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Floyd Mayweather was only knocked down once with a punch, but the referee missed and the 2006 fight with Zab Judah ended in chaos when Roger Mayweather started a fight.


Floyd Mayweather returns to the ring – or helipad – for a show in Dubai on Saturday. But no matter what happens, it can’t be as outrageous as his fight 16 years ago which saw him knocked down, injured and featured a 10th-round scrum that nearly saw him disqualified.

The only official knockdown of Mayweather’s professional career was against Carlos Hernandez in 2001, when he suffered a hand injury so excruciating he deliberately put a glove on the canvas. However, Zab Judah can rightly say that he too should be credited with knocking down Mayweather – and point out that he actually forced Floyd to the ground with a punch.

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Judah injured Mayweather in their 2006 fight, who was called ‘sworn enemies’

Except he was somehow missed by the referee, Richard Steele, who blew the call.

It was just one incident in Mayweather vs. Judah billed as ‘sworn enemies’ and a fight that got the pound-for-pound king in real trouble in 2006. Mayweather was reportedly a pre-fight favorite even before the erratic , trash-talking Judah lost a surprise decision to Carlos Baldomir earlier in the year.

This upset almost derailed the fight between Zab and Floyd, who was on the same US Olympic team in 1996. But the fight went down mainly due to the fact that former unified welterweight champion Judah still possessed a title belt at 147 lbs and Mayweather. wanted to become a four-weight world champion.

But Judah — from the same Brownsville, Brooklyn neighborhood as Mike Tyson and Riddick Bowe — used his hand speed and southpaw stance to confuse Mayweather early on. After winning the first round, Judah caught Mayweather coming in with a quick right hand counter early in the second, which knocked the undefeated ‘Pretty Boy’ back and hit him with his right glove. to keep from tipping over.

The Las Vegas crowd roared but Steele missed landing the punch or the glove on the canvas, telling the fighters to box. Lennox Lewis, in charge of analysis for the broadcaster HBO, was more pointed than the referee. “His glove hit the canvas,” the former undisputed heavyweight champion said straight away. “I would have counted that as a knockdown, because he got punched at the time.”

The rest of the TV broadcast crew agreed and Mayweather looked briefly taken aback as he backed up to the ropes for cover, while Judah tried to press his advantage.

Floyd Mayweather was only knocked down once with a punch, but the referee missed and the 2006 fight with Zab Judah ended in chaos when Roger Mayweather started a fight.

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While Judah is believed to have dominated the initial in-ring proceedings, Mayweather quickly took over and did what he did best.


Yet Mayweather would be hurt even more badly in round four, when Judah cracked his rival’s head with a straight left hand, sending Mayweather once again staggering into the ropes. Defensive master Mayweather survived the follow-up onslaught, but after four rounds HBO ring official Harold Lederman had Judah ahead three-one (and Judah should have had a four-point lead, if second round had been scored 10-8 with the knockdown).

It was not the expected start. Previously, HBO’s Larry Merchant predicted a short night for the favorite, saying, “Mayweather is an A+ fighter, Judah is a few grades below. Plus, he has a mouthful of diamonds worth 20 carats – sadly, they’re in a glass setting. Now his colleague Jim Lampley was warning viewers: “Floyd Mayweather got hit with a big hit there, you don’t see that very often – he’s behind the scoreboard of Harold Lederman, we don’t We’ve never seen that before against someone like Zab Judah.”

However, Mayweather’s versatility and ability to outplay an opponent is legendary. Starting in the fifth round, the 29-year-old returned to the fight, going on the offensive in support of Judah and placing his own right hand to Judah’s bloody nose and mouth. By the end of the 10th round, Mayweather had taken over and Judah – whose hot temper had gotten him in trouble in the past – landed the ultimate dirty one-two: a blatant low kick, followed by a punch rabbit on the back of the head.

Floyd winced in pain and then, quickly, confused at the sight of his trainer – Uncle Roger Mayweather – storming the ring to get to Judah. This invasion sparked a melee as both corners, security and police crowded the ring. Roger Mayweather smothered Judah, while Floyd’s manager Leonard Ellerbe got into a fight with Yoel Judah, Zab’s trainer and father. There were shades of Bowe against Andrew Golota in the chaos but, ultimately, the ring was cleared and the round resumed with just five seconds remaining.

Roger Mayweather was kicked out of the corner, however, meaning Floyd’s cut veteran Rafael Garcia had to act as his coach for the final two rounds. It could have been much worse. If Steele had handled things properly, the official could have disqualified Floyd for a member of his practice squad who invaded the ring in the middle of a fight. Wisely, since Mayweather had just been fouled, Steele exercised discretion in eliminating Roger Mayweather rather than his nephew.

Floyd Mayweather was only knocked down once with a punch, but the referee missed and the 2006 fight with Zab Judah ended in chaos when Roger Mayweather started a fight.

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Uncle Roger charged and a melee ensued near the end of the fight, which saw Floyd’s trainer restrained and eventually kicked out.

Floyd Mayweather was only knocked down once with a punch, but the referee missed and the 2006 fight with Zab Judah ended in chaos when Roger Mayweather started a fight.

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A 29-year-old Mayweather was ultimately victorious and kept his unbeaten record intact

It was the last significant action in a frantic fight that saw both fighters verbally taunt each other throughout. Mayweather won by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and a clearly too wide 119-109.

But the drama wasn’t quite over as Judah promoter Don King complained the result shouldn’t have held. “Mayweather should have been disqualified,” proclaimed a furious king. “The fighter had a third man in the ring. This is unheard of ! The third man was chasing my fighter. No matter how you look at it, the fighter is disqualified.

It’s not often you can say this, but according to the book, Don King was right. However, given that Judah himself had risked disqualification with his tearful shot to the groin of Mayweather, it was probably fair that Steele let the fight continue. The ringside invasion dominated post-fight questions, meaning no one had time to mention that the only knockdown in the fight should have been attributed to Judah.

It wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the fight, but it would have been a great achievement for Zab. He boxed well in the loss, surprisingly beating Floyd for speed and delivering on his pre-fight promise, “I’m going to be aggressive early on and go right after him.”

Mayweather, who dubbed the fight “flawless against lawlessness” due to Judah’s alleged problems with the taxman, was all smiles afterwards. “We come from the same school,” he said, referring to their shared amateur background and the fact that the two had fought in the past.

They actually had to train again. Despite the bad blood in the build, Mayweather and Judah shared a mutual respect afterward. Mayweather used Judah as one of his sparring partners before his mega-showdown with Manny Pacquiao in 2015. “I consider him [Mayweather] a friend,” said Judah, who eventually retired in 2019. Maybe so, but there was nothing friendly about their savage fight in Vegas, which saw Mayweather punch and get injured from a way rarely seen before or since.

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