By Rick Scharmberg
“The Boxing Prince”, Prince Badi Ajamu (27-3-1, 15 KOs), of Camden, New Jersey will defend his NBA light heavyweight title at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City this Friday against Daniel Judah (23-4-3, 10 KOs), of Brooklyn, New York. Judah is stepping for Otis Griffin, who pulled out of the fight. “Griffin wanted more money. It seems he priced himself out after accepting the fight. I have no problem with changing opponents,” said Ajamu. “Daniel Judah has a good name, and he feels his chances are excellent. That makes for a good fight.”
Prince did have to make some adjustments in his preparation, now that he is facing Daniel Judah. “He is a southpaw, so I had to change some sparring partners,” he said. “If you are a fighter, you have to have a general concept of who you’re fighting. You can spar to get better, or you can spar and grind yourself down trying to get better. I had some brutal sparring sessions with Yusaf Mack. Now, I spar to get my timing and distance, instead of having a gym war.”
This fight will be Ajamu’s second fight in Atlantic City this year and his second fight for promoter Diane Fischer, of Dee Lee Promotions. Prince won the NBA title for the first time with a second round KO over Craig Cummings back on January 19, 2007, but then took a two-year retirement brought on by some promotional issues. Prince bounced back with an impressive decision over DeAndrey Abron last August. They layoff has him physically rejuvenated, and his relationship with Dee Lee has his mind clear of distractions.
“Dee Lee has been excellent. They are very sharp and very caring, and that means a lot. She (Diane Fischer) wants the best for everyone she is involved with and she has good people around her who take care of business,” said Prince.
“Training is going better than ever,” he continued. “I am doing what comes naturally, staying in shape and eating right. I am balancing my days out the way they should be. I am expressing myself, being creative in the ring, being adaptable. When you prepare for a fight, you tend to accept the environment. The James Shuler Gym (in Philly) was home. It was beautiful, but this is the third fight that I got to train in my own gym. The opportunity to train in my own gym has made me more responsible.”
Prince has always had a lot of respect for former world champion Glen Johnson, and he knows that Daniel Judah fought to a draw against Johnson in 2004, and went the distance with him in a losing effort in his last bout. That means Daniel Judah can fight.
“I know a lot of the people he fought,” said Ajamu about his knowledge of Judah. “I know he went ten with Glen Johnson. He was a super middleweight in the amateurs. I used to see him in tournaments, and we spoke before. I know he is Zab’s brother. When I was in Florida, I saw Judah spar with James Lubwama.”
Judah has fought some tough customers. In addition to Johnson, Judah fought the late Julian Letterlough to a draw, defeated former world title challenger Jaffa Ballagou (W 12), and has been in with Yusaf Mack, Darnell “Ding-a-Ling Man” Wilson, and former world champion Eric Harding.
“I expect him to try to keep me on the outside for the first two or three rounds,” said Prince. “I’ll have to change his mind and go from there. I feel that he is going to get up for this fight. Nobody is telling him that I am a cakewalk. One thing I know about Daniel Judah is that he is not short for words or confidence.”
Prince spoke about his personal life, and he said, “I’ve been training and helping my surrogate father who is on a downward spiral. I am here for him and for my daughter and son. I am focusing on his situation and training. I am making sure the kids have food on the table and clothes on their backs. The economic crunch, everybody feels it.”
Being a light heavyweight and a student of the sport, Prince had insightful comments about last week’s Chad Dawson – Glen Johnson title rematch. “Chad Dawson showed growth and maturity. He made a hard fight look easy. He used his feet, range, and ring generalship. I respect him for that. Chad’s been blessed, and he used what he was blessed with.
“I have a lot of respect for Glen Johnson, as well. However, sometimes you prepare for a guy, and he is not the guy you prepared for. Glen trained for a guy who would stand and trade with him, but that Chad didn’t show up,” explained Prince.
He also offered some comments on the upcoming Roy Jones – Danny Green and Bernard Hopkins – Enrique Ornelas bouts. “Roy Jones has shown why he will be in the hall of fame. He is not going to be there for Danny Green to hit. He is too fast for Danny Green. All the intangibles are in his favor.”
Prince continued, “Enrique Ornelas is no pushover. He could make Bernard Hopkins look bad, but at light heavyweight, I don’t know.”
Once a highly ranked contender, Prince has set an ambitious, yet realistic timetable to get himself back into the rankings. He said, “As long as I stay busy and fight more frequently, I’ll be able to do something more significant by the middle or end of next year in the boxing public’s eye. You have the general public, who are more supportive, and you have the boxing public, who are more cautious.”
It is hard not to root for “The Boxing Prince”, who is truly one of the “good guys” in boxing.
Tickets for the “Fall Brawl” are priced at $90, $75, $55, and $40, and can be purchased by calling 1-800-736-1420.