Malignaggi Gets Cotto Revenge (Sort Of) - Paulie Out-Points Jose Miguel In Style

By James Slater: “Magic Man” Paulie Malignaggi, now campaigning as a welterweight and promoted by Golden Boy, scored a decent points win last night in Las Vegas. Boxing on the Maidana-Morales under-card at The MGM Grand, the 30-year-old had the satisfaction of beating a fighter named Cotto. Beating the great Miguel Cotto’s brother via a wide ten-round UD, the Brooklyn man improved to 29-4(6) and perhaps set himself up for a title shot at 147.

Winning by lopsided scores of 99-91 twice and a too close 97-93, Malignaggi refused to lose to Jose Miguel Cotto, who was assisted in the corner by his world champion brother. The 33-year-old, less talented Cotto is now 32-3-1(24).

After a very good start by Cotto combined with a very bad, somewhat sloppy start by Malignaggi, the slick former IBF 140-pound champ got into his groove and outboxed the shorter, stocky Puerto Rican. A hard left hand to the head staggered Malignaggi in the 1st, and for a while it looked as though Cotto might be too powerful for the man who was out-pointed by Miguel Cotto in 2006. But Paulie got through the round, using his left jab to good effect and, after a close second round, he took Cotto to school.

As exciting a fight as he’s been involved in, at least recently, Malignaggi threw a lot of punches, most of them crisp and accurate, as he piled up points. There was a clash of heads in the 2nd-round, and Malignaggi came off worse when the two clashed heads again in the 5th, with the New Yorker emerging with a cut at the side of his left eye. The two bumped heads a few times last night and eventually Malignaggi was bleeding from both eyes. Fortunately, the damage was not severe enough to stop the entertaining fight.

Malignaggi’s left jab was rapier fast and spot on target at times and Cotto, though still pressing forward, could not cope with his rival’s hand speed.

“You’re boxing the shit out of him!” Malignaggis’s trainer Erik Brown told his charge between the sixth and seventh rounds. And he sure was. Easier to hit today he may be, but Malignaggi has a most reliable chin and whatever did get through from Cotto - the odd right hand, the occasional left hand to the head - was taken well.

The crowd was into the fight (whoever said Malignaggi was a boring fighter!?) and both guys had their support. Malignaggi was still pumping out a ton of shots in the late rounds, showing there is nothing wrong with his stamina up at welterweight. Cotto never gave up the chase, but his work lacked the desperation it needed. Way behind on points and surely knowing it, Cotto should have gone for broke.

Malignaggi coasted a little in the final round, knowing he had the win in the bag. Where the still-classy former titlist goes from here will be most interesting. Aside from the scare in the opener and other lapses in defence (maybe, as Sky commentator and former world champ Jim Watt alluded to, a sign Malignaggi’s reflexes are not what they once were?), “The Magic Man” was in complete control.

Could there be another belt added to Malignaggi’s trophy cabinet before his colourful career is over with?

In other action on the card:

Danny Garcia UD 10 Nate Campbell
Mikael Zewski SD 6 Clint Coronel
Rakhim Chakhkiev TKO 3 Harvey Jolly
Nobuhiro Ishida KO 1 James Kirkland
Robert Guerrero UD 12 Michael Katsidis

Article posted on 10.04.2011

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