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Malignaggi wins against Judah, claims ‘Brooklyn Bragging Rights’
Former WBA welterweight and IBF junior welterweight champion, Paulie Malignaggi (33-5, 7 KOs) won a unanimous 12-round decision over longtime friend Zab Judah (42-9, 29 KOs) last Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The victory earns Maliganaggi, a native of Bensonhurt, “Brooklyn Bragging Rights” over his Brownsville rival, as well, as another big fight.
The bout was the featured main event of a SHOWTIME Championship Boxing event that featured three additional world title fights.
Maliganaggi overcame a knockdown in the second round to outwork Judah through twelve rounds. The judges scored the bout 117-110 (twice) and 116-111 for Malignaggi.
“This is an emotional win for me,” said Malignaggi. “It definitely allows me to continue boxing. If I had lost, I don’t know that I would have wanted to continue. But this big win puts me in the right spot to fight in this division for lots of money…lots.”
Maliganaggi and Judah were both coming off losses in each of their last fights at the Barclays Center. In June, Maliganaggi lost the WBA welterweight championship to Adrien Broner. Judah, in April, failed to defeat unified WBC/WBA junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia.
Malignaggi and Judah are both former world champions at 140 and 147. They’ve fought the who’s who of boxing that include: Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, and Amir Khan. However, they have lost many big fights and were in desperate need of a big time victory.
No one could ever envisioned Malignaggi and Judah fighting one another since they’re both very good friends. They’ve watched each other coming up through the New York Boxing Metro amateur circuit and have rooted for one another at ringside for years. Through the thick and thin, Malignaggi and Judah were tight allies in this crazy game called boxing.
“As a teenager I watched Zab fight and to walk into the ring and fighting against him was very surreal,” Malignaggi said. “Not that I never expected myself not to be successful, but it was still something very surreal. I felt like this showed that this sport can unify everyone. I looked up to this guy when I was coming up in the sport and he’s one of the greats.”
Malignaggi boxed a perfect fight. He jabbed to throw Judah off balanced and threw his straight-right consistently. Judah, a southpaw with a devastating left-hand, simply didn’t have the explosiveness to tear through Malignaggi’s defense.
“I came to fight and so did Paulie,” Judah said. “It just wasn’t there. This was a great opportunity and a great event. I wanted to be the King of Brooklyn. He wasn’t tougher than me. He stayed on the outside and didn’t engage.”
The loss was devastating for Judah because, the defeat marked the ninth of his career and Judah hasn’t amassed 45 victories as of yet. No fighter has had the chances that Judah has had. Judah has always made a solid account for himself, but has squandered a lot of great opportunities. Judah could have ruled boxing, but Mayweather, Cotto, Garcia, and Khan beat him. Losses to Kostya Tszyu, Cory Spinks, Joshua Clottey and Carlos Baldomir were unexpected and upsetting.
Judah really needed this victory against Paulie. Judah is still a viable contender and can compete at a high level, but its highly questionable whether he can defeat another high caliber fighter.
Porter snatches welterweight title away from Alexander
In a surprise to many, Devon Alexander (25-2, 14 KOs)) lost his IBF welterweight title to the rising Shawn Porter (23-0-1, 14 KOs). Alexander was considered the better and more experienced of the two fighters, but Porter proved that he had the bigger heart by simply pressuring Alexander from the opening bell, backing him up, and simply beating him thoroughly for twelve rounds.
“I’m disappointed. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I didn’t follow the game plan. He was rushing in and I didn’t capitalize on that. And that’s what we had planned on.”
The loss to Porter wasn’t shocking to this writer because, Alexander’s performances have progressively gotten worse, and worse, and worse in recent years. Alexander is far from the same fighter that knocked out Juan Urango and Junior Witter to unify the WBC/IBF junior welterweight belts. Alexander has struggled in high-profile fights against Timothy Bradley, Andrei Kotelnik, Lucas Matthyssee, and Randall Bailey. Alexander looked tremendous in handling Marcos Rene Maidana, but that’s about it.
Alexander didn’t have a clue about what to do with an aggressive, anxious, and determined young lion in Porter, who spent the majority of the fight trying to knock Alexander out. Porter reminded everyone that boxing is more than just having skills. A fighter must be willing to fight as hard to attain victory, as he would to avoid suffering a defeat. Porter was the one that fought as if his life depended on, while Alexander appeared to have forgotten what it means to be a fighter.
“This is a blessing,” Porter said. “We wanted to come out here and establish that I was the better fighter and we made it happen. I think I was able to control the fight because of my experience and I’m the bigger guy. We did what we had to do. I paid my dues. The opportunity was here and I stepped up to the plate.”
Lara too good for Trout
Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) pummeled Austin Trout (26-2, 14 KOs) through twelve rounds to win the vacant WBA junior middleweight championship. Trout, after having defeated Miguel Cotto in 2012 and battling Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez through twelve rounds in 2013, looked terrible against Lara. The judges scored the bout: 117-110 (twice) and 115-109.
“I did what Canelo couldn’t do. I dominated Trout and I dropped him. Now we have to make a fight that everyone wants to see which is me against Canelo,” said Lara.
The New Mexican native didn’t have an answer for Lara’s straight-rights and left hand finishes. Lara was simply technically superior to Trout, who displayed very little power behind his punches. Lara scored a knockdown in round eleven and nearly knocked out the former champion. Trout simply had no answers for the former Cuban amateur stand out.
“I’m coming right back,” said Trout. “Who can say that they fought such high caliber fighters as Cotto, Canelo and Lara back-to-back-to-back? His style was tricky, but I don’t sign up for easy fights. He was the better man tonight.”
Lara’s only defeated was a disputed 12-round decision to Paul Williams, who in 2012 was left permanently disabled from the waist down following a motorcycle accident.
Bika-Dirrell fight to a draw
WBC super-middleweight champion Sakio Bika (32-5-3, 21 KOs) fought Anthony Dirrell (26-0-1, 22 KOs) to a draw. Dirrell was expected to lift the WBC title from Bika, but fought an ill-advised fight by standing-toe-toe with Bika. Despite scoring an early knockdown, gave Bika plenty of opportunities to counter and hit him with punches he should have been hit with. Dirrell was fouled repeatedly, but Bika was docked only one point. The Judges scored the bout 114-112 (Bika), 116-110 (Dirrell), and 113-113 (even).
The point deduction saved Dirrell from defeat.
“I want to apologize to the fans for leaving the ring like that but I was just disappointed,” Duirrell said. “He hit low and head butted. I definitely want a rematch.”
“I feel like I was fighting the referee as well,” Bika said. “The body shot was a legitimate body shot. Not below the belt line. I got him on the belt line, Dirrell just wanted to milk it. I was the busier fighter and now I just want to fight the best ahead of me.”
In other bouts: 2008 U.S. Olympian and Brooklyn’s own Sadam Ali (18-0, 11 KOs) stopped Jesus Selig (12-2-1, 6 KOs) in the seventh round of their welterweight clash.
“] I think the referee saw what was going to happen eventually,” Ali said. “Everything was landing. I like to entertain the crowd so I really wish they wouldn’t have stopped it that fast. The crowd wanted to see action, but you have to respect the ref.”
2012 U.S. Olympian and light-heavyweight prospect Marcus Browne (8-0, 7 KOs) of Staten Island, knocked out Kevin Engel (20-9, 16 KOs) in one round.
“Going the distance [in my last fight] showed me how to be patient,” Browne said. “I know that if I don’t catch him in the first round, I will catch him in the second. If I don’t catch him in the second, I will catch him in the third. [I feel so good] I could fight again tomorrow if I wanted to.”
Undefeated junior middleweight prospect Julian Williams (14-0-1, 7 KOs) outpointed Orlando Lora (29-5-2, 19 KOs) through eight rounds.
“I was going to take my time,” Williams said. “I kept touching the body more and more and using my jab. He was easy to hit and I’m difficult to hit. His feet were slower and mine are faster.”
Juan Dominguez (16-0, 11 KOs) decisioned Camilo Perez (9-2, 4 KOs) through eight rounds of their featherweight contest.
“It is great fighting in Barclays Center,” Dominguez said. “This is a special night. A whole night of world title fights that no one will forget. It felt great to go eight rounds. This is my second time going the distance.”