Malignaggi evens the score vs. Diaz
Ringside by Jacob Chavez & Jason Ford
Photos by John Booz / Fightwireimages.com
The highly anticipated rematch between former three-time lightweight world champion Juan “The Baby Bull” Diaz (35-3-0, 17 KOs) and former junior welterweight world champion Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi (27-3-0, 5 KOs) were featured Saturday in Chicago at the UIC Pavilion. The fights were televised on HBO’s Boxing After Dark.
Their first encounter was in August and resulted in a controversial unanimous decision win for Diaz in his hometown, Houston. This time around, they did battle in neutral territory and Malignaggi boxed his way to a unanimous decision, snatching Diaz’ NABO junior welterweight title.
The action started early in the main event, as both Malignaggi and Diaz let their hands go early. Malignaggi pumped the jab repeatedly and looked to follow up with the left hook, while Diaz unloaded his assaults on the inside. Diaz looked uneasy and a bit overwhelmed with the tempo Malignaggi set. Nearing the end of the round, a resonating chant for “Paulie” prompted the “Magic Man” to raise his glove and acknowledge the crowd, but the Diaz followers followed suit with their own deafening cheers.
Malignaggi again looked to stick and move in the second, and show more activity. Diaz managed to pin Malignaggi against the ropes and connected with a good combination to the head and body. His success was short-lived when Malignaggi made him pay by landing his own volley to the head after spinning out of harm’s way. This resulted with a cut over the left eye of Diaz.
In round three Malignaggi continued to look sharp with his accurate combinations, but again, halfway through the round both fighters came together and traded violently, and this time Diaz landed the more damaging blows. When the action lulled both fighters nodded and acknowledged each others’ effectiveness.
Malignaggi was a bit more stationary in the fourth. This allowed for Diaz to have a good first half of the round, as he pumped a stiff jab repeatedly and followed up with combos to the body. Malignaggi, however, dazzled with his speedy flurries for the remainder of the round.
Round five saw incredible toe-to-toe action with Diaz connecting more effectively during the exchanges; the two came together and unloaded relentlessly. In a curious turn of events, Diaz started off the sixth as the counter puncher and tagged Malignaggi with two stiff right crosses early in the round. But Malignaggi came back, with a minute left, rocking Diaz as he ran into a right uppercut. Malignaggi then proceeded to taunt Diaz by holding his gloves behind his back, daring Diaz to throw a punch.
Malignaggi continued to box and use his range until Diaz pinned him against the ropes with a minute left in the eighth. With little options, Malignaggi traded with the “Baby Bull” and took the worse of the punishment. For most of round nine, Diaz tried to catch the slippery Malignaggi but this proved to be a difficult task, as he constantly ran into Malignaggi’s jab while in pursuit.
Midway into round ten, a questionable knockdown was called on Diaz by Referee Geno Rodriguez, as a right by Malignaggi, that had more of a pushing effect, made Diaz stumble, touching the canvas with his glove-Diaz immediately complained.
Malignaggi boxed and used the ring for most of the eleventh, in spite of Diaz’ perseverance with the strong jab. Diaz turned it up in round twelve and connected with a multitude of heavy blows to the head, prompting for the fans to get on their feet with exhilaration. During the final seconds, both fighters threw caution to the wind and punished each other in the center of the ring in thrilling fashion.
Malignaggi got the nod from all three judges with the exact scores, 116-111.
During the post-fight conference Malignaggi was in very good spirits, feeling vindicated from the loss to Diaz in August. He explained that he is a totally different fighter from that who lost to Ricky Hatton and with a new trainer, he hopes to move on to more big fights. The bull’s eye in his radar is none other than Hatton himself. Malignaggi feels so confident the he will “Dominate” the fight should they meet again that he went on to say that Hatton would probably prefer to keep that “Glossy TKO win on his record” than setting up a rematch. Another name that was mentioned was that of Juan Manuel Marquez, but Malignaggi’s hopes were soon crushed, as it was later announced that there was a verbal agreement for a fight between Hatton and Marquez in the near future.
Juan Diaz could not attend the conference due to the deep cut over his eye that required medical attention, but he sent quotes that went on to state that he felt sluggish and did not perform his best.
– Jacob Chavez
Ortiz stops Diaz
In the co-main event, welterweight “Vicious” Victor Ortiz (25-2-1, 20 KOs) got back in the winning column after suffering a devastating knockout loss to Marcos Maidana in June. His opponent was former world title challenger, Antonio Diaz (46-6-1, 29 KOs).
Ortiz got back to his more disciplined ways, as he punished the veteran for seven rounds and drove Diaz’ corner to stop the fight after the sixth round.
The left-handed Ortiz started off with footwork and lateral movement, along with a pawing jab. The veteran in Diaz effectively cut off the ring and established the range. A minute into the opening round and after a brief feeling out process, Diaz connected with a good left-cross upstairs. In the second half of the stanza Ortiz again resorted to slick footwork, becoming more elusive.
In round two, Diaz continued to press the action while Ortiz looked to box. Shortly after Diaz tried to rough-up the young prospect, Ortiz slipped out of the pocket landed a big flurry to the head.
Round three saw a more disciplined Ortiz using the ring and picking his punches, but Diaz caught him with a big right to the head after shortening the distance. Ortiz immediately retaliated and dropped him with a stinging left. Diaz got up, and despite being hurt, managed to finish off the round.
In round four Diaz resumed in pressing the action, perhaps realizing that he had little chance of winning a boxing match against the younger and faster prospect. Ortiz continued to show good patience, not succumbing to the temptation of trading heavy blows.
Round five saw more walking forward by Diaz, as he looked to taking advantage of Ortiz’ habit of pulling straight back with his head high after an exchange. Ortiz remained poised and countered effectively. In the last minute of the round, Diaz was cut by a quick combination over the left eye.
After receiving more punishment in round six and almost going down courtesy of another damaging right to the head, Diaz’ corner elected to stop the fight before the start of the seventh. The official time was :01 of round 7.
At the postfight press conference, Ortiz was extremely respectful of Diaz and his camp. He explained of how Diaz was his idol when he was younger and never expected they would fight each other. He credited is victory to self-control in the ring and discipline, saying “I simply went back to boxing and moving.”
Ortiz went on to say that he has nothing but high hopes to move in the sport and that his dedication to his training curriculum allows for him to perform at his best. He also cracked about how some fighters gain so much weight when not in training or after they retire, referring to former world champion Fernando Vargas and his significant weight increase since hanging up the gloves.
Diaz went on to say that Ortiz fought the right fight against him, but that this by no means indicates that his career is over, “For sure I will be back, and you will see me again.” – Jacob Chavez
Lara decisions Perez
In a ten round middleweight bout, Erislandy Lara (9-0-0, 5 KOs) took on local brawler, Luciano Perez (17-10-1, 15 KOs).
From the start, the left-handed Lara controlled the action and connected with power punches constantly. He made sure to keep good distance and managed to rock Perez twice in the opening round. To his credit, the gutsy Mexican in Perez, closed the gap in the last 30 seconds of the round and effectively punished Lara’s body. Lara stalked his opponent in the second and patiently picked his punches, walking Perez down and working the body.
Rounds four and five saw similar action with Lara landing the more effective and accurate blows, but Perez took the punches as well as he could and managed to pound the body with more heavy blows. As the fight progressed, Perez managed to keep better distance when being pursued and afforded himself more opportunities to connect to the body. The crafty Lara, however, continued to systematically pick apart Perez one quick combination at a time. By round nine, Perez had little sting on his punches and his face was a battered mess. He pressed on despite the fatigue and managed to see the end of the fight. The judges scored it 100-90and 99-91 twice. – Jacob Chavez
In an eight-round match up, 2004 Olympian Argenis Mendez (15-1-0, 9 KOs) dominated the action against a very game Morris Chule (7-8-1, 7 KOs) of the junior lightweight division.
There was a tactical start to this fight but both combatants opened up with about a minute in. Mendez pressed forward with quick combinations to the head and body. Chule looked to counter but the short and fast combinations by Mendez proved to be a significant factor. Chule made some adjustments in rounds two and three, becoming more illusive and luring Mendez into trading. In round four, both fighters came together and traded in terrific fashion, but it was Mendez’ focus to the body that made all the difference. Chule came out attacking in the fifth and had some success, but the punishing combinations by Mendez resumed, making it a competitive round.
As the fight progressed the pace slowed and became more tactical, but in the eighth and final round, both fighters opened up and unloaded with heavy shots. Midway into the stanza, Chule was rocked and was taking the worse of the punishment. In the end, all judges scored the fight for Mendez, 78-74, and 80-72 twice. – Jacob Chavez
Herrera makes quick work of Palacios
Welterweight Jimmy Herrera (1-0-0, 1 KO) made quick work of journeyman Gustavo Palacios (2-7-, 1 KO) in his pro-debut, knocking him out seconds after the bout began. They both came out aggressive but a big right uppercut stunned Palacios during an exchange and he was finished off by a left hook upstairs. He got up in very bad shape and referee John O’Brien then stopped the fight. The time was :28 seconds of round one. – Jacob Chavez
Williams decisions Tapia
Junior welterweight Hylon Williams (12-0-0, 3 KOs) coasted to a unanimous decision victory against Humberto Tapia (14-12-1, 7 KOs). This was an action-packed fight, as they traded big shots often and when toe-to-toe on numerous occasions. Williams’ speed and accuracy proved too much for Tapia. All three judges scored it the same, 80-72. - Jason Ford
Bailey decisions Sanders
Welterweight Randall Bailey (40-7, 35 KOs) scored a dominant eight round unanimous decision over Germaine Sanders (27-8, 17 KOs). The former two-time world champion had Sanders down three times. They started off with a feeling out process but Bailey landed the cleaner shots when they opened up. In round one a hard right dropped Sanders, and he bravely survived the round. Sanders went on to suffer multiple knockdowns in rounds two and seven. To his credit, he made it to the final bell. The judges scored the fight 78-71, 79-70, 77-72, all for Bailey. - Jason Ford
Charlo KOs Lozano
Welterweight Jermell Charlo (10-0-0, 5 KOs) scored a devastating knockout against previously unbeaten Abdon Lozano (6-1-0, 1 KO) in round two. Lozano suffered a flash knockdown in the opening round, but tried to gather his wits. It was to no avail, as Charlo pounced on him and punished him until the sound of the bell. The end came for Lozano after a hard combination to the head put him away for good. The time was 2:11 of round two. - Jason Ford
Hearns punishes Kipruto
Junior middleweight Ronald Hearns (23-1-0, 17 KOs) punished Shadrack Kipruto (10-11-0, 7 KOs) for nearly six rounds before scoring a TKO win. Hearns had his way with Kipruto throughout the entire match. Kipruto was very game but had little answers for the crafty prospect. Kipruto was rocked badly in the second and hung in the fight until a straight right upstairs ended his night. The official time was 2:33 of round six. - Jason Ford
Figueroa TKOs Woods
Junior welterweight Omar Figueroa (8-0-0, 8 KOs) put the hurt on Anthony Woods (6-13-0, 3 KOs) by scoring a TKO win in round two. Figueroa started landing damaging blows from the opening bell. He targeted the body and completely overwhelmed Woods with pressure. The stoppage came at 1:46 of the second stanza, when Figueroa pummeled the body one last time and finished off with multiple rights to the head, hurting Davis badly. - Jason Ford
Guinn controls Davis
Heavyweight veteran Dominick Guinn controlled (32-6-1, 21 KOs) the action throughout against journeyman Charles Davis (19-18-2, 4 KOs) by using a stiff jab and keeping Davis off his rhythm. Neither fighter went down and it appeared during the second half of the fight that Davis was content to survive and make it to the final bell. All three judges scored it for Guinn, 60-54 and 58-56 twice. - Jason Ford
Agha beats Adams
Heavyweight Darlington Agha (2-0-0, 2 KOs) easily beat Terry Adams (0-2-0) after beating with hard combinations in the first round. Before the second could commence, it was announced that Adams could not continue. The official time of the stoppage was :01 of round two. - Jason Ford