Malignaggi at a Crossroads

By Ryan Burton

27/11/2008

Malignaggi at a Crossroads

While Ricky Hatton celebrates his victory and anxiously awaits the result of the De La Hoya-Pacquiao fight, Paulie Malignaggi has some soul searching to do.  Did Paulie reach the pinnacle of his career in being thoroughly dominated in his biggest fight to date?  Is he better off going back to fighting the likes of Lovemore N'Dou whom he dominated to win the IBF Light Welterweight Title the first time they fought?  He can make a decent living but will not have the limelight he so desperately craves.  It seemed like he grew bored after that fight and struggled to lackluster victories over Herman Ngoudjo and a rematch with N'Dou (No one will ever forget the Great Hair Extension Debacle).

At his best Malignaggi is a jabbing and combination throwing machine, bobbing and weaving and using his speed to avoid major damage from his opponents.  At his worst, his biggest weakness, a lack of power is severly exposed.  If he gets down more than a couple rounds he doesn't have the power to get back in the fight with a single punch or even with multiple combinations.

A possibility for him would be to fight Zab Judah.  Judah made noise about wanting to fight either Malignaggi or Hatton.  While Hatton certainly wouldn't take this fight now while he has a potenial twenty million dollar fight on the table, it would be a good fight for Malignaggi to take as Judah still has name recognition in the boxing world. For Judah, Malignaggi would be a good name victory if he is serious about staying at light welterweight. The winner of this fight could fight the Holt Torres Trilogy winner, Timothy Bradley or even Juan Manuel Marquez who has spoke of moving up in weight.  This would be a good ticket seller in NY with two Brooklynites battling to regain their name.

Paulie has stepped up in class now twice.  After a valiant effort in a loss to Miguel Cotto he rebounded by capturing and making two title defenses of the IBF Light Welterweight Title.  When Malignaggi vs Hatton was announced, Malignaggi said that he would be ready to shock everyone and beat Hatton in his second attempt at stepping up in class.  He had no answer for Hatton's relentlessness or his power.  Malignaggi was worried that Hatton would be the one holding when in fact Malignaggi held more than Hatton as he tried to survive.  Malignaggi was upset his trainer Buddy McGirt threw in the towel.  While Malignaggi wasn't in real danger of being knocked out, Hatton wasn't in danger of even  sniffing a loss and as McGirt said, he didn't want his fighter to take any unnecassary damage.

When my grandmother spoke to me as a boy she would occasionally use the word "Onore" (Honor).  As the daughter of poor Sicilian immigrants sometimes Onore was all they had.  McGirt did his fighter a favor by insuring he gets another payday.  Paulie your only 27 years old. Get your Onore back in a fight you can win, not by trying to finish one you are destined to lose.