Pernell Whitaker slightly bit his lips and watched his prized pupil intently. It was a sudden rushed, as flashes of not so distant memory re-appeared.
It has been 12 years, since he last fought competitively. He vividly remembered how he went twelve full rounds against an offensive juggernaut that was young and hungry. It was Tito Trinidad’s shining moment but the 35 year-old Whitaker shared the limelight. “Boom, boom, boom…” as he silently uttered on his mind. Imagining how he should have done to get the judges nods.
One great offense against the best defense, Pernell could have counter-punched more and toyed against Trinidad. But when his reflexes slowly betrayed him, his invincibility cloak has started to wear off.
On some instance, he thinks about that fight, and every time he went into a boxing ring. All those adrenaline and excitement slowly come back. He always pictured himself like he was the one fighting.
However, there won’t be any other “Sweat Pea.” No one comes close to his slickness, his defensive capabilities, his footwork, counterpunching and his power. For years, he tried his luck as a trainer. However, he always left frustrated and discouraged. Good players naturally become bad coaches. They have bigger expectations and bigger hopes.
When Zab Judah represented himself and asked for Pernell’s help. He had to sit down and talked about it. He kindly reminds himself of Judah—slick and fast. However, Zab has still a lot of untapped potential left on him. Pernell got excited about Judah’s match with Amir Khan. This was the perfect match he had been waiting for, the perfect pawn, the perfect protege.
Khan seems to remind him more of Trinidad—young, hungry and has a good offense. Pernell wanted Judah to have 100 percent dedication and hard work. Basically, he wanted Judah to be him.
The blueprint is already laid out, and all Judah got to do is execute. Pernell doesn’t want to change Judah’s old habits in the ring since “old habits die hard.” He just wanted to polish more his defense, his footwork and work more on his power for counter punching. Khan can’t be compared to Trinidad, but he is equally dangerous in the ring.
This is going to be a tactical execution between a 33 year-old boxer who had been good for years but mid-level best, against a 24 year old, groomed to be the next pound per pound king. That is why Pernell wanted this fight more than ever because they shared the same conviction with Judah. This could be it… this could be the redemption they all have been waiting for.
As Pernell Whitaker watched Judah moved from side to side in perfect synchronization. He bit again slightly his lips. He knows this would be a good fight like he had been through 12 years ago. But one thing he knows for sure… the fight won’t last the distance. Never would he leave any decision again to the judges… and Zab Judah is determined not to.
“Boom, boom, boom” night is off…curtains close… show is done. The winner takes it all…