Paulie Pummels The Panther Postscript: What’s Next For Malignaggi?

lovemore ndouBy Taj “Yuma” Eubanks, June 18, 2007 - It is a joyous (and increasingly rare) occasion nowadays when one can sit down and watch a prizefight and feel fulfilled at its conclusion. Such was the case on Saturday night as Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi (22-1-0, 5 KOs) turned in an impressive performance against Lovemore “The Black Panther” N’dou (45-9-1, 30 KOs) capturing the IBF junior welterweight strap in the process.

Malignaggi’s winning effort was impressive for two reasons: 1) it showed that the Brooklyn speedster was not ruined by the beating he suffered at the hands of Miguel Cotto last year, and 2) it served notice that Malignaggi is a force to be reckoned with in the division.

Malignaggi took full advantage of this championship opportunity, showcasing his formidable array of skills for all to see. Jabbing, countering, and crisp combination punching were the order of the night as Malignaggi easily nullified N’Dou’s spirited come-forward style. In addition, Malignaggi showed a willingness to heed instructions from his corner, taking the admonishments of Buddy McGirt and converting them from theory into practice. N’dou gave a spirited effort but seemed greatly frustrated by the perplexing style of “The Magic Man” and, inexplicably, began to throw fewer punches as the fight progressed and even suffered a knockdown in route to unanimous decision loss.

As Malignaggi fell to the ground euphoric, Lou DiBella jumped into the ring equally ecstatic and embraced the young champion. The celebratory atmosphere was more than appropriate as Malignaggi now enjoys unlimited possibilities for future matchups in the division, from Vivian Harris and Junior Witter to Jose Luis Castillo. And of course, looming large over the entire division is the man to beat, Manchester’s Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton, who must first take care of a his own bit of business with “El Temible” Jose Luis Castillo on June 23.

Paulie Malignaggi would relish the chance to test his skills against any of these fighters, yet is clear from his statements (and those of his promoter) that Ricky Hatton is in his crosshairs. A victory over Hatton would garner a distinction that his current strap does not, establishing Malignaggi as the linear champion at 140 pounds. With a blistering style and personality to match, he is poised to not only establish himself as a force to reckon with in the division, but also to perform the ultimate magic trick and rise from the ashes of defeat into the realm of superstardom.

Article posted on 19.06.2007

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