- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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LAS VEGAS -- One week ago, Zab Judah's claim as welterweight champion went up in smoke when he was shockingly upset by unheralded Carlos Baldomir. Also up in smoke: Judah's planned spring super-fight with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Or so everyone thought.
But this is boxing and the show apparently must go on.
Mayweather promoter Bob Arum and Judah promoter Don King told ESPN.com on Friday that regardless of Judah's stunning loss, he and Mayweather will still meet here in a 12-rounder on April 8 at the Thomas & Mack Center in an HBO PPV main event.
"We've reworked our deals but the fight will still go on," Arum said. "There are a lot of people who want to see the fight even though Judah lost. Is it as big as it was had Judah not lost? Probably not. Can it still be an exciting event for boxing fans? Sure."
Mayweather and Judah, both fast and flashy fighters, were once close friends. But they have grown more distant as they have viciously trash-talked each other for the past several months in anticipation of an eventual meeting, which, prior to Judah's defeat, figured to be one of the most significant fights of 2006.
A news conference announcing the fight is planned for Feb. 1 in New York, Arum said.
Longtime rivals Arum and King have reworked their deal, both confirmed. Arum also said that he and Mayweather worked out a new deal and that an agreement with HBO PPV was in place.
The one item remaining to be finalized is King and Judah agreeing to terms with each other. However, that appears to be a formality given that Judah has few options coming off a loss, and none nearly as lucrative as a fight with Mayweather (35-0, 24 KOs).
"Don't worry about that. Me and Zab are together. The fight will happen," King said.
Arum and King spent the past week reworking the terms of the fight after Baldomir won a unanimous decision against a woefully underprepared Judah (34-3, 25 KOs) on Jan. 7 in New York.
Mayweather, a junior welterweight titlist moving up to welterweight, had been scheduled to earn a minimum $6 million to face Judah while the Judah/King side was to earn $3 million plus a percentage of the profits.
However, with Judah losing, the deal points have changed significantly. Mayweather will earn a minimum $5 million while the Judah/King side will be guaranteed $1 million plus a percentage of profits above $7 million.
In addition, host casinos Caesars Palace and Wynn Las Vegas reduced the amount of their promised ticket buy by $600,000. Arum also reduced the top ticket price for the fight from $800 to $700.
The Dream Fight between Zab Judah and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is back on, despite a recent Judah loss, Dan Rafael reports.