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Malignaggi vs. Ngoudjo

International Boxing Federation light welterweight champion Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi (23-1, 5 KOs) defends his title on January 5th against once beaten challenger Herman Ngoudjo (16-1, 9 KOs) at Bally’s Hotel & Casino, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Ngoudjo, 28, represented Cameroon in the 2000 Olympics, getting eliminated quickly in the first round, is coming off a very controversial split decision victory over Randall Bailey in June, a bout in which Ngoudjo trade knockdowns with Baily, and appeared to lose five the six final rounds of the fight.

However, the bout was held in Canada, where Ngoudjo now lives, and he seemed to have won a hometown decision. His performance in this bout, as well as his split decision loss to Jose Luis Castillo in January 2007, were less than awe inspiring, as he showed that he has little in the way of skills. To be more exact, Ngoudjo is more of a crude slugger, tending to focus exclusively on knocking out his opponents rather than using any kind of ring finesse of any kind.

Against Baily, 32, Ngoudjo found himself in the position of being the weaker puncher of the two, and instead of adapting to the situation and giving ground, Ngoudjo spent the entire fight plodding directly at the power-punching Bailey, who had little trouble hitting him with tremendous shots time after time. It was painful to watch, and in no was it close. Aside from the 1st round when Ngoudjo dropped Bailey after hitting him when he was off balance, Ngoudjo struggled to remain competitive in the bout.

For his part, Malignaggi, 27, won the IBF light welterweight title in June with a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision over Lovemore N’dou. Malignaggi used speed, movement and ring generalship to box circles around N’dou, keeping the 36 year-old on the outside, unable to connect with his power shots. It was a perfectly fought fight for Malignaggi, who proved to have learned from his mistakes that he made in his loss to Miguel Cotto a year earlier in June 2006. Instead of trying to mix it up with N’dou, as he tried to do without success against Cotto, Malignaggi would come inside only rarely, throwing quick combinations and then moving back out of range of N’dou.

Against Ngoudjo, Malignaggi figures to use the same strategy, essentially staying out of range of the power punching Ngoudjo, using fast jabs and piling up the points. Malignaggi doesn’t have much in the way of power, but his boxing skills make him hard to beat. Look for an easy 12-round decision for Malignaggi, who will expose Ngoudjo’s limited boxing skills and send him home a loser to Canada.

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