Judah stops Santa Cruz in junior welter bout
Zab Judah made quick work of Jose Armando Santa Cruz, then delivered a concise message about the state of his boxing career.
"I just want to say that I'm back," he said. "I want everyone to make sure that they didn't forget about me."
Judah used his left jab to batter Santa Cruz before knocking him out in the third round of a junior welterweight bout at the Prudential Center on Friday night.
"When my jab is working, no one can hang with me," Judah said. "I had to be patient and take my time."
The former undisputed world welterweight champion dominated the first two rounds, then floored Santa Cruz with a straight right in the third. A groggy Santa Cruz (28-5) got up before being counted out, but was defenseless for eight straight punches when referee Benjy Estevez jumped in and stopped the fight at 2:33.
"I wasn't surprised he got up," said Judah, fighting for the first time since November 2009. "But I could see he was hurt. I have a shark's eye. When I smell blood, I go for the kill."
Judah, a left-hander from Brooklyn, entered with something to prove after falling on tough times in recent years, losing four of his last seven fights. He appeared in excellent condition fighting at 141 pounds and was the aggressor from the opening bell.
Judah (39-6, 27 KOs) has lost his last four high-profile fights, including a setback against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2006 that included a low blow that caused Judah to lose his boxing license for a year. He also lost to Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey in title fights, but has won three straight fights since his loss to Clottey in August 2008.
"But that was the old Zab Judah," Judah said. "I've made sure I'm doing things the right way. I've been through my trials and tribulations and I've learned from it. It's all part of a learning process. Now that I'm back, the sky's the limit."