Now that the dust has settled after his recent crushing loss to Shawn Porter, Paulie Malignaggi shouldn’t retire just yet.
Sure, what happened to him on April 19th was shocking to most. Despite not being known for having a right hand, his chin, ring- intelligence, and technical ability have gotten him this far in his career. He’s been in the ring and lost to big punchers before: Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Adrien Broner, but none of those fights ended anywhere near as dramatically as it did against Porter.
In the post-fight interview, Paulie hinted at retirement but held back from making such a decision after reeling from a loss. I think his reticence at the time was wise because, after watching the fight, perhaps he shouldn’t retire. It was apparent from the moment both fighters entered the ring that Porter was the stronger and more powerful of the two – however, nothing out of the ordinary. Contrary to what we’ve seen Paulie do in the past, stick a jab and move, he decided to bring it to his opponent not afraid of fighting in close quarters, toe-to-toe.
This, I believe, was the wrong tactic because as the fight progressed, it became evident that Porter is adept at fighting inside, and his power was clearly troubling Paulie. Even when Paulie opened up space Porter was able to jump in with stunning lead left hooks, which kept him guessing all night until the knockout.
Despite getting stopped and hurt like never before, Paulie didn’t really look like a deteriorated fighter. The real story of the night was how masterful Shawn Porter was. He put skills on display that have now made him a serious contender in the welterweight division. He did things we’ve never seen him do before. Paulie understandably looked disappointed and somewhat embarrassed after the fight, but when he looks back at the video, he’ll realize he just lost to a great upcoming fighter.
Assuming he does continue fighting, the inevitable question is, where does he go from here? Who does he take on next? Devon Alexander, Kell Brook, and Keith Thurman would all be credible opponents. If the Shawn Porter outcome repeats itself against these guys, despite using appropriate tactics, then that would be a more concrete indication of his diminishing punch resistance. However, one very bad result alone is not enough to conclude that he is finished.
Paulie is a great character in and out of the ring. His trash-talking together with his insight, honesty, and technical analysis makes him an incredible boxing pundit. In the years to come his ringside commentary at major fights will surely be an interesting source of knowledge. But right now, as a boxer inside the ring, he’s not done just yet.