© Tom Hogan - Hoganphotos / Golden Boy Promotions
Former two-weight world champ Zab Judah's return to the light welter class was a rocky affair last night as the 33 year old southpaw managed a split decision over previously undefeated Argentine banger Lucas Matthysse in a bout for the NABF belt at The Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
The stakes were high in this one, which was also an IBF and WBO eliminator for the second spot in their rankings. Judah was the faster man and was expected to be the stronger as well but Matthysse proved to be an aggressive opponent, coming forward all night long.
Judah used his greater ring experience and counter skills to sting the South American with bracing counters early on but Matthysse proved able to get close enough to mount a sustained body assault by the middle rounds.
Disaster nearly struck for the American when Judah was canvassed in the tenth but while Matthysse couldn't finish off the seasoned vet, he dominated the rest of the bout.
When the scores were read, Judah was declared the victor by way of a 114-113, 114-113 and 113-114 split decision on the cards, improving to 40-6 (27).
Matthysse loses for the first time, dropping to 27-1 (25), but the 28 year old improved his career prospects after his first bout at world class.
In a good clash on the undercard, ex-IBF feather and super feather ruler Robert Guerrero, 28-1-1 (18), won a solid ten rounder via wide points decision at lightweight against Vincente Escobedo, 22-3 (14).
Promising 21 year old lightweight Adrien Broner, 18-0 (15), stayed perfect by blitzing 39 year old Colombian veteran Ilido Julio, 40-20-1 (35), in the very first round.