Paulie Malignaggi Previews Cintron-Matthysse, Williams-Margarito, Gatti-Gomez and more

malignaggi12.07.07 - By Christopher Roche: Part 2 of my candid interview with the new World Champion -- If you watched Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi's post-fight interview, after his victory over Lovemore N'Dou, you would have seen his accurate prediction Ricky Hatton vs. Jose Luis Castillo. Many boxing fans had a hard time calling that bout, and the writer's survey I participated in was evenly split between Hatton and Castillo. However, Malignaggi correctly called the fight for Hatton, and he actually gave Castillo no chance. I listened to Malignaggi when writing up my pick, and I finally called one correctly.

Malignaggi's explained that his method in breaking down fights is simple and logical: leave your biases at the door and look at the matchups. Malignaggi told me over the phone, "I do not have a biased opinion. I take performances in the ring and analyze them and put matchups together.."

In accurately picking Hatton over Castillo, Malignaggi explained that he first focused on Castillo's wars with the late Diego Corrales, which took too much out of him. Further, Castillo's lackluster performance against Herman Ngoudjo reinforced Malignaggi's thesis that Castillo was an old, shot Castillo, not the Castillo of old. Malignaggi also thought about how Ngoudjo stood right in front of Castillo, and Castillo could do nothing with him, which was another ominous sign, considering that Castillo normally would have banged away at Ngoudjo.

Malignaggi further explained to me that Ngoudjo's uninspiring performance against Randall Bailey, who Malignaggi classified as "another shot fighter", proved that Castillo had nothing left for Hatton. In other words, if Castillo looked bad after his wars with Corrales then it logically followed that Corrales took too much out of Castillo. Castillo then looked bad against Ngoudjo who looked bad against a "shot" Bailey, so there was no way that Castillo could beat Hatton, according to Malignaggi.

Malignaggi arrived at his conclusion in a linear, algebraic way, and his prediction was drawn from a series of logical points of analysis. After fighting twelve rounds with N'Dou, Malignaggi mentally tallied all the negative factors surrounding Castillo, and when asked the question in the ring about Hatton vs. Castillo, he issued a correct prediction, in an unrehearsed setting.

Having come away impressed with his analysis, I asked Malignaggi if he could apply his methods and help break down the major fights that are set to take place on July 14th. Malignaggi was kind enough to oblige, and his analysis is unfiltered and honest.

The analysis of the bouts follows in the chronological order that they will air on HBO, and at the end of the triple-header analysis, I added Malignaggi's thoughts on "Ireland's" John Duddy and his June 14th bout in Dublin.

Kermit Cintron vs. Walter Matthysse, Atlantic City, NJ HBO, 9PM Eastern Time (USA).

Malignaggi's take: "This is interesting to me because guys that have been blamed for not looking good on HBO recently, guys like Andre Dirrell and Sechew Powell, at least won! They did not look great, but at least they won! This is a guy, Walter Matthysse we are watching, that got destroyed by Paul Williams, and yet he is getting a fight on HBO. This is the look of a double standard.

From what I saw in the one fight from Matthysse, he is pretty easy to hit. The Superman patch is not going to help him, that he's got on his chest, and I think Kermit stops him in the middle rounds. Matthysse has no advantages over his opponent…I look for Kermit to stop him."

Arturo Gatti vs. Alfonso Gomez, Atlantic City, NJ HBO.

Malignaggi's analysis: "Alfonso Gomez is a tough kid. I think he is very limited with his skills, in the ring, but he is a tough kid. But at the same time, he does get hit a lot. He is going to be facing the biggest puncher he has ever faced in Arturo Gatti. I don't think he has any advantages over Arturo. I believe Arturo hits harder. I believe Arturo is faster. I believe Arturo has better boxing skills. It doesn't look to me, looking from the outside in, good for Alfonso Gomez.

Being that he is a tough kid, I will give him probably to last seven rounds or so, but if he does last longer than that, and he hits Arturo more than expected, then we should be looking for Arturo to retire after this.

Because if Arturo has problems beating a guy like Alfonso Gomez, then I am not sure he should continue fighting. At the same time, if he does do what he is supposed to do, then we cannot be telling Arturo what to do with his life and career."

Malignaggi went on to elaborate about the addition of Micky Ward to Gatti's corner.

"Arturo knows how to fight. Arturo is 35 years old, and he has been boxing his whole career, so you are not going to be able to change much to Arturo Gatti," explained the new Champ. "It is more about the psychological control with him. At this point, physically, I think he knows how to fight. It is more about mentally controlling him and making him make the right decisions at certain times in the fight, when he may lose control of it. I look for Micky to maybe help him in situations like that."

Paul Williams vs. Antonio Margarito, Carson, CA, HBO.

Malignaggi's take: "Williams and Margarito is being billed as a superfight. I am going to go with Margarito on this one. I don't think it is going to be as good of a fight as people think. I think Williams hasn't seen certain things that he is gonna see against Margarito. I think they pushed Williams along too fast in this fight, I believe.

They say that yeah he (Williams) got the better of him (Margarito) in sparring and stuff like that, but in sparring you do not feel the brunt of elbows and head butts and that physical work that you will see in the fight.

Williams has looked good at times, but he has also looked very frail at times and that doesn't bode well since he is fighting a physical guy like Margarito. I think Margarito stops him middle to late rounds."

Malignaggi went on to analyze Williams' technique. Malignaggi said, "Williams punches are a little too wide for my liking. For a guy that tall he should be able to keep his shots a little shorter and use his height. He gets hit a lot and looks very frail. With a guy like Margarito, you cannot be that frail. He will toss you around…I do not think Williams has seen that kind of stuff."

Malignaggi then went on to compare Williams' situation against Margarito to his own predicament against Miguel Cotto.

"It is kind of like the situation I had with Cotto last year. I had not seen that physical of a fighter up to that point," explained Malignaggi. "I had seen a lot of things like that in the gym, but not like Cotto, and I am not saying it shook me up, but it showed I was a little bit inexperienced in dealing with that kind of stuff, and I fear that with Williams it may be the same thing for him."

John Duddy vs. Alessio Furlan, Dublin, Ireland. PPV 5:00PM Eastern Time, USA.

Malignaggi's analysis: "I am not that familiar with (Duddy's new trainer) Don Turner, but John knows how to fight man. John is a classy guy both in and out of the ring. Sometimes defensively maybe he gets a little lax and gets hit a little too much. With John it is also a psychological thing. You have to be able to control him and tell him, `listen, don't do it like this do it like this. You are getting reckless in there´. Because as far as physically, you look at it, he is a guy that knows how to fight and you are not going to teach him too many new tricks. At the same time the decisions he makes in there sometimes have to change. Sometimes he will stay in there too much and look to bang it out a little too much. Maybe that could be changed, you never know.

Maybe with Don Turner they will make a couple smarter decisions. I do not know too much about his opponent, but John is on the fast track to good things and obviously I have to go with John on any fight because not only can he fight but because he is my boy."

I certainly agree with Malignaggi's picks of Gatti, Cintron and Duddy. However, with all due respect to the world champion, I disagree with him on Williams vs. Margarito. About six months ago I anointed Williams as the next great welterweight. I cannot abandon Williams now, even though Malignaggi makes a very compelling argument for Margarito. I feel secure with my Williams pick, especially since Andre Berto also picked Williams. Berto shared his pick when he was a guest on ESPN's latest edition of "Friday Night Fights" from Tampa, FL. I look for Williams to use his overwhelming physical gifts to defeat Margarito.

I thank Malignaggi for his candid analysis, and thank Bob Trieger for setting up this interview. Malignaggi is as knowledgeable as he is flashy, and his analysis is logical, concise and entertaining. I believe that when he decides to stop boxing, a network should be quick to offer him a position as an analyst. The tapes sound that good.

Article posted on 12.07.2007

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