Feeling robbed in a world title fight against one Australian, boxing supremo Yoel Judah is determined not to let his charge Devin Haney’s unification bout with George Kambosos Jr. go the same way.
Judah took over as head trainer of American Haney last month after his father Bill was unable to secure a visa to Australia for the fight to decide the undisputed lightweight world champion in Melbourne on Sunday.
Judah’s history with Australia goes back more than 20 years when he was in his son Zab’s corner for his memorable fight with Kostya Tszyu in Las Vegas.
The Australian shocked his undefeated opponent to collect the IBF, WBA and WBC belts to become the first undisputed light welterweight champion in over three decades.
But Judah felt the bout was ended prematurely by referee Jay Nady.
In the final seconds of round two, Tszyu delivered a right cross that sent the American crashing to the canvas.
He climbed to his feet before the count had even started but collapsed again, leading Nady calling the fight off to the fury of the Judah camp.
“There was two seconds left in the round and he didn’t give Zab the standing eight count,” Judah Snr said on Thursday in Melbourne.
“And if he had the bell would have rung and if Zab went to the corner and came back out we would have got Tszyu.
“But Jay Nady cut the fight … give him a chance, it was an undisputed championship fight.”
While describing himself as like a “grandfather” to Haney, Judah said Zab and the 23-year-old were also close.
“He’s the godfather, he talks to Devin all the time and tells him certain things to do according to this fight,” Judah said.
“Devin listens to what I’m saying and he listens to Zab.”
Haney and Kambosos Jr. both fronted in a makeshift ring in the Melbourne CBD ahead of the Marvel Stadium fight, which is expected to draw close to 50,000 fans.
The 66-year-old said it had been a seamless transition replacing Bill Haney, having trained Devin (27-0,15KO) as a youngster before handing over to his dad.
“I used to train Devin when I was living in Las Vegas and he was an amateur and we won 11 or 12 belts,” Judah said.
“We never lost a fight and we were synchronised and his father knows what I did for him and his father knows that I’m the guy to go with.”
He said Bill was still having a lot of input into the preparation to take on Sydneysider Kambosos Jr., whose record is 20-0 (10 KOs).
“His father is the greatest and has put a great game plan together. “We’ve got four trainers here beside myself and Bill knows what he’s doing.
“He trusts me a lot, he knows I know his son – I’m like a surrogate grandfather for Devin and I know everything about him and we’re ready.
“Right now he’s unstoppable.”