Cotto To Crush Malignaggi?

07.06.06 - By DAVID DOUSE: Although there is no doubt that Paul Malignaggi is a sweet boxer who clearly has excellent technical skills, and a jab so educated you’d think it went to college, the thing about Miguel Cotto is that he is so focused and so relentless that it is hard to see just how Paulie can keep him at a safe distance for more than the first few rounds of the action on Saturday night. With Cotto so willing to march forward into the enemy camp, and firing his trademark left hook to the liver, it seems unlikely that Malignaggi can remain unscathed by the kind of brutal body battering that Cotto will be looking to subject him to for more than the first three or four rounds that it will take Miguel to figure out how to reach into his heart. Thereafter it should be only a matter of how much capacity Paulie has to absorb punishment before he is battered into submission in typical Cotto style.

What after all does the Brooklyn born fighter have in his arsenal other than pure technical skill with which to hold him at bay? Fleet footedness and a great jab alone seem unlikely to be enough to keep him out of danger for the entire duration; at some point he will have to close in on Cotto to some extent if he is to be able to score with his own combinations, despite the awkward angles he is so skilled at creating helping to keep him out of the firing line..

Seeming to suffer either a natural lack of power, or simply being unable to produce leverage because his style prevents him setting down on his shots and opening up his body to produce the torque required for heavy hitting, we have to look back to August 2003 against Kevin Watts to see his last inside the distance win. Even that came at the expense of a fighter who was himself no one to write home about.

With Malignaggi lacking power, it is easy to see Cotto simply ignoring what Paulie has to offer by way of threat and using his own power to take the Brooklyn fighter to the ropes, or cut him off in the corners. If Cotto can come through heavy punches of the kind he took from the hard hitting Colombian Ricardo Torres, then it is hard to see him being fazed by Malignaggi’s far less effective hitting, accurate and annoying though it might be. As demonstrated in his fight with Torres, who is perhaps limited but definitely a puncher, he can be rocked and he can be dropped, but it seems unlikely to me that a light punching stylist who has not met the quality of opposition Cotto has faced has the wherewithal to trouble the champion.

When obliged to take on board Cotto’s relentless attack, particularly when having to accept the kind of body assault which must inevitably slow him down and leave him vulnerable, Paulie is likely to be in for a rude awakening. Now open, and unable to discourage a merciless Cotto grinding remorselessly forward with bad intentions in his heart and the means to make that a reality in his fists, Malignaggi will surely be about to learn the reality of having only five inside the distance wins on his record of 21 wins as opposed to Cotto only having to trouble the judges four times in achieving his 26 victories.

Fighters who go so readily to war in the way that Miguel Angel Cotto does do tend to have somewhat shorter careers than the hard to hit kind, but it usually takes a heavy punching fighter who is himself just a bit fresher to do the job. Taking nothing away from Paulie Malignaggi’s own abilities I seriously doubt that he is the man to put that particular punctuation point to Cotto’s career either this weekend, or any other time soon, and I suspect that Malignaggi will find himself on the wrong end of a comprehensive beating with a stoppage coming from the sixth round onwards.

Article posted on 07.06.2006

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