Barclay's Center, Brooklyn, New York, Aug. 1
By Peter Lim
Packing negligible knockout power, Paulie Malignaggi has always relied on his slickness and boxing IQ to defeat stronger, harder hitting men. But father time has eroded his hand and foot speed, reflexes and punch resistance, and he has descended to the status of big-name opponent - at best - at this juncture in his career.
Even in Malignaggi's prime as a junior welterweight, astute and aggressive fighters the likes of Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton were able to solve his style, close the distance and bully him with harder punches. At welterweight, Malignaggi was obliterated by natural 147-pounder Shawn Porter, who effortlessly walked through his powder-puff punches.
Danny Garcia might not be a full-fledged welterweight yet, but he has the chin, experience and versatility to repeat what Porter did. Malignaggi is particularly susceptible to the left hook which just happens to be Garcia's deadliest punch. Garcia will take a few rounds to find his range, but once he does, it will be a one-sided affair. Garcia wins by ninth-round TKO.
Malignaggi's decline as a top-shelf boxer coincided with his rise as a top-notch analyst and commentator. He is undoubtedly going into this encounter with the intention of winning so it would be impossible for him to take a step out and analyze the fight from a completely objective and unbiased standpoint. But if he did, I suspect he would agree with my assessment and prediction.
This fight unfurled exactly as predicted. Paulie should walk away, not look back and permanently replace his trunks and mouthpiece with his tuxedo and microphone.