By Allan Fox: WBA World welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KO’s) will be defending his title against a light welterweight instead of a welterweight in facing 22-year-old Pablo Cesar Cano (25-1-1, 19 KO’s) on October 20th at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, New York. Cano is moving up in weight to take the fight, but it’s no a big deal because Malignaggi isn’t really a welterweight anyway.
Malignaggi’s a light hitting light welterweight that moved up in weight to look for paydays. Malignaggi, 31, fought three weak 2nd tier welterweights before landing a shot against the WBA welterweight champion Vyacheslav Senchenko last April.
Senchenko was little more than a paper champion and it was easy for Malignaggi to big up an easy title at welterweight despite not having the size or the power for this weight class. It was perfect matchmaking to get Malignaggi to the point where he was able to win the title, because if he had to fight a quality welterweight like Andre Berto, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Devon Alexander or Manny Pacquiao, Malignaggi surely would have lost and badly.
Cano has a real chance against Malignaggi but definitely not against the better welterweights in the division. Malignaggi is vulnerable, even against a young an inexperienced fighter like Cano. However, for Cano to win this fight he’s going to have to try and block some punches and stay out of the way of Malignaggi’s jabs. Cano doesn’t have the skin to take a lot of shots to the face. We saw that in Cano’s 10th round stoppage loss to Erik Morales last year in September. Cano suffered severe swelling around both eyes, a bloody nose and really but cuts.
The thing is all Morales had to do was land jabs to the face of Cano and he had him looking like a mess by the 7th. This won’t be lost on Malignaggi. He’ll have seen the Cano-Morales fight and will focus his shots at the face of Cano to make sure he busts him up. However, if Cano’s face holds together in this fight then I see him giving Malignaggi a real beating even if he still loses. Cano will punish Malignaggi and make him realize he was in a fight. I’m sure Golden Boy was thinking of protecting Malignaggi when they chose a light welterweight to fight him in Cano, but I still think Malignaggi will take a great deal of punishment in this fight regardless and he could lose if Cano doesn’t swell up like he did against Morales.