Judah revitalizes career, earns unanimous decision over Johnson

Originally Published: November 9, 2008
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- Despite blood smeared across his face from the third round on, former undisputed welterweight champion Zab Judah dominated Ernest Johnson to take a unanimous decision Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

Fighting in the final undercard bout before the Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones main event, Judah started the process of trying to again resurrect his career after losing a ninth-round technical decision to Joshua Clottey when they met for a vacant welterweight title on Aug. 2.

[+] EnlargeZab Judah
AP Photo/Ed BetzZab Judah, right, got his career back in track by outpointing Ernest Johnson over 10 rounds.
In that fight, Judah suffered a bad cut over his left eye from an accidental head butt and the fight was stopped and sent to the scorecards for the technical decision.

In the third round against Johnson (18-3-1, 7 KOs), Judah (37-6, 25 KOs) suffered two cuts from accidental head butts, a nasty gash over his left eye and a smaller cut to the side of his right eye. The cut over his left eye was in a similar spot to the cut in the Clottey fight, so perhaps the skin was not fully healed.

Judah, 31, fighting in his hometown, weighed 144½ pounds in the first step to what he says will be a return to the 140-pound junior welterweight division, where he twice held versions of the title.

Johnson took Judah's punches well but had little power to do any damage. He is a lightweight/junior welterweight and was at his heaviest weight, 144 pounds.

The judges had it for Judah, 99-91 and 98-92 (twice). ESPN.com also had it for Judah, 98-92.

• Junior welterweight Frankie Figueroa (20-2, 13 KOs) squeaked out a split decision against Emanuel Augustus (38-30-6, 20) in an eight-round junior welterweight bout.

Figueroa, the hometown fighter, won 77-75 on two scorecards. One judge gave it to Augustus, 77-75.

Figueroa, who recently signed with Jones' promotional company, Square Ring, was originally supposed to face former junior welterweight titlist Gavin Rees. But Rees, trained by Enzo Calzaghe, suffered a broken nose in training.

Augustus, something of a folk hero to hard-core fight fans for his numerous entertaining bouts and offbeat personality, was summoned on short notice, like he has been so many times before.

And like he has often done, Augustus, who had fans cheering when he started to dance and jive during the fifth round, turned in a solid performance and certainly could have been rewarded with the decision.

• Junior welterweight Dmitriy Salita (29-0-1, 16 KOs) won a unanimous decision against Derrick Campos (17-6, 10 KOs) although it was a very difficult fight for the New York-based Ukrainian.

Judge Robin Taylor absurdly had it a 120-108 shutout for Salita, who was hurt several times and on the verge of going down a few times. Matt Ruggero had it 117-111 and Don Ackerman had it 115-113, both for Salita.

Salita was originally supposed to challenge junior welterweight titleholder and countryman Andreas Kotelnik. However, Kotelnik suffered a rib injury in his first defense on Sept. 13 and withdrew from the bout.

Campos had several big moments, including in the fourth round when he hurt Salita with body shots and had him on the verge of going down.

• Super middleweight Daniel Jacobs (12-0, 11 KOs) overwhelmed Jimmy Campbell (11-3, 2 KOs) in a lopsided third-round TKO.

Jacobs, 21, the standout amateur now with Golden Boy Promotions, is from Brooklyn, and was fighting in his hometown for the first time as a professional and didn't disappoint.

He dominated from start to finish. Jacobs dropped Campbell to face-first from an accumulation of punishment in the third round and unloaded dozens of unanswered blows in a follow-up attack until the fight was finally called off at 2:59.

• Despite being outweighed by 72 pounds, heavyweight Dominick Guinn (30-6-1, 20 KOs) easily outpointed 301-pound Gabe Brown (18-9-4, 12 KOs). Scores were 80-72 and 79-73 (twice) for Guinn, the onetime rising contender now co-promoted by Lou DiBella and Jones' Square Ring. It was the second win for Guinn in two weeks. He knocked out Canada's Jean-Francois Bergeron in Montreal on Oct. 24.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.