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Malignaggi vs. Humberto Soto possible

Humberto Soto Paulie MalignaggiBy Dan Ambrose: WBA World welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi’s team was unable to work out a fight with #1 WBA Diego Chavez. Instead, we could see Malignaggi defending his title next against non-top 15 ranked Humberto Soto (60-8-2, 34 KO’s). The World Boxing Association would have to approve the fight because the 32-year-old Soto isn’t ranked in the welterweight division. He’s #6 WBC at 140.

Malignaggi has defended his WBA title once, beating fringe contender Pablo Cano by a controversial 12 round split decision last October. Malignaggi was hoping to get a big fight against Ricky Hatton, but he lost to Vyacheslav Senchenko. Malignaggi was then hoping to fight 41-year-old Shane Mosley, but that fight failed to happen for a variety of reasons. Then the WBA ordered Malignaggi to face Chavez, but now that fight also won’t he happening.

This actually works out well for Malignaggi because Soto is arguably a step down from Chavez, and a much more winnable fight for the light hitting Malignaggi. Soto was knocked out last year by Lucas Matthysse last June by a 5th round stoppage. Soto has won two fights since then, beating Jose Lopez and Silverio Ortiz.

He’s not fought anyone that you can call good, and it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t have the body to be fighting at 140. But if Soto get the fight with Malignaggi, he’ll have to move up to 147, and he’ll likely be even worse off than he’s been at 140.

Malignaggi isn’t going to stay champion very much longer. He’ll be champion until he faces someone of quality Keith Thurman #4 WBA or #2 WBA Marcos Maidana. It’ll be interesting to see if the WBA lets Malignaggi fight Soto rather than insisting he fight a high ranked welterweight. If they’re going to allow Malignaggi to fight guys from the light welterweight division or fringe contenders for each of his title defenses, then he’s going to remain the WBA champion a long time.


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