Paulie Malignaggi defends his newly captured WBA belt before a hometown crowd on October 20th, when he fights Pablo Cesar Cano as part of a big 140/147 lbs championship card to be televised on Showtime, including Danny Garcia vs. Erik Morales II and Randall Bailey vs. Devon Alexander. Cano impressed many in his valiant effort against Erik Morales, where he stepped in as a short-notice sub for Lucas Matthysse. Even so, Malignaggi vs. Cano is the least of the three championship bouts, but it is still interesting nonetheless, and may be the odds-on favorite of the bunch to end before the bell.
Pablo Cesar Cano (25-1-1, 19 KOs)
5’9″ tall, 72″ reach, 23 years old
Interim (fake) WBA Light Welterweight Champion
Cano is a rising young fighter who has been thrown into the big leagues too early. Erik Morales, who is a lower-tier contender at light welterweight at best, applied superior poise and technique to take Cano to school, handing him a complete beat down. When the fight was stopped by the doctor in the 10th, Cano was streaming blood and both his eyes were swollen shut, a result of having Morales’s jab in his face all night. He has some talent and plenty of heart, but either Cano hasn’t developed that extra something special needed to compete at the world level yet, or he simply doesn’t have it.
Paulie Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KOs)
5’8″ tall, 70″ reach, 31 years old
Current (real) WBA Welterweight Champion; former IBF Light Welterweight Champion
The Magic Man was a redoubtable contender at 140 lbs, endowed with brilliant speed, flashy skills and good ring smarts, and held back only by his complete lack of power. Of his four loses, three were thumpings handed to him by Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan. The remaining loss was a controversial Texas robbery to Juan Diaz, which Malignaggi later avenged in a rematch. He might be ranked only #8 in the division, but the record shows that it takes a special kind of a fighter to beat Paulie Malignaggi.
So, even though Malignaggi is a feather-fist, Vyacheslav Senchenko made a serious error by getting into the ring with the Magic Man, even in his own backyard of Donetsk. Malignaggi used his speed and skill to beat Senchenko to the jab, land countless overhand rights, and bust the Ukrainian paper champ up badly. By the time the fight was stopped in the 9th, the Ukrainian’s nose was broken, his face turned into a wicked bruise, he was bleeding, and his left eye was closed.
Paulie Malignaggi vs. Pablo Cesar Cano Analysis and Preview
The Magic Man is basically still a light welterweight, but that doesn’t matter because so is Cano. Although the Mexican will have a height and reach advantage, both men are about the same size. Cano will have the edge in power, because almost everyone does over Malignaggi, but the Brooklynite has the advantage in all other categories.
Cano’s only shot at a victory is to turn puncher, wade past Malignaggi’s jab and land heavy power shots. If he hangs onto Malignaggi’s belt all night and wails on him, he could pull out the upset. The thing is that I don’t see that happening. Malignaggi is certainly slick enough to overcome the reach deficit, and it’s hard to see Cano swarming Malignaggi where Juan Diaz couldn’t. Ricky Hatton he is not.
This fight is going to give Paulie Malignaggi the eighth stoppage of his career. He is going to out-class Cano with flash and slickness, pick him apart, and bust him up badly.
Prediction: Paulie Malignaggi RTD9 Pablo Cesar Cano