More than just a few fans might respond to “pick one” by answering, “Do I have to?” Garcia is the heavy favorite, but so what! Both men have failed to please fans. In most cases it’s not a matter of what they did. Rather, it’s what they haven’t done. The match-up certainly wasn’t made in heaven, but it’s a sure bet the winner will look upward while thanking Al Haymon.
What’s at stake? The Premier Boxing Champions contest is being billed as one for bragging rights between Phillie’s undefeated superstar Danny “Swift” Garcia and Brooklyn’s own Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi at Barclays Center. Fans are having difficulty biting down hard on this kernel of corn.
Even Danny’s loyal fans want to see him do a better job at removing naysayers’ doubts about his undefeated record. His wins over Lamont Peterson and Mauricio Herrera left more questions than answers. Then there was his soft choice match-up against Rod Salka. When the critics start rolling, it’s hard to stop them. When the doors of doubt are opened, it’s hard to get them closed. At one time, boxing analysts would defend him against critics who found fault with his style by saying, “He simply finds a way to win.”
But, why pick Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi as his first opponent in the move up to welterweight division? The obvious reason is common sense. Paulie has seen his better days. He can live only so long on the courage he had going the distance with Miguel Cotto despite having a fractured orbital bone. He has never been a big punch threat which will allow Danny to try a few different strategies without much of a risk. Paulie’s still got a pretty good sets of wheels, so Danny won’t have a punching bag in front of him. Paulie also has a good chin, so Garcia’s people are hoping there will be a little magic left.
Paulie’s best trick has already been executed. It was his ability to pass himself off as a serious threat to defeat Garcia. That claim is almost as absurd as the Sugar Shane Mosley vs Ricardo Mayorga bout being billed as meaningful. After all, Paulie hasn’t fought since his 4-19-14 destruction at the hands of Shawn Porter. Naazim Richardson offered his take on Paulie’s match-up with Danny Garcia by saying, “Malignaggi’s boxing IQ is extraordinary”. Maybe so, Paulie might be smart, but he no longer has the means necessary to inflict bodily harm. His jab, legs and speed aren’t what they once were, and problem solving has become more difficult.
Angel Garcia says his son will use his own boxing IQ to figure out Paulie. All he will need is the first few rounds. Angel believes Danny will kayo The Magic Man by the fourth round. If that happens, it won’t mean much. Everyone already expects it. Critics will see it as another Salka type win. If Paulie goes the distance, it will be a loss for both. Paulie’s will be in the loss column, and Danny’s will be a failure to win over his critics.
Paulie once explained that he understood the politics of boxing. He knows that he doesn’t have to beat Danny to obtain kudos. If he can go the distance, it will be praise worthy and honorable. He will accept the compliments and congratulations and give a nod in Naazim’s direction. After going to the bank, he will return to the broadcasting booth and glad-handing from Mauro Ranallo and Al Bernstein. There he will do a little more campaigning and await the next nomination. Just being a candidate brings (political) power and being in the catbird seat at Showtime doesn’t hurt either.