Malignaggi continually worked behind the jab to keep Judah off balance (Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime Sports).
Ringside Report by Resolution Sports
With Brooklyn bragging rights on the line, as well as welterweight relevancy, former two-division world titleholder Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi (33-5, 7 KOs) was able to use a well-scripted game plan to best former five-time world champion Zab “Super” Judah(42-9, 29 KOs) via unanimous decision on Saturday night.
"This is an emotional win for me," Malignaggi said after the bout. "It definitely allows me to continue boxing. If I had lost, I don't know that I would have wanted to continue. But this big win puts me in the right spot to fight in this division for lots of money. Lots.”
In what was quite an impressive and tactical performance, Malignaggi picked up the victory with tallies of 117-110 (twice) and 116-111.
"Walking to the ring was pretty surreal,” Malignaggi revealed. “As a teenager, I watched Zab fight and to walk into the ring and fighting against him was very surreal. Not that I never expected myself not to be successful, but it was still something very surreal. I felt like this showed that this sport can unify everyone. I looked up to this guy when I was coming up in the sport, and he's one of the greats."
For a dejected Judah, the loss came with quite a bit of disappoint, but the 36-year-old said at the fight’s post-press conference that he is not considering retirement at all.
"I came to fight and so did Paulie. It just wasn't there,” Judah stated. “This was a great opportunity and a great event. I wanted to be the King of Brooklyn. He wasn't tougher than me. He stayed on the outside and didn't engage."
When the action started in this bout, the hometown fans were conflicted in support, and chants for each boxer competed for volume. The opening round saw both men battle to establish the jab, with Malignaggi proving to be the slightly busier fighter. In the second round, the lone knockdown of the contest came with much controversy after the legs of the two fighters got caught up and Judah came over the top with a left hand. The punch grazed the chin of an off balance Malignaggi, who was trying to spin off but tripped over Judah’s leg in the process. The Magic Man slightly touched the canvas to catch himself, and the referee in charge started to count, much to the argument of Malignaggi.
Over the next few rounds, the high energy and shiftiness of Malignaggi began to take over this fight. His constant movement caused problems for Judah, who was never truly able to get going. Malignaggi began mixing up his right hands to the head and the body, and his strategy continued to keep the hard-hitting Judah backing up, which prevented him from being able to put much power on any of his punches. When he did attempt to fire off shots, the elusive Malignaggi repeatedly made him miss.
Malignaggi continue to pepper Judah with his jab down the stretch, showing great pop in his footwork as he jumped in and out of confrontation. At no point did Malignaggi slow his pace, and his extreme fitness shined all the way until the final bell. His heavy work rate remained on display, and he ended up out-landing his opposition by of a count of 220-121 once everything was said and done.
When the 12 rounds of action had eventually concluded, the ringside judges would be called upon to give their analysis. Showing cards of 117-110 (twice) and 116-111, Malignaggi emerged victorious with the emotional win.
After the bout, Malignaggi immediately voiced his desire to fight the winner of next week’s Adrien Broner vs. Marcos Maidana pairing, which he will be calling ringside for Showtime. Malignaggi fought Broner this past June and suffered a controversial spilt decision loss. While he made it clear that he wants to avenge that defeat to Broner, Golden Boy Promotions partner and current IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins had a different idea. He said at the post-press conference that he would like to see Malignaggi take on undefeated WBA and WBC Junior Welterweight Champion Danny Garcia, who has never fought at 147 pounds and was in attendance at the fights.