|Paulie Malignaggi will need some magic to defeat Danny Garcia
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (July 29, 2015)
At this point in his life, 34-year-old Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi might be better known as a ringside commentator instead of a two-division world champion.
Malignaggi’s lone fight last year was a painful one. He met former IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter at the DC Armory in Washington, DC.
Malignaggi can barely break an egg with his punches. He’s scored seven knockouts in his 39-fight career. His lack of punching power has hurt him. In spite of this disadvantage, Malignaggi has captured titles in two weight classes. His heart has never been questioned – nor his backbone. He’s a classic boxer who always comes to fight.
He captured the light welterweight belt in 2007 by out-boxing Lovemore N’dou.
Three years ago, he ventured to the Ukraine and upset the favored Vyacheslav Senchenko to pick up his second world title.
Against Porter however, Malignaggi found himself overwhelmed. He tried to jab, but the younger Porter walked him down and threw punch after punch. It’s conceivable that Malignaggi might have wished he was announcing the fight instead of being beat up.
He battled the best he could until a hard right from Porter knocked him through the ropes in round four. The fight was stopped. After suffering such a crushing loss, most pundits figured that Malignaggi would hang up his gloves. Even Malignaggi figured his career was over.
“It wasn’t even something I considered,” Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KOs) said during a media conference call a few weeks ago. ”It was just something that I felt like I was going to do, you know. I just felt like, I don’t really want to do this, in the time, the way I felt, where my mind was at.”
But a few months later, Malignaggi changed his mind.
"I gave myself plenty of time to kind of rejuvenate a little bit before I got back in the gym,” said Malignaggi. “And then I just decided, 'Hey, you know what, I miss this. I want to get back in the gym.'
“So I think the change of my mind was probably a good thing as opposed to just telling myself, ‘You know what, I’m going to take some time off and then come back.’ I really didn’t think I was going to come back.
“So when I took the time off, it was really like a time that I was legitimately, in my mind, feeling rested and got myself rejuvenated without even realizing it. And then, by the time I got back in the gym, it was like to try rebuilding a new me, so to speak.”
On August 1 “the new” Malignaggi faces the current WBC junior welterweight champion, Danny “Swift” Garcia in a 12-round welterweight contest.
Garcia (30-0, 17 KOs) hasn’t looked very impressive of late. His last appearance in the squared circle was three months ago, were he won a questionable 12-round decision over Lamont Peterson.
His fight with Malignaggi will be his first as a welterweight (seven pounds higher than his old weight) and Garcia is pretty happy about it.
“It feels great,” said Garcia during the same media conference call. “For the first time in a long time, I could worry about training to get better and not training to lose weight. I’ve been fighting at one hundred and forty my whole career.
“I just felt like losing the weight was affecting my performances, mostly in the later rounds of big fights because I will use a lot of my energy losing weight. I’ve been feeling a lot stronger and a lot better at one-forty-seven. I think I should have been moved up maybe after the Mattysse fight.
“But I’m here now and I feel good. I feel strong. I’m training hard. And we’re working on new things just to get faster and stronger at one forty seven,” he added.
Does he feel his last fight was affected by his struggles to make weight?
“I’m not making any excuses,” said Garcia. “He (Peterson) had a good game plan. I just didn’t feel strong at that weight class anymore.”
Does Malignaggi have nightmares about being knocked out by Porter?
“I don’t ever think about this stuff man,” said Malignaggi. “You have to have a short memory in boxing. And that applies to both when you look good and when you look bad. So whatever has happened to you in the past, it doesn’t matter whether it was good or bad.
“You can’t take that in the ring with you in your next performance,” he said. "You’re starting a new chapter every time you step in the ring for round one in your next fight.”
Malignaggi, who will enter the ring against Garcia a heavy underdog, feels that he can exploit some of Garcia’s weaknesses.
“I think styles make fight. From a style point of view there are things that I feel like I’ll be able to do against Danny. But I also expect Danny had made some adjustments since those fights.”
Garcia, 27, has looked bored and uninspired in his last few matches. Is he worried at all about Malignaggi?
“I’m not really concerned about Paulie,” Garcia told www.boxingnews24.com.”I feel like I can adapt to anything and find a way to win. I couldn’t cut off the ring I wanted to at one forty. Now I have more agility and really corner people, use the jab and control the fight.”
Malignaggi will be on the lookout for Garcia’s best punch, a powerful left hook. That punch, along with Garcia’s youth, should be enough to propel him to victory.
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