WBA welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi believes that his boxing skills, and those of others, are not appreciated by many of today’s fans “as much as they appreciate the aggressiveness.”
Malignaggi is coming off a Showtime-televised split-decision victory over Mexico City’s Pablo Cesar Cano (25-2-1, 19 KOs) at Barclays Center in his native Brooklyn, which he won, 114-113 on the cards of judges Nelson Vasquez and Tom Muller, but lost, 118-109, on that of Glenn Feldman.
The victory was Malignaggi’s fifth straight as a welterweight during a run that has included two stoppage wins, having last suffered defeat by 11th-round knockout to Amir Khan as a junior welterweight at New York’s Madison Square Garden in May of 2010.
Malignaggi was dropped in the 11th-round by Cano, who out-landed Malignaggi, 262-to-217, in overall punches, and, 165-to-57 in power blows according to CompuBox. Malignaggi, who was booed by a number of ringside fans, had the advantage in landed jabs, 160-to-97.
Known primarily for his finesse as a fighter, Malignaggi thought he defeated Cano by a wider margin, but that his dominance — his jab made a bloody mess of Cano’s face — was not reflected in the judges’ scores.
“I came home and fought a tough kid in Cano. It’s unfortunate that people in this country don’t appreciate the boxer as much as they appreciate the aggressiveness. I spoke to Steve Bunce, who is a very well-known writer in England, and he’s got a radio show over in England. He told me he had me up by four or five points, but yet, I’m losing the fight on some people’s cards over here in New York. It’s no longer subjective when the boxer, especially in this country, the boxer’s not appreciated,” said Malignaggi, 32.
“Floyd Mayweather gets no appreciation, but he’s just so dominant, that they have to just deal with it. But, with me, I’m not saying that I’m as dominant as Floyd, but I consider myself to be a real craftsman of the sport. I’m a true craftsman of boxing. It’s nice to be appreciated. But at a certain point, you know, it comes down to if it comes to being appreciated and building my bank account, then I’ll always take padding my bank account over being appreciated. My bank account is doing pretty good right now.”
Hunter expressed similar sentiment prior to Ward’s HBO-televised 10th-round knockout over RING and WBC light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson, whom Ward floored during the third, fourth and final rounds
“There’s always got to be a certain — to me — a division of fans who are going to appreciate what boxing is truly all about. There’s also going to be those fans who really don’t understand boxing and can’t get a grasp of what this sport truly is,” said Hunter.
“Unless they see something that they consider exciting today, in terms of a hundred head shots landing within five rounds, and bloody noses and busted eyes and things like that. It is what it is, but I expect a great fight.”
Malignaggi credited the counsel of California-based trainer Eric Brown, who also worked the corner of unbeaten middleweight Peter Quillin during the night’s unanimous decision win over that dethroned WBO 160-pound titleholder Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, whom Quillin dropped six times.
In April, Brown guided Malignaggi to a ninth-round stoppage on the home turf of previously unbeaten Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko, who was bigger, taller and boasted more power and who had worked, at times, with trainer Freddie Roach.
Malignaggi said he was “disappointed” that his belt was not only the line against Cano, who failed to qualify for the 147-pound limit at the pre-fight weigh-in.
MALIGNAGGI WANTS A REMATCH WITH RICKY HATTON
Malignaggi’s big fight experience may have provided an advantage over Senchenko and Cano, with two of his career losses being against Miguel Cotto by decision in June of 2006, and Ricky Hatton by 11th-round knockout in November 2008.
Malignaggi had rectified a controversial unanimous decision loss to Juan Diaz in the latter’s hometown of Houston in August of 2009 by avenging it the same way in Chicago in December of that year.
Malignaggi craves a rematch with Hatton (45-2-2, 32 KOs), who will end a 3¾-year retirement on Nov. 24 in a Showtime-televised clash with Senchenko (31-1, 21 KOs). Hatton, 34, was last in the ring when he was stopped in the second round by Manny Pacquiao in May of 2009.
“I think that the fight with Hatton is being talked about and being discussed,” said Malignaggi, who is promoted by Golden Boy.
“I think that it will obviously be discussed even more if Hatton beats Senchenko. I know Hatton is interested, I’m interested, and I know that they’re working on making it happen if Hatton is victorious.”
AMIR IMAM, OMAR HENRY HIGHLIGHT NOV. 16 SHOWTIME CARD
Junior middleweight Amir Imam (5-0), of Albany, N.Y., is coming off June’s first-round knockout over Kelvin Williams, one that represented the fourth straight for the fighter who turns 22 on Nov. 5.
“This kid is a really good prospect. He’s long and lean and a compact puncher. He’s dedicated and always in great shape, and this kid could be a champion real soon,” said Bonani.
“This kid punches really well, he’s got power, punches really well and he’s quick, and he’s tall for the junior welterweight division. He’s got good defense. I think that he’s one of the top prospects at 140 or 147 pounds.”
Nicknamed, “Young Gun,” Imam will face an opponent to be determined on Nov. 16 from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., a Showtime-televised card whose main event features junior middleweight Omar Henry (12-0, 9 KOs), of Chicago, opposite James de la Rosa (21-1, 12 KOs), of San Benito, Texas.
“Personally, I think he’s one of the best at this stage that I’ve ever seen. Very methodical, listens well, places his punches well, and he learns really well and really fast. He lives, sleeps and eats boxing and he’s one of the most dedicated and disciplined fighters that I’ve ever had,” said McKinley.
“Everybody watches him fight and they say, ‘this kid’s going to be a superstar.’ I call him, ‘the Old Master.’ His skills are far beyond his experience. A lot of people think that he’s been in 15 or 20 fights. I have seen him spar junior middleweights and even some world champions, and I’ve never seen him lose even a round in the gym. One of the best I’ve ever worked with. I have high hopes for him, and I think he’s going to be a champion.”
Imam doesn’t take the praise for granted.
“I embrace all of the compliments. I appreciate all that they do for me, you know, Al Bonani, Don King, Stacey McKinley and all of them. I appreciate what they do, and I work hard to live up to the things they say about me. I don’t go out there looking for the knockout. I just go out there and do what I do,” said Imam, who is trained by McKinley.
“If the knockout comes, then it comes, and I just take advantage of the openings. My height helps me a lot, because I’m long, lanky, and there are not a lot of junior middleweights my size. I add strength to it a lot, and I can outbox people. I can be a champion, I think, within the next year.”
The 25-year-old Henry and the 24-year-old de la Rosa will headline the card, whose promoter, King, will be joined by Miami lightweight Angelo Santana (13-0, 10 KOs) at a Thursday press conference at Gulstream Park announcing the event.
A 24-year-old southpaw from Cuba, Santana will be after his seventh consecutive knockout victory against Juan “Johnny” Garcia (13-0, 8 KOs), a 30-year-old resident of Holland, Mich.
King will also feature local favorite and junior middleweight Joey “Twinkle Fingers” Hernandez (22-1-1, 13 KOs), a 28-year-old Miami resident who will pursue his third straight stoppage win against an opponent to be determined.
Bonani said that he expects Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs) to face mandatory challenger Karo Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs), of Germany, in Nov. 24 in Venezuela.
JOURNEYMAN JIMMY LANGE UPSET BY TONY JETER
Former “Contender” series competitor Jimmy Lange (38-5-2, 25 KOs), of Great Falls, Va., suffered Saturday night’s upset, 10-round, split-decision loss to middleweight rival Tony Jeter (15-3-1, 10 KOs), of Columbia, Md., before Lange’s hometown fans at The Patriot Center on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
A 37-year-old whose winning streak was ended and seven bouts, including three knockouts during that run, Lange had been a consideration as recently as August for a bout opposite WBA “regular” junior middleweight beltholder Austin Trout (25-0, 14 KOs).
But those lofty goals among others may have taken a tumble at the hands of Jeter, who turns 37 in December and who won for the third consecutive time.
Jeter never had gone beyond eight rounds previously. Jeter was last beaten by fifth-round knockout against Jose Felix, whose triumph ended Jeter’s unbeaten run at 8-0-1, including five knockouts.
Jeter won his rematch with Felix by eight-round unanimous decision in February, and stopped Tyrel Brown in the fifth round in September before facing Lange, who had won his previous five bouts at the Patriot Center, including three by stoppage.
Referee Steve Smoger deducted five points for low blows from Jeter, who was also dropped in the second round.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime
Photo courtesy of Don King Productions
Photo by David Martin Warr, Don King Productions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]