'Call Em Out Fridays': Malignaggi/Diaz - Out With The 'Bull', In With The 'Magic'

boxingBy Vivek Wallace: This Saturday evening on HBO's Boxing After Dark series, fight fans will get a chance to see what on paper appears to be a rather loaded card from top to bottom as three intriguing matchups take place. First up on the undercard is the young Danny Jacobs (17-0, 15KO's) who takes on the battle tested Ishe Smith (21-3, 9KO's), followed by Robert Guerrero (24-1, 17KO's) versus Malcolm Klassen (24-4-2, 15KO's). The evenings main event is a rare occasion in the sport that pairs two fighters with unquestionable talent, yet very questionable futures. For Paul "Magic Man" Malignaggi (26-2, 5KO's), there's no doubt that his skill level stands amongst the elite in the sport, but limited power, injuries, and a failure to seize many moments of the past has seen him scratch the surface, yet fail to ever truly make a dent in the sport. With Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz (34-2, 17KO's), you have similar parallel which displays a fighter who was once on his way to the top, suddenly finding himself on the decline in a 1-2 streak that has yielded more questions than answers. In the back of the mind of both men, there's a major need for urgency, and in that statement lies the total intrigue in this fight. Or at least on paper...but as we all know and continue to learn in this sport, paper burns!

Despite the future of relativity for both men being at stake in this fight, some around the boxing public openly question exactly how good this fight will be in the end? Coming on the heels of one of the deadest summers in the recent history of the sport, the lackluster appeal received for this fight so far hears the subsequent silence speak volumes. And that lack-of-appeal trend seems to have been forced by the unfortunate hand fight fans were dealt in recent months. Back in the spring as the Summer was ushered in, one had little idea such a drought was on the way. Mayweather/Marquez was on......then suddenly scrapped! Haye/Klitschko.....scrapped! Juarez/John....scrapped! Hopkins/Adamek.....Never even got off the ground! As the old adage states, "if we had a nickel" for every major fight that was planned and failed to happen we'd all be millionaires now, but unfortunately, fight fans loss those fights and got no rewards in return. And to make things worst, the few fights that did happen failed to produce anything meaningful, instead replaced with simmering controversy. The Cotto/Clottey fight ended with nearly everyone not Puerto Rican checking their pockets after an alleged robbery. The Witter/Alexander fight ended abruptly from what many assessed as one man's lack of heart, and the Campbell/Bradley fight was clearly a disgust to the sport. With much of the country facing record-setting heat, the unexpected and sudden chill in the air apparently originated from dismal interest in a sport which now appears to be on the brink of a return to better days as many of the wounded warriors are set to make a Fall season return.

With a host of marquee showdowns signed, sealed, and ready to be delivered, this Malignaggi/Diaz fight - (be it good or bad) - will serve its purpose. That purpose is to initiate a hot streak in the sport by whetting the appetites of fans who plan to count the months down with a few solid matchups along the way to the eventual Cotto/Pacquiao promised land. Looking at the schedule of fights on the lineup between now and the end of the year, only in the world of a symphony could one find a more perfect crescendo, starting Saturday night as a whisper and eventually building up to a deafening roar in November. To some, a Malignaggi/Diaz fight isn't much to rave about, but no matter how one sees it, no one can deny that these two men have always come to fight and I wouldn't expect this affair to be any different. Diaz will bring his forceful nature, while Malignaggi will bring his slick skills. As they square off in a very loaded division, both men prepare for battle knowing full well that greener pastures lie ahead if they can put together a solid enough performance. Such a performance would undoubtedly catapult them to the status of the men scheduled to show their talents once this summer comes to a close. To view the Diaz/Malignaggi showdown as an appetizer before a main course this Fall could be inadvertently viewed as being disrespectful, but regardless of how you feel there's one thing we all have in common. After a Summer which has produced more than it's fair share of 'bull', there's no better time to start seeing some fight game 'magic'! Saturday night we'll get a chance to see these two talented chaps go to work, and when it's all over, let this dead summer die again...replaced by a Fall we hope never ends!

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at, 954-292-7346, Youtube (Vivek1251), Twitter (Vivek747), Facebook and Myspace)

Article posted on 21.08.2009

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