Khan conquers Malignaggi!
Ringside by Matt Richardson & Kurt Wolfheimer
Photography by Marty Rosengarten / RingsidePhotos.com
Once the trash talking was done and the stare-downs were complete, it came time to fight.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a fight.
It was more like a beat down.
In a dominating U.S. debut in front of 4,412 vocal fans, WBA junior welterweight title-holder Amir Khan (23-1, 17 KOs) demolished former title-holder Paulie Malignaggi; winning every round of their fight in lopsided fashion before referee Steve Smoger mercifully called a halt one minute and 25 seconds into the 11th round. The fight was the main event of a card held at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. HBO televised the bout as the headliner of a “Boxing after Dark” card.
Simply put, Khan’s debut was a raging success.
He looked much bigger than Malignaggi and had his way in every round.
He was sharp, powerful and in command.
Malignaggi (27-4, 5 KOs) tried early on but - perhaps due to frustration - he seemed to go into survival mode by the mid-point of the bout. By the time the contest ended, Malignaggi was a beaten, bruised mess. It was a culmination of eleven rounds of taking punishment.
Many ringside observers felt the fight could have and should have been stopped earlier.
Prior to the fight Malignaggi had given much credit to new trainer Sharif Younan for getting him back to basics in terms of his fighting ability. But Younan let Malignaggi take way too much punishment for his own good and likely should have showed more compassion than he did.
After all, the fight wasn’t even competitive.
The opening round started with some furious exchanges that had the lively crowd yelling and screaming.
Khan landed some rights in a clinch as Paulie banged to the body and head. Both guys exchanged rights but by the end of the round a red mark appeared on the left side of Malignaggi’s face.
Khan scored with a solid left-right combo in the second as he began to catch Malignaggi with the more powerful, effective punches. The pace slowed slightly in the third with neither guy getting off as many clean shots as they had in the previous two rounds but Malignaggi got rocked with a hard right in the fourth. He shook it off well. Another hard right in the corner seemed to buckle Malignaggi temporarily.
Paulie went down on a slip in the fifth that sent the crowd wild. A left hook by Khan also seemed to do damage. By the sixth, Paulie was being dominated. The pace continued in the seventh and eighth with Khan pursuing and scoring with big rights. Khan landed a good left uppercut in the ninth that snapped Malignaggi’s head back violently.
Malignaggi continued to get slammed in the tenth, prompting Smoger to ask the ringside physician to come up to examine him prior to the penultimate round. The doctor looked like he didn’t want Malignaggi to come out for the eleventh but the fighter pleaded for one more round.
The action continued but it wouldn’t last two more minutes though.
Where both men go from here, who knows?
Khan, with the expert guidance of trainer Freddie Roach and the powerful promotional backing of Golden Boy, could see his star continue to grow with numerous opportunities in the talent-laden 140-pound division. Malignaggi, meanwhile, took a lot of punishment and should take a nice, long break before deciding where he wants to go with his career. Perhaps a clash with the winner of the proposed Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz rematch makes sense after Malignaggi recovers from his battle wounds.---Matt Richardson
ORTIZ OUTBOXES CAMPBELL
The co-feature of the evening was a significant 10 round super lightweight cross roads bout as former unified lightweight world champion, Nate “The Galaxy Warrior” Campbell squared off against the hard punching “Vicious” Victor Ortiz.
Campbell, at the age of thirty seven, looked to rebound from a recent junior welterweight title challenge against Timothy Bradley, which was stopped on cuts. It was originally ruled a TKO for the champ, but later ruled a no contest by the California State Athletic Commission because the cut was caused by a head butt. A win over the heavy handed Ortiz would once again put Nate back in the mix again for one more run at a world championship.
The twenty-three year old California super lightweight sensation “Vicious” Victor Ortiz also had something to prove as he continued to rebound from his sixth round TKO loss on June 29th 2009 to another heavy handed fighter Marcos Maidana in a failed attempt to capture the interim WBA junior welterweight title. Victor has since bounced back with two straight stoppages against veterans Antonio Diaz and Hector Alatorre. Ortiz, ranked second by the WBA, fifth by the WBO and sixth by the IBF knew a win over former unified world lightweight champ on HBO’s Boxing after dark series could catapult him into another world title shot.
Each fighter knew of the significance of the fight and started carefully. Ortiz slid around the ring and boxed from the outside as Campbell pressed forward with body shots when on the inside. Late in the opening round Ortiz started to set down on his punches to keep the distance. The round was close until an Ortiz right hand on the ear, which also on the follow through seemed to really push Campbell off balance. Nate’s gloved touched the canvas and was subsequently ruled a knockdown by referee Earle Brown as the round came to a close.
Ortiz immediately set down on his punches early in round two with a couple blistering combinations. Campbell covered well and returned fire with two right hands underneath, which forced Ortiz to resort to boxing on the outside.
The movement by Ortiz began to frustrate the thirty seven year old in rounds three and four, who could not cut off the ring and his punch count dropped significantly. Late in round four Campbell forced his opponent to his left and towards his power, but even then, Ortiz was in control with his superior hand speed.
Rounds five and six were more of the same as Ortiz widened the lead, boxing from the outside and catching “The Galaxy Warrior” coming in, with combinations and lead rights. Campbell did uncork a couple overhand rights up top, but Ortiz was on his game and boxed his way out of any possible trouble.
Ortiz looked to recharge his battery in the seventh and went on the bicycle. Campbell tried to get him to change his tactics and backed up, hoping that Victor would think he was tired and lunge in, but it was to no avail. Ortiz knew he was ahead on the scorecards and continued to stay on the outside behind sharp jabs and lead lefts, so Campbell was forced to vainly pursue him around the ring.
The heavy handed Ortiz seemed to tire in the eighth and ninth round, but Campbell looked all the part of the aged warrior and just couldn’t let his hands go enough to turn the tide.
The corner of Ortiz felt that Campbell would let it all go in the tenth and final round and urged him to play it safe. Campbell pressed forward, but Ortiz snapped jabs a short two punch combinations from the outside and his defense stayed tight, which allowed him to stay out of danger right until the final bell.
There was little question as to who was the winner as Ortiz easily captured the unanimous decision victory by scores of 100-89 x 2 and 99-99 respectively. The victory upped Victor Ortiz to 27-2-1, 21KO’s while Nate Campbell falls to 33-6-1, 25KO’s.
Though it wasn’t the knockout victory which Ortiz fans have become accustomed to, it was big step up in competition which puts him right in the mix with the top super lightweights and in line for another world title shot. Could Ortiz versus Khan be next? -Kurt Wolfheimer
JACOBS DESTROYS ASTORGA!
Unbeaten middleweight contender Danny Jacobs continued to run through the lower echelon of the middleweight division when he stopped Juan Astorga in the second round of a scheduled ten. Jacobs is considered to be a hot commodity in the division and with Golden Boy as his promoter is all but guaranteed big opportunities in the near future. He’s a talented fighter, although you could barely tell from his short time inside the ring.
Astorga was down three times in the opening stanza, although only the first two knockdowns were officially called. A body shot dropped Astorga and he was dropped again shortly afterwards after taking a right in the corner. It looked like he went down yet again in the final seconds of the round but referee Steve Willis didn’t call it.
Jacobs picked up right where he left off at the start of the second, dropping Astorga twice more with body shots. Willis called a halt with Astorga on a knee after the second knockdown, the fourth of the fight. Time of the stoppage was 51 seconds of the round.
Jacobs is now 20-0 with 16 KOs; Astorga is 14-5-1 with 9 KOs.---Matt Richardson
DAVIS GIVES HAMER 1st LOSS!
In an entertaining contest between two unbeaten American heavyweights, Kelvin Davis won an upset six-round decision over local product Tor Hamer. Judges scores were 58-55 (twice) for Davis and 57-56 for Hamer. It was a close, competitive fight in which both men had their moments.
Hamer appeared to slip in the second round but referee Benji Esteves called it a knockdown. Even if the knockdown wasn’t scored, the score discrepancy was too significant and Hamer still would have lost on the cards.
Price now jumps up to 7-0 with 4 KOs. Hamer gets his first blemish for an overall ledger of 11-1 with 8 KOs.---Matt Richardson
PRESCOTT STOPS DAVIS
In a scheduled eight-round welterweight bout, former “Khanqueror” Breidis Prescott won his first fight after dropping two straight when he stopped Jason Davis in the third round. Prescott was put on the card solely for psychological intimidation as he was the first man to beat Amir Khan (hence the moniker) when he demolished the Brit inside one round in 2008.
Prescott (22-2, 19 KOs) had only gone 1-2 since, however.
He got back to the winning side against Davis (11-7-1, 3 KOs) though. Prescott swept the first two rounds before dropping Davis with a shot to the left side of the body in the third. Davis rose but was soon on the canvas again after absorbing the same punch in the same spot. The fight was called off without a count at 1:11 of the round.---Matt Richardson
KAVANAGH OUTGUNS WARE
Seven time national Irish champion Jamie Kavanagh (1-0) made quick work of game but outgunned William Ware 1-3, 1KO) in his professional debut, dropping him three times en-route to a second round stoppage.
Kavanagh who owned an impressive amateur record of 168-12, looked at ease in the opening round, landing jabs and right hands. Ware just had no match for his hand speed and was sent to from a left right up top which was followed with a rugged body shot. Ware was able to get up and survive the round, but it was to no avail as just moments into the second round, he was floored again with a big flurry of shots. William rose for the second time, but a short left to the liver sent him back to the canvas. Ware immediately rose again but Referee Sparkle Lee had seen enough and called the fight at the 1:39 mark of the second round. - Kurt Wolfheimer
DOUGLIN REMAINS UNDEFEATED
In the opening six round bout of the evening, middleweight prospect Dennis “Momma’s Boy” Douglin raised his record to a perfect 9-0, 5KO’s with an impressive second round stoppage of wily veteran Joshua “Poison” Onyango (13-19-1, 11KO’s).
Onyango, entered the ring as an experienced veteran, who had been in with some of the best middleweights and owned a victory over junior middleweight contender Gabriel Rosado. He used this experience to confidently walk in and bang right from the opening bell with heavy shots and a wide one two combination. Douglin covered and weathered the flurry. Just moments later Momma’s boy went on the attack wobbled Onyango with a left on the button. He recovered quickly but was wobbled again with a short left on the inside near the end of the opening round. Douglin’s hand speed was just too much and you could clearly see Onyango wearing down from his pressure as the round came to a close.
Onyango changed tactics and went straight at Dennis with a big flurry but was put on his back from a picture perfect straight left. Joshua rose to his feet and fought back, but just moments later he was sent back to the canvas with a right hook on the chin. Referee Sparkle Lee had seen enough and called a halt to the bout at 1:10 mark of the second round.-Kurt Wolfheimer