Boxing


Paulie Malignaggi Vacates IBF Light-Welterweight Belt - Herman Ngoudjo And Juan Urango Will Fight For It!

by James Slater - As has been reported by a number of sources, Paulie Malignaggi has vacated his IBF light-welterweight crown because he is unable to grant Herman Ngoudjo, his mandatory challenger, a return fight. As we know, Malignaggi has his mega fight with Ricky Hatton to focus on, in a bout that will still settle the argument as to who the world's best 140-pounder is, and therefore cannot grant the 17-2(9) Ngoudjo a return of their January fight which "The Magic Man" won via a closer than expected decision..

Paulie MalignaggiNow, with the IBF strap vacant, Ngoudjo will face the always dangerous, and 20-1-1(16) Juan Urango at a date and venue still to be worked out. This should be a pretty good fight, but who will win?

27-year-old Urango, a former holder of the IBF belt who lost it on points to Ricky Hatton in January of 2007, is a very strong fighter. Never appearing to have been hurt in a fight, the heavily muscled southpaw is also capable of being a vicious puncher at times - as we saw in his last fight back in April of this year when the Colombian destroyed Carlos Wilfredo Vilches via a spectacular highlight reel KO. But going up against the slightly older Ngoudjo, Urango will be in tough.

"The Black Panther," who was born in Cameroon but now lives in Canada, is also a physically strong fighter, but he is arguably a much better boxer than the man known as "Iron Twin." Many people thought he perhaps deserved the decision in the Malignaggi fight, and in Ngoudjo's only other loss - also on points, to former lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo - Herman seemed unlucky not to have been given the victory. Taller than Urango and possessing a longer reach, Ngoudjo has a number of physical advantages. Indeed, apart from his general lack of punching power (only 9 KO's in 17 wins), Ngoudjo seemingly has all the necessary tools to prevail. But, as all fight fans know, the ability to at any time send a man down and out can often be the big equaliser in a fight. And Urango can certainly bang, to both head and body.

Ngoudjo showed once again how he can come through a tough fight last time out. In earning his IBF mandatory position with a points win over French man Souleymane M'baye in June, "The Black Panther" overcame a badly swollen eye. Capturing a hard-fought, but unanimous decision, the 29-year-old showed heart. Judging by the most recent performances of both men, however, Urango looks by far the more lethal fighter.

With his explosive hooks, excellent chin and great stamina, the Colombian danger man just might become a two-time holder of the IBF light-welterweight title when he and Ngoudjo tangle. But then again, a fighter as hardened and as proven as Ngoudjo can never be written off at all. And while Ngoudjo hasn't faced a southpaw since October of 2006, it's unlikely Urango's stance will prove troublesome. The Colombian is a lefty, but a more or less square on one.

This one is almost too close to pick. I go, slightly, for Urango. But a win the other way would be no surprise.

Article posted on 19.09.2008



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