By Tom Donelson (BWAA) Member of Boxing Writers Association of America and has contributed to dmboxing.com since 2008
Danny Garcia faced the veteran Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi, who has spent as much as time behind mike as he has in the ring in the last few years. Malignaggi biggest advantage going against the heavy favorite Garcia was his boxing skills but at 34, how much did he have left?
The first fight featured Danny “The Miracle Man” Jacobs facing the veteran Sergio Mora for Jacobs’ WBA Middleweight title. Mora was the winner of the first ESPN “The Contender Series” and won a share of the junior Middleweight title in 2008.
The opening round saw Jacobs be the aggressors and within the first minute of the half sent Mora down with a big right. Jacobs continued his attack before he ran into a Mora’s left hook that sent him down. For the last thirty seconds, Jacobs attacked but he was getting countered by Mora and still looked shaky as the round ended.
Jacobs’ corner advice Jacobs to break Mora down and his carelessness led to his knockdown. Jacobs moved forward and started land some body shots as he forced Mora to retreat. In the last thirty seconds, Jacobs landed a couple of body shots and Mora’s knee and ankle collapsed under the weight of the knockdown. Mora heard his knee popped and may have broken his ankle, thus he couldn’t continue. This was the first time that Mora was stopped in his career but the stoppage was due to his injuries as oppose to Jacobs’ power.
The opening round was your classic feeling out round, in particular for Danny Garcia who seemed willing to see what Malignaggi had left after a long layover and a knockout loss to Shawn Porter. Garcia landed a left hook to the body at end of the round for his most significant punch of the round that included two big Garcia’s right hands.
Throughout the second round, Malignaggi used his legs and jabs plus an occasional in and out combinations while Garcia simply took his time to walk down Malignaggi.
As the fourth round wound down, Malignaggi went back to his corner with a bleeding right eye, due to a punch in the previous round and over the previous six minutes, he had trouble keeping Garcia off him as Garcia closed the distance.
Throughout the fifth and sixth round, Garcia applied the pressure while Malignaggi retreated and looked for angles to counter. Over the first half of the bout, I had Garcia ahead 59 to 55 but Malignaggi occasionally forced Garcia to miss. Garcia out connected and out punched the Magic man through the first half of the bout but neither fighter connected on more than 25% of their punches.
Throughout the seventh round, Malignaggi continued to pot shot and look for angles to out maneuver his younger opponent but Garcia appeared not to be bothered by Malignaggi’s power but then, Malignaggi never was a fighter who could depend upon stopping his opponent to win fights.
The eighth round saw Garcia pound Malignaggi and while Malignaggi tried to counter but it was obvious that he didn’t have the firepower to stop Garcia. Before the start of the ninth round, the referee evaluated Malignaggi as his right eye and cheek bone underneath it were swollen. The referee was clear that he was not going to allow Malignaggi take more punishment. Garcia jumped on his opponent and pursued Malignaggi with thundering combinations. A right hand sent Malignaggi reeling into the ropes and as he staggered across the ring. Garcia unleashed a right hand on Malignaggi’s face and the referee stopped the fight. Malignaggi didn’t complain and this merely reinforced the referee’s decision.
Garcia provided a workman like performance as he did what he needed against a veteran who could avoid getting it and proved in his career to be a tough competitor. Malignaggi couldn’t keep Garcia off and at 34, he showed heart but he also showed that he is no longer an elite fighter who can fight the top fighters at the welterweight division. It is time for Malignaggi to say good-bye to the sport inside the ring and concentrate on his broadcasting career which he shows potential.