Guess what, a controversial boxing decision in Las Vegas. The nation is getting back to normal.
“I’m part of history now,” said Kostya Tszyu after posting a stunning second-round knockout of IBF junior welterweight champion Zab Judah as a $2.60 underdog Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“This was my destiny,” said Tszyu, who previously owned the WBA and WBC titles in the 140-pound division. “Now I am at the top of the pound for pound list.”
The victory capped another “evening of the bizarre” in Las Vegas boxing. The fight was stopped at 2:59, one second before the round was scheduled to end. Referee Jay Nady determined that Judah was unfit to continue after the New York fighter staggered backwards trying to rise quickly from the canvas.
Judah then went berserk as he attempted to confront the referee while being held back by his corner people in a wild post-fight scene that saw a chair flung in the ring.
“Typically Vegas,” Showtime boxing announcer Steve Albert said shaking his head as he was leaving the arena.
Judah’s angered entourage included former heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson. The Las Vegas resident was thrust into the role of peacemaker, just another strange twist on a card that had already seen a dubious knockout an hour earlier.
Highly-touted Mexican fighter Francisco Bojado stopped Mauro Lucero in the first round with a punch not one ringside observer claimed to have seen.
Bojado’s rise in the boxing ranks to main event status will happen another day. This night in betting circles belonged to Tszyu-Judah, hyped as comparable to the Alexis Arguello-Aaron Pryor and Julio Cesar Chavez-Meldrick Taylor fights, considered the best 140-pound bouts of the past 20 years.
“I had a strong feeling that Tszyu would win so that the promoters could schedule a rematch,” one ringside reporter said.
GamingToday scored the first round for Judah, who bloodied Tszyu’s nose and dazzled the native Russian with his quickness.
Tszyu was fighting a much better second round, cutting the ring off and scoring points as the aggressor before nailing Judah with one right hand and following up with another to the head that send the previously unbeaten fighter to the mat.
Tszyu, now 28-1-1 with 23 KOs, was a 20-1 shot to win by second round knockout according to odds posted from Las Vegas Sports Consultants.
The knockout result paid bettors 4-1. MGM officials said the closing price was plus $1.05 if the would have lasted beyond the fifth round.
While the ringside bettors that chose Tszyu were correct, their assessment any rematch was apparently wrong.
“He (Judah) had his chance,” Tszyu said.