Paulie Malignaggi has no room to lose. Khan vs Malignaggi Prediction

By Coach Tim Walker - Call him brash or way too forward. Call him outspoken or blunt. In all honesty, he doesn't really care what you call him. This Brooklyn, New York native, former IBF light welterweight world champion, was born Paul Malignaggi on November 23, 1980. But everyone in the fight game calls him Paulie. He is everything that makes The Big Apple what it is. Slick. Dodgy. Slippery and tricksy. If you ask him a question you will get an Italian swagger-styled answer. It won't be soft and cushy, or politically correct but it will be his honest, true to self mindset..

On Saturday, May 15 Paulie faces another of his tough tests when he takes on Amir Khan for the WBA light welterweight championship. Paulie is no stranger to tough fights. In 30 professional fights, only 4 of his opponents had losing records. He's fought world class boxers such as Juan Diaz, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Lovemore N'dou, as well as solid competition in Edner Cherry, Jerman Ngoudjo, Donald Camarena and Jeremy Yelton. He's fought power guys, slick guys, bulldogs and counter punchers. By nature he is a boxer. He posses quick hands, quick feet and a mouth that lets you know just how he feels. For lack of a better way of saying it, this kid is slick.

When you see Paulie fight, it looks like he's showboating, but that's just his style. He keeps his left arm by his side and jabs from that position. His right arm braces against his chest. His hands rarely, if ever, are used as a guard. The issue with this is that Paulie moves his head less often as the fight continues, which means he gets hit more often as the fight continues. Thus his defense is predicated mostly on his foot speed. This is not a major problem when he faces non-mobile fighters or fighters with a lack of ring generalship. The antiphrasis of this result is when he faced Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton. Both fighters were able to limit his chances by controlling his mobility. Cotto did this by cutting off the ring and cornering him. Hatton simply pressured Paulie without any fear punch retaliation.

As seen in many of his fights, Paulie can be goaded into a straight up fist fight. Unfortunately, he does not possess the offensive arsenal to keep fighters at bay or at least honest on the inside. The biggest reason for this is constant problems with his right hand. He routinely damages his right hand to the point where he can't use it in a fight. When this happens, it makes him left hand dependent and somewhat predictable.

Saturday he faces a tough test indeed. Is it because his opponent is a monster in the ring? Not necessarily, he absolutely has a set of his own boxing short-comings to deal with. Is it because his opponent will garner more experience than him? It's not that either. Paulie has 7 more professional bouts than his opponent. What makes his opponent a tough test is the fact that he is out to prove himself a worthy champion. Amir Khan, his opponent, takes a good tongue lashing from boxing fans. Most feel that he earned his WBA light welterweight world title by being opportunistic. Most feel that he has ducked competitive opponents and recent video interviews of him actually support those feelings. Still, at the expense of Paulie, Khan is out to prove a level of worth.

To win this fight Paulie must fight his natural tendency of punching with a puncher. In this fight, as in most of his fights, he isn't the power guy, he is the boxer. He must circle, jab and tie up on the inside. With three losses on his record, time is ticking against him. He can ill afford a lose at the hands of Khan. Why? Khan is a champion but he has unproven worth and a loss to him will absolutely cause Paulie to be looked at as an opponent.

Analysis of Paul Malignaggi vs. Amir Khan

Amir favors a quick 1-2 combination. Paulie, beyond the first 2 or 3 rounds, seems to be easily hit with right hands. Paulie will stand and trade when he shouldn't. Khan's chin is light but I'm not certain Paulie offers enough force to totally discourage Khan. Under Roach, Khan now keeps his hands high and approaches bouts patiently. Still, I don't think Khan punches harder than Cotto and though Cotto did floor Paulie in the second round of their bout, I don't think Khan has the power to do the same. Khan moves forward but he isn't a full press forward fighter, I think Paulie will have many options of movement and space to land those speedy jabs.

Prediction: Paulie Malignaggi by split decision.

Coach Tim Walker is a contributing writer for and his own personal blog at welcomes comments. To suggest fighters for Monthly Stud and The Project please email I welcome questions or comments.

Article posted on 13.05.2010

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