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Torres is decided underdog to Judah

 

This one, Josh Torres says, is for the 505.

The 575, too.

Torres, an Albuquerque boxer, is scheduled to face five-time world champion Zab Judah on Saturday night at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center in Nevada.

The scheduled 10-round fight will be contested at 143 pounds, a “catch weight” between the welterweight and junior welterweight divisions. It is scheduled to be telecast nationally on CBS Sports Network.

As one might expect against a fighter of Judah’s stature, Torres is the most under of underdogs.

One betting website quoted odds against a Torres victory at plus-2,000, meaning a $100 bet on the Duke City fighter would return a payout of $2000. Conversely, $2,000 wagered on Judah would return a mere $100.

The only question, in the minds of most observers, is this: How much does Judah have left?

Judah, 38, has had 51 professional fights but none since December 2013. Torres matter-of-factly referred to his opponent as a future boxing Hall of Famer, but three losses in the Brooklyn, N.Y., native’s most recent four bouts may have clouded that issue.

Still, the only way Torres wins, in the minds of those same observers, is if the Judah who steps into the ring Saturday turns out to be a shot fighter.

Torres understands all that. But, with the best training camp of his life behind him, he’s putting no limits on himself.

“(The perception) doesn’t bother me at all,” he said Thursday from Las Vegas in a phone interview. “I know that’s what people are supposed to think. That’s what it looks like on paper.

“But we’ve trained hard. We feel that we’re ready. We feel confident, so I’m just excited to go and have a good time Saturday night.”

At age 26, Torres (15-4-2, seven knockouts) has had a fine career as a state and regional fighter. But losses along the way to Rufino Flores, Raul Carrillo, Dusty Hernandez Harrison and Cameron Kreal have prevented him from taking the next step.

He knows a victory over Judah could mean national publicity and greater opportunities. Should that happen, he hopes he won’t be the only New Mexico fighter to benefit.

“I’m just focused on the fight, first of all,” he said. “But, of course, a victory is going to be life-changing, not only for my career but for all the up-and-coming New Mexico fighters.

“I’ve had a fun and decent career myself, but I know it’s a strong possibility that I may not ever end up on pay-per-view or make millions of dollars. But if I can just pave the way for that next generation (of New Mexico fighters), then to me that’s more than a world title or a big paycheck could ever do for me.”

In preparation for Saturday’s fight, Torres made several trips to the 575 area code to work with Las Cruces junior middleweight Austin Trout.

Like Judah, Trout is a left-hander with world-class credentials. He’s also a student of the game who has worked as an analyst on national boxing telecasts. Torres said he picked Trout’s brain regarding strategy, as well as having traded blows in sparring.

“To get ready for Zab Judah,” he said, “what better work than (with) Austin Trout?”

Judah (42-9, 29 KOs) has a well-earned reputation as a hothead. He had a scheduled comeback fight canceled in September after he and prospective opponent Hevinson Herrera got physical at the weigh-in. Herrera claimed to have been injured in the scuffle, and the fight was scrubbed.

Torres, though, says Judah has been “humble and respectful” during the buildup to the fight.

In an interview posted on YouTube, Judah called Torres “a very strong, durable guy. … I’m not looking past him.”

INVICTA: Albuquerque’s Amber Brown (6-1) weighed in at 104.7 pounds for her Invicta FC atomweight (105-pound) title fight tonight. Champion Ayaka Hamasaki (12-1) weighed 104.9. The Invicta FC 16 card will be streamed online at “UFC Fight Pass” starting at 6:30 p.m.

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