By Michael Collins: You can make a strong argument that WBA World welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KO’s) is milking his World Boxing Association title by taking on light welterweight Pablo Cesar Cano (25-1-1, 19 KO’s) next on October 20th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. With all the potential welterweights for the 31-year-old Malignaggi to choose from to defend his 147 pound title, he chose a light welterweight contender in 22-year-old Cano to defend his title against.
Cano is ranked #1 by the WBA in the light welterweight division, but he’s not ranked in top 15 by any of the other sanctioning bodies in that division and he’s definitely not ranked in the welterweight division. It’s not exactly fair to the top contenders in the welterweight division that Malignaggi is defending his title against someone from the 140 pound division.
Most champions choose a bottom feeder when making optional title defenses, but they usually choose someone at least from their own division. It’s a sad commentary for the sport when you get a champion defending his title against a fighter from a division below him because it bypasses all the guys that have been waiting in line for a chance at a title.
Cano is largely known for being the guy that Erik Morales beat up last year in losing a 10th round stoppage. He gave Morales some problems for a while, but then took a beating and was stopped. Had this been a prime Morale he likely would have carved Cano up in three or four rounds.
I would have much preferred to see Malignaggi defend his title against an actual welterweight contender like Thomas Dulorme or Kell Brook. If his intent was to fight an easy optional defense then he could have chosen someone ranked #14 or #15 by the WBA, someone like Teerachai Kratingdaeggym or Ravshan Hudaynazarov.