Photo Credit: Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions
BROOKLYN — Last night, fans likely saw the last in-ring performance of Paulie Malignaggi. The cut up and bruised Brooklynite was able to complete eight rounds against Danny Garcia before referee Arthur Mercante Jr. halted the bout’s inevitable conclusion midway through the ninth.
The fight was supposed to function is a statement bout for Garcia’s long-awaited debut at welterweight. Instead, more questions remain about his potential in a weight class stacked with PBC talent.
WASHED VS. COMPLACENT: If there was a appropriate tagline for Garcia vs. Malignaggi, this was it. What was left of the old Malignaggi was effectively beat out of him by the Shawn Porter massacre last year. Garcia, for all his skill, has looked like a fighter unsure of himself and going through the motions since defeating Lucas Matthysse in late 2013.
Both guys did what we should have come to expect from them in recent fights. Garcia, while not spectacularly blowing away his faded foe, didn’t look bad either. He cut off the ring, brought measured pressure, worked the body, and rearranged Paulie’s face with consistent offense. Malignaggi leg’s were shot and outside of the second and third rounds, were he showed a decent amount of moment and defense, the former titlist could not break Garcia’s rhythm.
“I was trying to take a bit of his confidence. He was walking me down fairly well behind the jab,” Malignaggi admitted. “He cut me in the fourth and I think that upped his confidence. I never could get control of the pace though. In spots I felt I was giving up less ground and I had him missing. He got back on his groove though and he had a strong advantage.”
Having been cut eight times over the course of his 14-year career, Malignaggi’s skin couldn’t handle the constant shots. Deep redness was visible around the right eye after one round. Cuts opened above both eyes and another deep, skin-flapping wound under the right became an issue.
The eighth was particularly brutal as Malignaggi, movement labored, became a sitting duck for Garcia’s power shots. The punches downstairs had Malignaggi sporting a deep bruise on his left side. Garcia’s chopping rights continued the abuse upstairs.
The ending was more so a “dignity stoppage” than a “legit” one. Malignaggi had stumbled backwards after losing balance from a Garcia body shot. Garcia followed up with a glancing head shot while Malignaggi attempted to evade on the ropes. The referee jumped in to prevent more punishment and Malignaggi having to go out on his shield. Confirmation that the end was nigh came from Malignaggi himself.
“Little by little he broke me down, and I have no problem with the stoppage,” he said.
THE WELTERWEIGHT MEASURE: Garcia was noticeably bigger and stronger than Malignaggi, which comes as no surprise. The test for Garcia comes when he’s pitted against a natural 147-pounder. How will that left hook translate? How will he handle the power of bigger men?The two names mentioned on the boardcast were Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, both of which are very intriguing.
Thurman appears to have his eyes set on Amir Khan or Kell Brook, making a Porter fight more likely. I’d prefer that fight as well, since Garcia tends to look better against aggressive fighters. Another plus is Porter’s size and strength would ensure a great style contrast. Based on last night, I’d favor Porter by decision.
INJURY SPOILS JACOBS-MORA DRAMA: After both tasted the canvas within seconds of each other in round one, Jacbos vs. Mora was history by the second after Mora fractured his ankle on a canvas slip. Per the rules, the bout had to be ruled a TKO win for Jacobs as Mora couldn’t continue.
Jacobs had been a bit buzzed from the knockdown, but he was back to walking Mora down at forcing exchanges at the time of the injury.
“I wanted to stop him on my own,” said Jacobs. “I didn’t want him to quit on the stool but I know that he knew it was going to end in a couple of rounds anyway.
I want Peter Quillin next. It’s a fight the fans deserve. Brooklyn always supports both of us and it would be a great way to close out the year.”
Neither guy has any credible opponents left so why not? Jacobs is the better boxer from a technical standpoint. However, his chin is weaker and Quillin is the more explosive and powerful puncher. My early pick is Quillin by a mid-round KO while being behind on the cards.