By: Hans Themistode
Pound for pound lists are mostly subjective. Just about every fan of the pugilistic sport has their opinions on who are the best fighters in the world. While most of the names that occupy those lists are nearly the same, the top of said list tends to vary.
In the mind of Paulie Malignaggi, however, he believes the best fighter in the world resides in Omaha, Nebraska.
“My number one guy on the pound for pound list is Terence Crawford,” said Malignaggi on Paulie TV. “He’s a guy who can fight out of both stances very, very well. A very cerebral fighter, a very intelligent fighter. He relies on timing, picking his shots, it’s really hard to pick a mistake in his style. He’s got incredible, incredible boxing skills that will dazzle you.”
Crawford, 34, has often been lauded for overall skills in the ring. In addition to his ability to fight as both an orthodox and southpaw fighter, Crawford has grown in his ability to score concussive knockout victories.
During his dominant run at 140 pounds, Crawford violently stripped every world titlist of their championship status on his road to becoming undisputed. With nothing left to accomplish, Crawford opted to move up in weight and try his hand at the welterweight division. So far, Crawford has not only gone 6-0 during his welterweight venture but he’s also stopped every single 147 pounder he’s faced in the process.
Most recently, Crawford placed his WBO title on the line against arguably the most difficult opponent of his career in former two-time champion Shawn Porter. Heading into their November 20th showdown, which took place at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Malignaggi was intrigued with how things would ultimately play out.
Although Porter was confident in his ability to walk into the lion’s den against Crawford and emerge with his WBO trinket draped over his shoulder, the Omaha native scored the most impressive victory of his career. Early on, Crawford appeared to struggle with the rough and rugged style of Porter. Nonetheless, as time slowly ticked by, Crawford began adjusting to the former titlist. And, as a result, not only did Crawford register the stoppage victory in the 10th round but he also secured the number one ranking on Malignaggi’s pound-for-pound list as a result.
“I thought that was very, very impressive,” continued Malignaggi. “Porter specializes in making you look bad, especially when you have that pretty style. Porter just ruins that for you, absolutely ruins that. He really takes away your comfort zone in a vicious way, he’s got that mean streak in there.
“In the end, Crawford passed the fight, I wouldn’t say with flying colors. There were some moments where he was a little bit uncomfortable but hey man, this is world-class boxing. You’re not going to breeze through everybody. But nonetheless, he got a stoppage over Shawn Porter. He became the first guy to stop Shawn Porter. He’s the number one pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. It was a terrific win. For me, it cements him as the number one guy on the pound for pound list.”
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