Boxing


Holt-Bradley Tonight On Showtime, Who Wins? Paulie Malignaggi Says It Will Be Holt Close

by James Slater - In a recent on-line poll conducted by Showtime, in which around 40 boxing writers, commentators and other so-called "experts" were asked their opinion on tonight's light-welterweight unification clash between WBC 140-pound champ Tim Bradley and his WBO counterpart Kendal Holt, an overwhelming majority picked "Desert Storm" to win. Most picked Bradley to prevail in a close fight and get the points win over "Rated R.."

This writer participated in the poll, also picking Bradley to win on points. However, one man whose opinion may actually be worth far more than anyone else who has been asked to pick a winner from tonight's fight picks Holt. Going against the grain is Paulie Malignaggi, the former IBF ruler of the weight class tonight's intriguing battle will rage in.

Speaking to NorthJersey.com, "The Magic Man" gave his reasons for picking Holt to get the job done in Canada tonight.

"This is a pick 'em fight on paper, but I pick Kendall to win in a good fight where I see some momentum changes happening," Malignaggi said. "Kendall is very good at using his height, and making you respect that. That's why I pick Kendall by a close [unanimous decision], probably. I see it like 115-113 for Kendall, 116-112 at the most."

And Malignaggi, who returns to action in an eight-rounder in April, when he boxes the little known Christopher Fernandez, 16-6-1(9) on the Carl Froch-Jermain Taylor bill in Connecticut, says he does not pick Holt simply because he knows him personally.

"I'm picking Kendall even though he picked me to lose against [Ricky] Hatton," Malignaggi said. "But guess what? I probably would have picked me to lose against Hatton, too. The way I was looking going into that fight. So I don't blame him. And I'm not picking Kendall to win because I know him. If I didn't know these guys from a hole in the wall, I'd pick Kendall to win this fight."

Malignaggi, though he is picking Holt to win tonight, says he wouldn't be shocked if his forecast proved to be wrong.

"If Tim Bradley wins it, I wouldn't be shocked. It's that close of a fight, but Kendall has been more battle-tested. If Kendall really starts to take the lead in the fight, starts to take the momentum away from Bradley, Tim Bradley is going to be in a place he's never been before, and that's behind on the scorecards midway though a fight. When a guy is undefeated and all of a sudden he's behind, a lot of times he starts to panic.

"The worst thing you can do when you fight Kendall Holt is panic because he'll walk you into something you'll never see, and then it's 'Good Night!'"

A KO, either way tonight, would be a major shock. Malignaggi makes some good points regarding a Holt win, though. Holt is the more experienced fighter and he can sure be dangerous, as he showed in his unforgettable one-round win over Ricardo Torres. Considering all this, I still pick Bradley to edge it on points.

Who knows, maybe if he can get a few comeback wins under his belt and get the real hunger back, Paulie Malignaggi might be one day challenging tonight's winner. Even if this does not turn out to be the case, Paulie, like the rest of us, is sure to be a very interested observer of tonight's fight.

Article posted on 03.04.2009



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