Amir Khan completely dominated an overmatched Paulie Malignaggi for 11 rounds before referee referee Steve Smoger mercifully stopped the one-sided contest. Khan from Bolton, England looked every bit the part of a “future legend” as he clobbered the New Yorker repeatedly with an assortment of solid lefts and rights. Khan showed exceptional hand speed and punching technique which his bitter rival could not offset or adapt to. Though inferior to Khan in every department, Malignaggi – who never was able to get his jab to be an effective factor – battled on bravely and courageously, despite the pummeling and repeated New York Commission doctor visits to his corner after each of the later rounds. After the 10th, Malignaggi openly pleaded for the fight to continue, which the doctors permitted. Kermit Cintron, who was at ringside for this show, must have admired what he was seeing from the limited but remarkable Italian-American.
But the WBA Super Lightweight champion Khan (23-1, 17 KO’s) is a natural born beast in the ring who knows what to do when he senses blood in the water. For the first time in the fight Khan was able to pin Malignaggi on the ropes with a barrage of vicious punches. Smoger, an experienced and respected referee of many world title contests, also knew what he needed to do – halting it at 1:25 of the 11th. Khan was jubilant, Malignaggi obviously extremely dissappointed but he showed the class and respect to immediately reach out and graciously tap Khan for a job well done.
Paulie Malignaggi (27-4, 5 KO’s) never was the best but he is one of the most respected fighters I have ever encountered in this sport. Despite minimal punching power, Malignaggi has survived and succeeded in this dangerous trade by his wits, intelligence, determination and phenomenal boxing IQ. You will not find any man in this sport who can analyze, handicap and discuss styles and strategies better than Paulie can. And hopefully someday he will be able to transfer his boxing knowledge to a position as a TV commentator.
Khan was also gracious in victory and praised the man he beat. Though his supporters showed some poor sportsmanship here in New York this week – there were numerous scuffles in the crowd during the fight with several people thrown out by security – Khan showed he does not represent the kind of bad behavior. He spoke to HBO’s Max Kellerman with a polite and likeable personality and clearly has the charisma of a future superstar in our sport. Khan also included some bold words in his mesage to fans, which is sure to be appreciated, if he can back them up: “I’m not going to leave 140 until I unify the title.” With Devon Alexander, Marcos Maidana, Victor Ortiz and Tim Bradley standing in Khan’s way, this weight division promises to be very exciting for the next five years.
Observations: Bernard Hopkins, Brandon Jacobs, Ronnie Shields, Naazim Richardson, Celestino Caballero, Miguel Callist, Luis DeCubas, Steve Farhood were all at ringside. Lou DiBella’s heavyweight prospect Tor Hamer of New York lost a close split decision over six rounds to the Roy Jones Sr. trained Kelvin Price of Pensacola, FL…Victor Ortiz has added new dimensions to his skillset and boxed a masterful, matador-like, clear ten-round points win over Nate Campbell…Freddie Roach’s latest prospect Jamie Kavanaugh made his debut at 140 and stopped William Ware of Augusta, GA. Though the Dublin, Ireland former amateur star has skills and looks the part, his nickname choice of “The Nuisance” may need adjusting…A ringside rumor is that Haye is going to duck Wladimir Klitschko and Valuev is going to be lined up to replace the obviously scared WBA beltholder. But Klitschko mananger Shelly Finkel told me he is still hopeful that Haye will sign the contract…Guillermo Jones is training in Cleveland for his WBA Cruiserweight title defense which will be in Europe.
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