
- Zab Judah was fined $350,000 and had his license revoked for one year.
- Yoel Judah was fined $100,000 and had his license revoked for one year, and
- Leonard Ellerbe was fined $50,000 and had his license suspended for four months.
The reasoning for all of this by Marc Ratner, executive director of the commission, said Zab’s previous history in Nevada worked against him. Zab was suspended for six months and fined $75,000 following a 2001 TKO loss to Kostya Tszyu. After that loss, Zab was so enraged by referee Jay Nady’s stoppage that he threw a ring stool at Nady and shoved a gloved hand under Nady’s chin.
But on this night, despite the chaos, Mayweather came out victorious in what was a wild event that took place during the fight.