Brooklyn’s Malignaggi Defends Home Turf

(Photo: Al Bello, Getty Images for Golden Boy Prom)
By: Gordie Tamayo
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When it was announced that boxing was returning to Brooklyn and Golden Boy’s Paulie Malignaggi had the opportunity to fight in front of his hometown, it appeared as if the stars had been aligned just for his homecoming.

Resurrecting his career after traveling overseas to challenge Vyacheslav Senchenko and coming back with the WBA welterweight title, Malignaggi was the perfect poster child for boxing’s grand entrance to Brooklyn. Known for his fast hands in the ring, Malignaggi was pitted against the opposite in the slower yet harder hitting Pablo Cesar Cano.
Cano, most notably known for his spirited defeat against Erik Morales, was forcasted on most pre-fight reports to lose a landslide decision to Malignaggi however come fight time that could not have been more incorrect. Although Malignaggi was clearly the faster of the two, Cano proved to be a worthy challenger catching Malignaggi with calculated counters to the body while working an impressive stiff jab.
In round two a cut above Cano’s left eye developed and Malignaggi saw a perfect opportunity to pepper Cano on the left eye causing the gash to open even more. Cano’s corner seemed to do little about the cut and Cano bit down and continued his forward assault against the champion. For many watching the bout was very close with rounds that could have been scored either way.
As the 11th round was under way, Malignaggi was dropped by a right hand set up through a double jab. The champion made it through the round on unsteady legs and it made the decision appear that much closer. The final round was played relatively safe by both fighters and could have been the deciding factor. The bout proved to answer questions about the up and coming Cano and leave a few more open for the veteran Malignaggi. The bout was scored 118-109 Cano, 114-113 Malignaggi, 114-113 Malignaggi. Malignaggi retains his belt as he was going to either way and now waits on the outcome of Ricky Hatton’s comeback fight November 24 against the man whom Malignaggi won the belt from, Vyacheslav Senchenko.
Should Ricky Hatton resurrect with traces of his former self, it could pose to be a repeat of their first encounter should Malignaggi not adjust and find remnants of his own former self. Although it was not the performance the champion expected, he put on an entertaining performance in front of his home town crowd which may have been even more important than a one sided victory.

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