‘Magic Man’ Evens The Score

By Tom Donelson, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: December 13, 2009

IOWA CITY (BASN) — Paulie Malignaggi felt that he was robbed in his last fight against Juan Diaz in his hometown of Houston.

The rematch took place in Chicago, a neutral town but “The Windy City” does have a high Hispanic population so Diaz figured to have fans on his side.

When Malignaggi walked into the ring to a chorus of boos, it simply reinforced that Diaz would have the crowd on his side.

The opening round saw Malignaggi’s foot movement the decisive factor as he stayed just enough out of Diaz’s range.

Diaz’s reputation throughout his career was a fighter who would outhustle his opponents, but the foot speed of Malignaggi blunted his punching volume.

And after two rounds, blood flowed from Diaz eyes from Malignaggi’s right hand.

In the third round, Diaz had a brief few seconds in which he landed left hooks but those brief moments seemed but a blur as Malignaggi’s mastery of the ring may have captured another round.

In the fifth round, Malignaggi slowed down just enough and allowed Diaz to nailed him with several left hooks to body and head. Diaz finally got close to his opponent to unleash his patented left hook as Malignaggi slowed down.

In the sixth round, Malignaggi began the round moving but halfway through the round, Diaz caught him with his best left hook of the fight and then followed up with sustained body shots.

Malignaggi changed the sixth round around with a right hand uppercut but after hurting Diaz, he did more posing than fighting as the round came to an end.

Diaz appeared to be on the offense in the eighth round as he finally caught Malignaggi with several left hooks to the body.He got away from his game plan of moving out of Diaz’s range and allowed him into the fight.

One member of Malignaggi told his fighter, “Cut the crap.”

In the ninth round, Malignaggi went back to boxing and Diaz found himself in quicksand, or it must have appeared to him. In the 10th round, Malignaggi right forced Diaz off balance and while it did not appear his gloves hit the ground, the referee ruled it knockdown.

This produced a 10-8 round, whether it was true knockdown or not.

Going into the last round, Malignaggi’s corner simply told their boxer, “Let box the shit out of him.”

With blood spurting from his eyes, Diaz got Malignaggi into a firefight and landed some effective hooks.

Just as he did in the 11th round, Diaz’s body shots finally showed some effect but it was a case of too little, too late.

Malignaggi won the decision as he took the rematch. This was entertaining fight but it was Malignaggi’s speed that proved the decisive factor in this fight.

For Diaz, it is time to re examine his career for this represented his third lost in the last five fights and even his previous victory over Malignaggi was a controversial, close bout.

Juan Diaz has a college degree and doesn’t need to fight anymore.

Unless he can beat the elite fighters, what there is left for him to accomplish?

As for Malignaggi, there are plenty of fights for him and plenty of championships to compete for.

JOHNSON vs. KLITSCHKO

Kevin Johnson took his undefeated record across the Atlantic when he faced heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko.

This fight represented Johnson big step up against one of the best heavyweights today.

Johnson played defense in the first three rounds but in the process, he allowed Vitali to win the early rounds with little effort.

When thrown; Johnson’s jab often fell short and while he occasionally landed a punch, it did very little to affect Vitali.

This looked like a fight where Vitali needed only to touch his opponent to win rounds. Johnson avoided getting hit but he was doing little to convince the judges that he was winning rounds.

During the fifth round, Vitali’s right eye started to swell which could have been due to the occasional jab that Johnson landed.

Klitschko’s mouth was open but despite the evidence of being tired and right eye swollen; Johnson could not take advantage.

Klitschko seemed frustrated by Johnson’s lack of offense and his ability to block many of his punches.

Yet, Klitschko continued to throw punches and appeared to be satisfied with just touching his opponents to win rounds after rounds.

Johnson appeared unwilling to use his speed to take risks and this produced a boring fight. He did manage to cut and swell Klitschko’s right eye but he showed a reluctance to impose himself on his opponent.

It is hard to lose a fight in which you connect on five times as many punches as your opponent and that is why Klitschko won the fight.

As for Johnson, he showed that he has the defensive skills at the elite levels but he doesn’t have complete package to be a champ.

And as Lennox Lewis noted, there is no one better than the Klitschko brothers and there appear no one that can beat them.

In the heavyweight division, it is still Klitschko’s world.