Amir Khan defends his WBA belt by knocking out Zab Judah in five rounds in Las Vegas

Bob Harris

Last updated 7/25/2011 9:30:09 AM

Amir Khan reestablished himself as Britain's premier boxer when he knocked out Zab Judah in five rounds in Las Vegas. The 24-year-old Khan, defending his WBA belt, put on masterclass of the noble art to annihilate the veteran IBF champion Judah.

Khan dominated his experienced opponent from the opening bell, taking the fight to his opponent, piercing his defences at will with his punishing jab.

But it was a hammer right hand punch which brought about the early termination to the fight. The punch, to the body, sapped the remaining energy from Judah who was unable to beat the count.

Judah's corner claimed the punch was low but replays showed it landed on Judah's belt line and was not a foul blow.

"He went down and it was above the belt," Khan, who will now target the winner of September's clash between Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz for what will be the fight of the year.

"It was nowhere near below the belt, it was a great shot." Enthused the Bradford boxer, "Zab's a great fighter. I respect him a lot."
Judah did not agree with his rival's assessment, claiming: "Everyone in world who saw the fight will see that's a low blow. I thought the referee was giving me time to get up.

"He then said 'over'. I thought he was giving me a standing eight-count. I didn't understand that."

The one-sided nature of Khan's fifth successful defence of the title he won in 2009 will have surprised many as Judah had fought some of the biggest names of the modern era.

Judah, a five-time champion, had been in with Kostya Tszyu, Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto in a professional career spanning 49 fights and 15 years but he has never been on the receiving end of such a thrashing.

Judah's trainer, former four-weight world champion Pernell Whitaker, was sounding alarm bells as early as the end of the second round, imploring his man to stay low and use the left hand.

But Judah, one of the quicker fighters, simply had no answer to the speed of Khan who constantly beat his opponent to the punch.

With 13 seconds remaining of the fifth round, Khan set Judah up with an overhand right before landing with a withering right to the body, which doubled Judah over and rendered him unable to continue.

Before the fight Khan admitted he might need two or three more fights before he is ready to take on American legend Mayweather and, despite a dazzling display, his next fight is more likely to be against Mexican legend Erik Morales.

Morales is a three-weight world champion but has seen better days - however, he remains the biggest name in the light-welterweight division and would look good on Khan's record.

Another option is WBC and WBO title-holder Tim Bradley, who was in the frame to fight Khan this time around. However, Khan's camp claimed the American did not fancy the fight, despite the offer of a 50-50 split.