Highway Robbery in Houston - Juan Diaz scores terrible hometown decision over Paulie Malignaggi
By John Pullman, Doghouse Boxing (Aug 23, 2009)  
Saturday night Juan Diaz and Paulie Malignaggi squared off in the hometown of Diaz, Houston Texas. And to put it plain and simple it ended in a terrible hometown decision.

Malignaggi was robbed of a classic, throw back performance. He controlled the tiny ring with footwork, crafty upper body movement and angles. He busted Diaz up with up jabs and straight right hands. The referee, Laurence Cole, did everything in his power to try and give Diaz the upper hand. During the early rounds when Paulie cut Diaz’s eye with a precision like uppercut, Cole illegally asked the judges if they saw a clash of heads.

Then a round or two later Diaz had another cut which Cole just flat out ruled a clash of heads when there was no evidence of it. The cut didn’t come into play as far as ending the fight early, but it was an option, just in case.

And another thing, Malignaggi was getting warned early on for pushing off and holding. It appeared to me that Diaz was holding just as much. Malignaggi did not complain at all during the fight but simply listened to his trainer, Sharif Younan’s advice, which was excellent, and continued to follow the game plan. Malignaggi continued to out box Diaz with speed and angles till the ending bell.

The scores came in; David Southerland 116-112, Raul Caiz Sr. 115-113 and Gale Van Hoy 118-110 all for Juan “The Baby Bull” Diaz. Juan is a nice kid, a good fighter and a class act. But tonight Juan looked like a human baby, not a “baby bull”.

After the fight Max Kellermen made a point that Diaz is an exciting pressure fighter who gained the love of a lot of fans in Houston, so therefore he “kind of deserves” the bias from the judges to keep the boxing business machine going. Malignaggi is a pure boxer and not as exciting to the layman, but what he did tonight was nothing less then poetry to the boxing fanatic.

Paulie was irate after the fight, with due cause. “It’s not right!” Paulie exclaimed. “You know I am not getting a rematch man, this is boxing, boxing is full of shit! I used to love this sport. I cannot stand doing this, the only reason I keep doing this is because it gives me a good pay day.”

When asked what is next Paulie’s remark was, “Whatever comes my way, I am just an opponent after losing the fight. Juan can call out the winner of Mayweather/Marquez. I don’t have that luxury cause I got robbed. So, I got to sit back and hope that I get used as an opponent in somebody’s hometown again.”

Sounds like an honest, yet tragic assessment to his scenario.

Based on the standard professional boxing judging criteria – clean punching, ring generalship and effective aggression – I had the fight scored 9 rounds to 3 in favor of Malignaggi. At best 8 rounds to 4. It was easy to see that Diaz was the aggressor but not very effective. Malignaggi certainly landed more clean punches and with out a doubt was the general of that small ring. Paulie Malignaggi looked like a modern day Willie Pep in there.

It is a shame to me that decisions like this happen way too often in boxing. With this type of dishonesty involved in boxing it will continue to lose fans to the seemingly more honest, less tainted Mixed Martial Arts. I am a boxing connoisseur and can only hope that boxing can take an honest look at what is going on, and attempt to bring it back to its original purity of the old days. The days when money was not the only important thing. The days when tough losses against stiff competition did not ruin a guy and when a fighter could go to any place on the map and get a fairer shake. The days when then only guy who got a slight benefit of a doubt was the one world champion of his or her respected division.

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