to hand out a masterclass?
By Stuart Young -
May 13, 2010
Amir Khan (W22 L1 18 KO's) makes his American debut
this Saturday night, May 15th, at the Mecca of
Madison Square Garden, where he headlines &
hopes to make the second successful defence of his
WBA light welterweight crown he won when
convincingly outpointing tough Ukrainian Andriy
Kotelnik back in July of last year.
Standing across the ring in local & familiar
surroundings his opponent will be looking to derail
the Khan express train & win himself a second world
title to propel himself back to boxing's big time is
former IBF light welterweight champion, New York's
very own Paulie Malignaggi (W27 L3 5 KO's).
Now both the introductions & pleasantries are over,
it's time to get down to business.
Call me cynical if you will, but if YOU were Khan's
promoter or manager & was asked to draw up a
prototype of the perfect fighter for your new cash
cow to formally announce himself to America's boxing
establishment Live on a primetime HBO viewing slot,
then you would probably end up constructing a
fighter very much in the ilk of Paulie Malignaggi.
As it happens, nature has already dealt us that
hand, so you don't need to bother.
Let me elaborate further as to why I view Paulie
Malignaggi as such an ideal opponent:-
1) He's American - check!
2) He's well known to the New York (MSG) fight
fraternity - check!
3) He carries so little power that he would struggle
to break an egg - check!
4) He talks a good game & so can help promote & sell
the fight - check!
5) He's pretty durable, so he should at least be
capable of going a few rounds - check!
6) He possesses nowhere near the speed of Amir Khan
7) Or indeed the boxing ability - check!
8) He has a tendency to drop his hands frequently in
bouts, at times virtually offering no defence -
9) He has no right hand, or at least refuses to
throw it anywhere near often enough to be a genuine
threat - check!
10) He likes to attack, despite his lack of power,
which makes for an open fight which in turn, will
enable the quicker, younger & more agile Khan to
tattoo Malignaggi's face with hooks, counters &
combinations for however long the bout lasts -
Oh - I almost forgot to mention that Malignaggi is
best known on this side of the pond (Britain) for
being completely schooled by an arguably shot
version of that well known boxing 'slickster'
Ricky Hatton - check! (Never though I'd put
them words in the same sentence)
Well, there you have it, congratulations must go to
Freddie Roach &
Goldenboy Promotions on a wonderful piece of
boxing matchmaking, what isn't so commendable is the
fact most fans prefer to actually watch competitive
Talk of Khan's fragile chin has been well documented
so I'm not going to go over old ground here & repeat
what most readers already know, although admittedly
this is the single area of Paulie Malignaggi's game
where he's vastly superior to Amir Khan,
unfortunately for Malignaggi with his lack of
punching power this will only help in
prolonging the severity of the beating he will
undoubtedly take between those famous old ropes come
Without getting too 'deep' on a boxing website &
risking sounding like an amateur psychologist, I
believe Malignaggi already has the mindset/mentality
of a 'opponent' rather than that of a champion.
Always the bridesmaid & never the bride, Malignaggi
is basically there to make up the numbers this
Saturday night, the part he has been chosen to play
is one of chief support in making sure Khan looks a
million dollars to the American press section & his
new paymasters at Goldenboy Promotions.
Malignaggi, at best is nothing more than gatekeeper
for the division & certainly a lies few notches
below the elite world class operators.
For all his brash talk this week you have to
question whether HE actually believes half of what
Does he truly believe he can win this fight?
Or is he trying his best to convince himself he
belongs at this level?
We will find out soon enough, but I suspect, deep
down he already knows the answer to both these
questions. Could this be the reason why he got
absolutely beaten to a swollen & bloody pulp by
Miguel Cotto or froze like a dear in
headlights when meekly surrendering a 'golden
ticket' opportunity against a faded Ricky Hatton?
The truth of the matter is, Malignaggi is an
extremely brave fighter but ultimately flawed &
limited at holding his own in this kind of
Could anyone hand on heart honestly see him winning
a bout against Timothy Bradley or Devon Alexander?
Or maybe a Ortiz or Maidana? I'd go even further &
say he would be up to his neck in the brown stuff
competing with fighters such as Holt, Campbell,
Witter, Kotelnik, Peterson, McCloskey &
Khan is rightly the heavy betting favourite for this
bout & I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if
Khan were to pitch a complete shut out come fight
night & win every round on the judges scorecards -
presuming Malignaggi manages to last that far of
In fact, to go out on a limb even further, I could
see a scenario where Khan could win every minute of
every round. Khan has it within himself if he brings
his A-game to achieve such a feat & turn Paulie
Malignaggi into walking punchbag much like
Joe Calzaghe did with Jeff Lacy.
Letís get things straight, some people may think I'm
being a little harsh here & may have some kind of a
personal vendetta against Paulie Malignaggi, but I
can assure you that is not the case. As a person as
I have never met or spoken with him but as a fan of
the sport I have read countless interviews & watched
various programs on him & he genuinely comes across
as a nice guy, one of boxingís good guys if you
will. I am writing this article purely based on
giving my opinion as a writer & fan, calling the
fight as I see it going.
I fear it will be a long, painful night for
Malignaggi when he steps into the ring Saturday
night as Khan will hand him a boxing masterclass,
possibly stopping him in the second half of the
fight - I hate to say it about a world title fight
but I truly believe the difference between these two
fighters are as extreme as night & day.
If Malignaggi surprises me Saturday night, reads
this article & uses it as extra motivation to prove
me wrong I will the first to congratulate him on
what will be his greatest victory of his career & I
will help myself to a large slice of humble pie -
but I somehow doubt it & to borrow a famous line
"He has two chances, slim & none & slim is out of