|Paulie Malignaggi Defends His Title Against #1 Contender Herman Ngoudjo
By Danny Serratelli at ringside (Jan 7, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Bob Kolb)
‘The Magic Man’ Paulie Malignaggi, 24-1 (5), defended his title last night scoring a unanimous decision over the IBF #1 contender Herman Ngoudjo, 16-2 (9). The fans got their money's worth in a competitive bout in front of a packed house for Brooklyn's own Paulie Malignaggi at Bally's in Atlantic City, New Jersey. After a flawless performance back in June when he captured the IBF light welterweight title from former champion Lovemore N'dou, Malignaggi was brought back down to earth, but showed the poise and ring generalship of a champion in winning many of the close rounds and ultimately the
Malignaggi swept the first three rounds on two of the official judges' scorecards working primarily behind the jab. Ngoudjo showed that he came to fight in the 4th, which he won on all three cards and while the 5 and 6th were close rounds that Paulie appeared to win, Ngoudjo won the 7th round in what would be his best round of the fight. At that point it appeared that the scores were all over the place and Malignaggi had to do his thing in the final five rounds to make sure he kept his title. In the final five rounds of the bout, Malignaggi swept on one of the official cards (Al Bennett) while he won two (Steve Weisfeld) and three rounds (Kenny Chevalier) of the final five on the other cards to preserve the title.
Malignaggi boxed with confidence throughout, despite suffering a cut early in the bout while Ngoudjo proved that he came to take the title. Malignaggi fought well, but it appeared he had a problem bringing his "A" game into this fight after a 6 month layoff and hopes of luring one of the division's big names into a fight now that he has the belt. After this victory, one that promoter Lou DiBella felt was not even close, they are looking towards a future date with Ricky Hatton or another big name in or around the division.
At times Paulie seemed content to use only the left hand and slick defense as he did two fights ago against the capable Edner Cherry. In the Cherry fight, Paulie basically pitched a shutout with the left hand, but Ngoudjo showed Paulie that he would have to go deeper into his arsenal and let his right hand go with more authority and more often. The champion did so in the late rounds catching Ngoudjo with some good straight right hands and uppercuts late in the fight.
In the end the majority of the ringside scorers had Paulie winning the fight by anywhere from 2-6 points, however there were some who felt that it could be close, even a draw. When the official scores were announced there was some tension in the air. The official scores read 117-11, Al Bennett, 115-113, Steve Weisfeld and 116-113, Kenny Chevalier all for the winner Paulie Malignaggi.
Malignaggi has a bright future in the junior welterweight division. While he has picked up a lot of fans since in his last four fights against pound-for-pound contender Miguel Cotto, Edner Cherry, Lovemore N'dou, and Herman Ngoudjo, it appears the public has not even seen the best Paulie Malignaggi has to offer yet. When he fights in a big fight against a big name opponent and puts together all of his best qualities that he has displayed so far particularly in the Cotto fight and the N'dou fight the fans will be in for something special.
Light heavyweights Glen Johnson, 47-11 (32), won by TKO at 0:39 of round 8 over Hugo Pineda, 39-4 (28).
Light welterweights Lovemore N'dou, 46-9 (31), won by KO at 2:14 of round number 7 over Rafael Ortiz, 14-12 (13).
Heavyweights Chazz Witherspoon, 21-0 (14), won by unanimous decision (78-74, 78-74, 78-75) over Kendrick Releford, 15-10 (6).
Super featherweights Yuriorkis Gamboa, 8-0 (7), won by TKO at 1:54 of round number 1 over Gilberto Luque, 7-5 (3).
Heavyweights Kevin Burnett, 10-1 (6), won by unanimous decision (60-54, 60-54, 58-56) over Ryan Thompson, 4-3 (4).
Super featherweights Alberto Amaro, 2-1, won by unanimous decision (39-35, 38-36, 38-37) over Nicky DeMarco, 2-2 (2).
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