Malignaggi’s Stacked Deck Premonition Proves Correct in Loss to Diaz

Juan DiazBy Paul Strauss: Paulie Malignaggi warned fans that the deck was stacked against him going into tonight’s fight against Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz at the Toyota Center, Houston, TX. It appears he was right. The unofficial score card of Harold Lederman read 115-113 for Paulie, and although commentators Lennox Lewis and Max Kellerman did not complete scorecards, they both felt Paulie won the fight. Announcer Bob Papa felt it was a one or two point fight either way, or possibly a draw. The fans of course felt Diaz, their hometown hero, deserved the win.

Malignaggi clearly controlled most of the fight. He was too fast afoot and with his hands as well. Diaz' trainer Ronnie Shields was getting frustrated with Juan, because he was not cutting off the ring. He was not stepping around, and wasn't moving his head enough. Shields wanted Juan to slide to his right and throw right hands. Although he would occasionally do it, he couldn't consistently maintain it, and as a result Paulie continued to land solid jabs, along with some good lead rights. During those infrequent occasions when Juan would get inside, he often times would get clipped with a right uppercut, one of which caused a cut to Juan's left eye. That occurred in the second round. Juan also suffered another cut later in the fifth round to the same eye. This time it was to the eyebrow area, and was deemed to have been caused by an accidental head butt. That could have become a factor if the fight was stopped because of the second cut. Instead of a TKO, the fight would go to the scorecards. However, that did not prove necessary, as Diaz' cut man kept both cuts under control..

The stacking of the deck Paulie referred to involved several things. First, Paulie said it order to get the fight, he had to agree to fight in Juan's backyard, which is Houston. Next, he had to agree to a catch-weight of 138 1/2lbs. Even though Paulie has had difficultly making 140lbs., he agreed to the catch-weight to make the fight. According to Paulie, he agreed to those stipulations with the assurance that there would be neutral officials. Once those indiividuals were chosen, and Paulie's camp was notified, he felt the deck was stacked.

The official scorecards were as follows: Raul Caiz, Sr.115-113; David Sutherland 116.112; Gale Van Hoy 118-110. Only Caiz, Sr's seems remotely representative of the action that took place in the ring.

From the first round on, Malignaggi appeared to be the much faster of the two. He
Threw and landed many more punches, and proved to be too quick on his feet for Diaz to corner. Paulie also has a good chin, so when he did occasionally get tagged, he did not appear hurt, even though he slipped a bit and appeared to be wobbled in the third. However, a replay of the action showed that he was not hit by a punch. If the wobble was Paulie;s attempt to draw Juan in close, it was a bad decision, because the judges apparently thought he was hurt. In the fifth round, Referee Laurence Cole warned Malignaggi for pushing off with his elbow. Paulie had earlier taunted Juan by wiggling his hips, and sticking out his tongue, but that too probably worked against him with the judges. He also appeared to turn away from Juan and yell to Max Kellerman. That was another dumb move that probably didn't exactly endear him to the judges.

The action though was going as Paulie's new trainer Sharif Younan described when he let him know that he was boxing beautifully, and that he should continue to stay on the outside and use his jab to "bust him up". Throughout the fight he would remind Paulie to give him he footwork he wanted. Meanwhile, Ronnie Shields pleaded with Juan to give Paulie more feints, and to quit following Paulie! He wanted him to slide right and throw rights.

After the ninth round, Harold Lederman had Paulie winning the fight by five rounds to four rounds. In the tenth round Paulie yelled to those at ringside (Kellerman?), and it appeared he was confident that he was winning the fight. After the eleventh, Younan told Paulie that Diaz knew he was losing the fight and would be coming out in desperation to try and score a knockout. Ronnie Shields again scolded Juan for not moving over to his right. The tenth round could have been scored for Diaz, but it appeared Paulie did more in both the eleventh and twelfth rounds.

Needless to say, Paulie was very upset during the post fight interview with Max Kellerman. He reminded the crowd and the viewers that he told them the deck had been stacked against him. He said, "This is the B.S. I have to go through in boxing." He feels that since he got robbed, he will have to once again go into someone's backyard to get a fight. On the other hand, Diaz possibly lined himself up for another big fight. During Diaz' post-fight interview, he expressed a desire for a rematch against Juan Manuel Marquez, even if Marquez loses against Floyd Mayweather, jr. That seems to be more of a macho wish than a wise one.

The undercard also showcased a sharp Robert Guerrero against Malcolm Klassen. Guerrero boxed very well, constantly changing angles and firing off combinations. He averaged about 100 punches per rounded, even though he might have sustained a broken left hand in the fourth round, according to a post-fight comment by Bob Papa.

It was a rough fight, with at least one clash of heads, and lots of elbows, pushing and so forth. There were moments when Klassen would step up the pressure and get in close, at which time he landed some good shots to the body. In the sixth round, Guerrerro caught Klassen with a good left uppercut that knocked out his mouthpiece.

More and more, as the fight progressed, Klassen would lauch himself toward Guerrero head first, and one such occurence resulted in the cut to Guerrero's left eye. Klassen also was guilty in the seventh round of continuing to throw punches after the bell sounded. Guerrero's corner told him it was time to go to war. Although Klassen appeared to have won the seventh, he slowed down in the eighth and started backing up a bit. In round nine, he stepped up the pressure again, and got Guerrero on the ropes, but "The Ghost" appeared to be too elusive for him to land any really telling blows. At the end of the round, Klassen seemed to say something to Guerrerro and want to touch gloves, but Guerrero was having none of it.

In the tenth round, Guerrero continued to outwork Klassen by a big margin. At the end of the round, he could be heard to say, "I hurt him." He seemed to be right as he took the final two rounds of the fight. Harold Lederman's unofficial scorecard was 117-111, which agreed with one of the three official judges' card. The other two cards read 116-113 and 116-112. This was a good win for Guerrero, and a less than auspicious debut in the USA for Klassen who lost his IBF junior lightweight belt.

In the first televised bout, Daniel Jacobs outboxed Ishe Smith. During the first couple of rounds, Ishe didn't do much other than to walk forward with his hands up. Eddie Mustafa Muhammad chewed out Ishe between rounds, reminding him that it was all or nothing and there could be no excuses.

For the most part Jacobs controlled the fight. Every once in a while he would get careless and let Ishe trap him on the ropes, and was hurt a few times as a result. Ishe was trying to turn the fight into more of a brawl, and after the fourth round, he landed about three punches after the bell rang. He also drove his elbow or forearm into Jacobs' neck.

In the sixth, Jacobs was warned for pushing, and in the seventh round Ishe received his second warning for low blows. In the eighth, Ishe again punched after the bell rang. This time he throw a jab and then a right hand. In the ninth round, Jacobs started out as a southpaw, which didn't seem to be a good idea. He quickly switched back to the orthodox stance, but again laid on the ropes and was tagged. But, he showed excellent ability, a good chin and heart, quickly coming back against Ishe. He finished strong and landed many more punches than Ishe, and the score cards read heavily in favor of Jacobs: Raul Caiz, Sr 96-93; David Sutherland 100-89; and Glae Van Hoy 96-93. Jacobs now has both the NABO and WBO middleweight titles.

Article posted on 23.08.2009

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