By Samuel Rivera – Last Saturday Paulie Malignaggi (26-3-5 KO’s) entered the ring against Juan Diaz (35-2-17 KO’s) as an underdog. Many labeled him that way because of his recent lackluster performances, namely his embarrassing loss to Ricky Hatton.
Against Diaz he would be up against a pressure fighter much like Hatton but with better technique, and a more varied arsenal. Yet Malignaggi to the surprise of many out boxed Diaz for the majority of the rounds and in end in the eyes of most observers came away as the winner of the bout..
Malignaggi had predicted as much to any who would listen to him, he had said he would beat Diaz and that he had lost to Hatton because McGirt’s style didn’t suit him. Because of his brash and talkative nature most fans and critics alike dismissed his comments as excuses and sour grapes.
Up to the Diaz fight Malignaggi’s only claim to fame was lasting 12 rounds with Miguel Cotto while in the process suffering a broken cheek bone.
Malignaggi, in the days leading to the Diaz’s bout went on a rant about how he knew ahead of time that he would be robbed in Texas. Critics and fans dismissed the statements thinking that he was making excuses ahead of time in a fight he knew he couldn’t win.
It turns out all of Malignaggi’s ranting and complaining was justified and that the “McGirt’s style ruining his fight with Hatton excuse” was no excuse at all.
Malignaggi would go on to school Diaz (and in doing so showed a form that would have befuddled Hatton if he would have faced the British pug in such form) only to be robbed by the hometown judges after the 12 rounds had been completed.
Malignaggi was right all along and in hindsight (which is always 20/20) we shouldn’t have been surprised, because like him or not Malignaggi KNOWS boxing.
Here is a man that publicly stated that Pacquiao would destroy Hatton and that to beat Cotto the fighter opposing him would have to go through hell in order to do it because Cotto was that good. It turns out that he has been right on both those of statements.
Perhaps the odd makers should call him up for his prediction on fights because Malignaggi KNOWS Boxing.
On his accomplishments as a fighter Malignaggi is special, very special I would say…here is a fighter who only has 5 lonely KO’s in 26 wins and yet stood for the most part in front of Miguel Cotto for 12 ROUNDS with a broken cheek bone while making it a fight in the process. That does not only take skills to do, but it takes courage, loads of it, Malignaggi is a true warrior.
Malignaggi’s lack of KO’s can be attributed to a variety of things, namely his style and the fact that he has a chronically bad right hand (If you haven’t noticed he seldom uses it) which has sustained a large number breaks and surgeries.
Here is a man that has fought his way into winning a world title and despite the setbacks against Cotto and Hatton has retained his position as a top ten fighter in a stacked division (140)while fighting for all intents and purposes with only one hand. One can only wonder how far he would have gone in the world of boxing if his right hand would have been healthy.
But that is a question that will never be answered just like how great Sal Sanchez would have gone on to become had he not die prematurely on that car crash…however Malignaggi as he is was still good enough to out box Diaz for at least 7 out of the scheduled 12 rounds last Saturday night, and he was to the shame of the sport robbed of his hard earned victory.
After finding out that he had been robbed, Malignaggi would (and rightfully so) express his thoughts on what had taken place in the ring that night. Malignaggi is truly an outspoken individual, and this has garnered him many “haters” throughout the years. I cannot exactly comprehend why some fans dislike him for it, because most of the time Malignaggi is right, because if anything he is an honest individual and well… he KNOWS boxing.
While most observers agree that he won the fight, some dismiss the horrid decision simply because of the old “Hey it was a close match, so a close match usually goes to the homer” saying.That in itself is a disgrace, whether a fighter wins a fight by a point or 10 that fighter deserves the victory and there is no excuse that can suffice for it being otherwise.
Watching the fight when it aired live I scored it 115-113, 7 rounds to 5 for Malignaggi same as Harold Lederman. So yes I was very angry about the decision when it was announced, however just before writing this article I watched it again, and I had it 8-4 for Malignaggi! I gave Diaz the benefit of the doubt in one of the rounds, if not it could have been 9-3. Case in point, Malignaggi won.
Malignaggi landed cleaner shots; a LOT of Diaz’s shots were hitting Malignaggi’s gloves and landing on his shoulders and back. Diaz wasn’t landing as much as the compu box guys were giving him credit for; Malignaggi boxed beautifully, kept Diaz at bay and was really making him look silly at some points. He did as good as a pure boxer can do against a punching machine like Diaz, he pretty much nullified his offense with excellent movement and a busy jab.
Which brings me to my next point: Gale Van Hoy must be banned from boxing period, the man is the most incompetent judge I have seen, and how on earth did he come up with a score card of 118-110 for Diaz? My guess would be politics.
Malignaggi used a very well conceived four letter word to express his sentiment on the politics of boxing, and he was right to do so. Van Hoy had made up his mind before the fight as to who would win it in his card, and guess what the other two judges are just as guilty of this. Because even though their score cards were closer they still awarded a fight to Juan Diaz that Juan Diaz had clearly lost, even the Spanish commentators had Malignaggi winning (in an odd looking score card) 117-115!
Oscar De La Hoya, was not too long ago a fighter himself and in a few occasions he could have made a case that he was robbed on certain fights, in fact if I remember correctly he once while outraged called for an investigation to be made in a decision that didn’t go his way.
In his heart of hearts he knows what Malignaggi felt on Saturday night, and maybe perhaps he doesn’t know because by the time of his first loss (a controversial one) he was already a millionaire multiple times over, a luxury that Malignaggi doesn’t have.
Unfortunately there won’t be an investigation on the crime that took place in the Toyota Center last Saturday night, as such is the nature of our sport; however De La Hoya can make amends to Paulie Malignaggi and to boxing by arranging a rematch between Malignaggi and Diaz.
If Malignaggi decides to walk away from the sport after this, no one would blame him, but he won’t because of the pay day and because as he showed against Diaz he can still become a world champion for a second time.
Malignaggi is a true fighter and hopefully he gets a rematch or another big fight soon. On a side note I heard that Malignaggi thinks Cotto beats Pacquiao if this is true, given his track record of predictions perhaps the odds makers should listen to him, because Malignaggi truly KNOWS boxing.
Samuel Rivera can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org