The Magic Might Be Gone (Amir Khan TKO's Paulie Malignaggi)

boxingby Paul Strauss: All too often, when a young fighter beats an older fighter, he is denied proper credit. Many times his accomplishment is downplayed with claims the opponent got old right before our eyes. Mayweather's victory over Mosley was an example. Last night's matchup between Paulie Malignaggi and Amir Khan stimulated the same kind of discussion, because The Magic Man" Malignaggi was so soundly beaten.

The "old before our eyes" description seems more valid with the 38 year old Sugar Shane Mosley, because in addition to his age, he has been in numerous tough fights. With the 29 year old Paulie, it doesn't seem to apply as easily, because he has always been considered the masterful defensive boxer, and with the exceptions of his fights with Cotto and Hatton, no one else has really "busted him up".

Of course everyone is different, and Malignaggi just must not age as well as others. For one thing he has fewer weapons upon which to rely. Although he has always been a great defensive boxer, it hasn't be due to his technique or punching power. Those are attrubutes he doesn't possess.. His success has always been his great movement, lightning quick snap aways, and excellent jab. But, last night the taller Khan was able to reach him from a distance, despite the snap away. Was it because of Khan's superior size and speed, or are Paulie's legs and reflexes starting to deteriorate? There's no denying Khan's speed, but will he be as impressive against Timothy Bradley, Devon Alexander or Marcos Maidana?

Last night for Paulie it was as if he was the football teams' star player. But, before he can put on his spikes and helmet, the coach grabs him and says, "Go get em kid!" and pushes him on to the field. Well, the kid can't move and tip-toes around.until he starts taking some big hits to his vulnerable head. In football, once the mistake is realized, an injury timeout can be called to make a substitution. In boxing all than can be done is exactly what was Referee Steve Smoger did when he stepped in and called a halt to the punishment at 1:25 of the eleventh round.

To Paulie's credit he lasted that long; although, it was painful to watch him get pummeled in retaliation for his attempts. Whenever he did manage to land a jab, he would get a couple back, plus a right hand or left hook to the body, thrown in for good measure. His head resembled a bobble doll, but Paulie kept fighting on. .

What's next for these two fighters. Obviously Khan is in the catbird seat and can dictate a few things concerning his next fight. He eagerly mentioned to announcer Max Kellerman that he wants to unify the junior welter title, and if that means fighting Marcos Maidana, then bring him on. He also suggested Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander fight, and then the winners of those two fights could fight. Sounds pretty good, and it's also probably wise for Khan. Maidana is a big puncher, but he is not that fast, and is very hittable. When comparing threats for Khan posed by these three, Maidana might be the least risky, despite the big punch; although, Khan will have a physical advantages over both "The Desert Storm" and "Alexander the Great". He won't find them so easy to hit, though. Bradley is very fast and a buzz saw in the ring, and Alexancer is very clever, and packs a wallop.

Paulie's future is another story. He has always found it hard to get big name opponents, because he had a knack for making them look bad, even if he didn't do that much damage. No promoter or manager wants his fighter to be made to look foolish. Consequently, they would tell Paulie, "Thanks, but no thanks." Maybe a few up and comers will want to post a "name" on their record, and will be willing to give Paulie a payday, but that list will exhaust itself rapidly. It's a shame for a relatively young fighter to be faced with that fate, but Paulie has undoubtedly seen his better days. No matter how much "Shtick" he tries, it probably won't be enough. Fans, with the exception of this loyal followers, just aren't going to buy it. If they won't buy it, you know the matchmakers aren't going to buy it

The undercard also proved to be one-sided. Nate Campbell seemed strong and calm, but just could not deal with the speed and sharp, accurate punching of Vicious Victor Ortiz . Campbell, age 38, is another one who is maybe getting long in the tooth right before our eyes, but he's always been somewhat of a question mark for other reasons. Last night he did manage to land a few good right hands to the body and head, but he could not sustain any kind of legitimate attack. Last night it was very evident that Ortiz had no trouble penetrating Campbell's peak-a-boo defense. He kept piling up the points, and it turned out to be another good comeback win for Ortiz. After his loss to Maidana, it helps to further restore his confidence, and keep him on the right road toward a possible championship. Maybe, down the road, he will get a shot at Khan, Bradley or Alexander, or a rematch with Marcos Maidana? All are exciting possibilities.

Article posted on 17.05.2010

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