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Malignaggi Shows Championship Heart

By Bill Tibbs


Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi got dropped a couple of times before getting stopped by International Boxing Federation (IBF) world welterweight champion Shawn “Showtime” Porter Saturday night at the Armory in Washington, D.C.
 
Malignaggi, who already has a steady gig as a ringside analyst with Showtime, looked like a fighter who should think long and hard about what side of the ropes he wants to be on next time he shows up at a fight card. Up against a strong, motivated younger fighter, Malignaggi simply got steamrolled by the aggressive, nonstop attack from Porter. Malignaggi got worked over pretty well before referee Sam Williams finally waved off the fight, much to the chagrin and dismay of a frustrated, disappointed, no-quit Malignaggi.

The punishment dished out was a one-way street on Saturday night. However, something so evident throughout Paulie’s career was his championship heart. Paulie Malignaggi is as gutsy and tough a fighter on a world-class level as you will find. Forget the haircuts and fancy trunks. When this guy steps in the ring, he is all old-school tough guy.
 
Going into the fight, Porter was looking to make the first defense of the title he won when he upset the odds and battered champion Devon Alexander last December at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Paulie was looking to use his considerable speed and boxing skills to nullify the aggressive attack of Ohio-born Porter. In the end, the rugged attack of Porter, who seemed to be all over Brooklyn’s Malignaggi from the get-go, was just too much. He was simply too young and strong for Paulie.
 
Malignaggi was coming in looking to add a third world title to a résumé that already included the IBF light welterweight and the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title. His dance card has featured an arguable cream of the crop and Malignaggi has never turned his back on any challenge. Paulie has clocked into work to face Miguel Cotto, Edner Cherry, Lovemore Ndou, Ricky Hatton, Juan Diaz, Amir Khan, Adrien Broner and Zab Judah. Not gifted with power, scoring only seven KOs in 33 wins, the “Magic Man” was blessed with exceptional hand speed, ring movement and sheer toughness.
 
As Malignaggi left the arena on Saturday night, (heading to the hospital for a post-fight check-up), you had to wonder if we would ever see him in the ring again. If he takes some time off and decides to return, will he feel he has something left? If Malignaggi decides to call it a day and focuses on his exceptional and developing skills as a ringside analyst with the Showtime network, he can leave the ring with his head held high. He takes his curtain call sporting an outstanding record of 33-6 (7), much of it against the best in the world. And he can always be proud in the fact that his legacy will show he was a true fighter through and through, having won two world titles and building an outstanding résumé, with guts, skill, showmanship and a heart the size of the Brooklyn Bridge. Fight fans couldn’t have asked for a whole lot more.
 
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca.
 
 
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