Malignaggi (right) gave all he had in a Saturday night pairing with Amir Khan (Photo by Augustine Dashiell, Plainfield Sports News).
Khan Scores 11th Round TKO of Paulie Malignaggi on Saturday Night
New York (Saturday, May 15, 2010) – While heated verbal exchanges built us up to Saturday night’s main event at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden between Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi (27-4, 5 KOs) and Amir “King” Khan (23-1, 17 KOs), mutual respect prevailed by the end of the night. In the ring, Khan got the better of Malignaggi and scored an impressive 11th round TKO in what was the British boxer’s debut bout in the United States.
"I ran into a clone of myself of when I was younger, but he was faster and stronger," Malignaggi said of Khan. "He's bigger and stronger, but I gave it all I had."
This fight was the second successful title defense of the WBA Super Lightweight Championship by Khan, who was a Silver Medalist in 2004 Olympics in Athens.
"He knows how to win rounds, man," Malignaggi stated. "He has a lot of ability. I've fought two elite fighters (in my career), Miguel Cotto and Amir Khan."
The high praise by Malignaggi was spoken after Khan was able to use his unique combination of speed and power to dictate this fight. Malignaggi did all he could to duck the advances of Khan throughout the evening, and he did a nice job of defending himself on many occasions. Unfortunately, the advances were just far too frequent for the Brooklyn native to overcome.
"He is a very awkward fighter, and we had to break him down slowly,” Khan commented of Malignaggi. “We had to use our brain. I knew in the last few rounds, I was hurting him. I slowly had to break him down with the jab. Freddie (Roach) and me worked on the jab for a long time. After the 10th round, Freddie said to me, 'send a statement to the world and finish this guy off.'”
It was after that message that Khan went in for the kill. There was a bit of commotion in the corner of Malignaggi in between the 10th and 11th round, seemingly with the consideration of ending the fight in mind. When the ringside doctor didn’t immediately clear the ring, the Khan supporters began to come alive, but Malignaggi showed his amazing heart by pushing his way to the neutral corner to start the 11th round. Khan immediately came in hard on him as soon as the bell rang and quickly landed a series of hard blows. With Malignaggi trying to find his way off the ropes midway through the round, referee Steve Smoger called an end to the fight at the 1:25 mark.
Obviously disappointed at the end of the night, Malignaggi briefly spoke about his future.
"From here, I'm not sure where I go,” he remarked. “I'll sit down with my team. I don't want to be a punching bag."
Malignaggi is a fighter who many have written off in the past, but as he showed tonight, his heart is as big as Manhattan. He most certainly has some great fights left in him, and fight fans should not be so quick to dismiss the Brooklyn native. Rather than making disparaging comments about Malignaggi, they should just appreciate the rising star that is Amir Khan.
And no matter what is down the line for Khan, don’t forget that Malignaggi is the one who had the heart to step up and fight Khan on the big stage first.