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Malignaggi breathes new life to his career with win over Diaz

malignaggi343By Chris Williams: Former International Boxing Federation light welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (27-3, 5 KO’s) may have rekindled his career with an impressive 12 round unanimous decision victory over former lightweight champion Juan Diaz on Saturday night at the UIC Pavilion, in Chicago, Illinois. Malignaggi, 29, dominated Diaz, beating him by the scores of 116-111, 116-111 and 116-111.

The lopsided scores don’t really do justice to how badly Malignaggi dominated Diaz on Saturday night, because the fight was never competitive in the least due to Malignaggi’s crafty hit and run style of fighting. This victory opens up potential big money fights against opponents like Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton and Timothy Bradley.

There’s no end in sight for the potential fights that Malignaggi may find himself in. Only a year ago, Malignaggi was totally dominated by Hatton in a fight in which Malignagi was taken out in the 11th round. At that point, it looked like Malignaggi’s days of being a contender were numbered. However, with his win over Diaz, things have brightened considerably for Malignaggi.

Four months ago, Paulie lost a controversial 12 round decision to Diaz in Houston, Texas. Malignaggi completely bitterly about the defeat long and hard, feeling that he wasn’t given a fair shake by the judging. Many boxing fans felt the same way and urged that a rematch take place outside of Texas. Thankfully, the two sides were able to line up a fight quickly enough for the bout to still have relevance. This time, there was no question that Malignaggi won the fight, as he landed at will against Diaz and was able to avoid most of Diaz’s attempts at landing his own shots.

Malignaggi moved in and out skillfully, getting in nice combinations and then backing away before Diaz could land any shots of his own. By the 10th rounds, Diaz was desperate and no longer showing any finesse at all as he charged forward. Late in the round, Diaz was dropped when he was hit with a cuffing right hand from Malignaggi.

Diaz was charging forward at the time like a little bull and was hit with a right hand from Malignaggi, causing Diaz’s left hand to scrape the canvas. Referee Genaro Rodriguez immediately scored it as a knockdown, even though it was pretty clear that Malignaggi had cuffed Diaz.

It didn’t matter. Diaz was going to lose the fight anyway, because he was out of his class in this fight. Diaz really needs to consider moving down in weight to the lightweight division. At only 5’6”, Diaz doesn’t have the size or the power to compete against the best light welterweights in the division. He needs to move down because the fighters get much bigger than Malignaggi as Diaz goes up the ladder in the division.

As for Malignaggi, he would be the perfect opponent for Khan to fight. There are rumors of Khan appearing on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao bout in March. Malignaggi would be ideal for Khan to show his stuff. It’s hard to pick who would win, but based on his better offensive skills, I would have to pick Khan.

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