Fight Pick & Preview – Porter vs. Malignaggi:
On April 19 in Washington, D.C., Nnwly-crowned Shawn Porter, fresh of a comprehensive win over Devon Alexander, will take on crafty veteran Paulie Malignaggi. Porter is considered a favorite, but to continue climbing the ladder in the talent-rich waters in the welterweight division, will need to defeat a resurgent Malignaggi, who has breathed some new life into his career in recent outings.
- Date: April 19, 2014
- Site: DC Armory, Washington, D.C.
- Titles: IBF Welterweight Title: 12 Rounds
Shawn Porter, 23-0-1 (14 KOs), Akron, Ohio
Paul Malignaggi, 33-5 (7 KOs), Brooklyn, NY.
Malignaggi, 33, is coming off a surprisingly-lopsided win over fellow Brooklynite Zab Judah. In the fight before that, he nearly beat Adrien Broner and deserved the win in many people’s minds, despite coming out on the wrong end of a decision.
Following a stoppage loss to Amir Khan 4 years ago, it looked like Malignaggi had reached the end. But in the past few years, he has steeled himself and represents a tough challenge to a fighter of Porter’s status. Malignaggi is still as quick as they come, both with his hands and his mind.
Porter is a fighter with a lot of talent and some may have been surprised how he beat Alexander. Still, he is a bit inexperienced at this level and has shown some weaknesses along the way. He was fortunate to get a draw against Julio Diaz in a fight where he was a massive favorite in December 2012. He won rather easily in a rematch, but if he were a top welterweight, would he have needed two fights to settle business with the likes of Julio Diaz?
This may be a good style matchup for Malignaggi. He is outgunned in the punching power department, but that’s nothing new. Porter is a little shorter than Malignaggi, which could suit the Brooklyn speedster well. Again, Malignaggi will rely on wits, speed, and boxing IQ to defeat a more physically-imposing opponent. What he will also rely on is a ton of heart, grit, and guts, which are some overlooked aspects of Malignaggi’s list of attributes.
Porter is an easy guy to overlook. Sure, he beat Alexander and has a decorated background and has sparred extensively with the best in the business. But in such a crowded division full of big names, he still lurks on the cusp of 147-pound supremacy. A win here will get him closer to the top.
Physically, Malignaggi is outmanned in this battle. But mentally and in terms of experience and boxing know-how, Porter is at a deficit. While Porter went through a long build-up process, Malignaggi was cutting his teeth against a who’s-who of top fighters between 140-147 pounds.
Has Malignaggi struggled against top fighters? Sure, but Porter struggled to beat Alfonso Gomez and was outboxed in stretches by Julio Diaz, a pair of guys who aren’t really in the league of recent Malignaggi opponents.
It can be a faulty barometer to judge a fighter off their worst showings, so maybe Porter should get a pass for his less-than-shining moments. On the way up, fighters can experience some bumps in the road and there’s nothing that unusual about that. And maybe the age-old boxing adage that becoming a champion makes a fighter better could be at play here for Porter. Beating Alexander probably did him a lot of good from a mental standpoint.
Malignaggi has gotten better with age. He has more focus, better professionalism, and after all the tough men he has fought, has a very specialized type of experience. His boxing IQ is off-the-charts and he’s able to make adjustments in the ring on-the-fly.
His flashiness and braggadocio detract from his toughness–both physically and mentally. He is a battle-tempered veteran who knows all the tricks and is able to think as calmly in the ring as he does when in the Showtime announcing booth breaking down the action.
Porter vs. Malignaggi Prediction
Malignaggi has his work cut out against an unbeaten and young fighter like Porter. While he faces numerous physical disadvantages, a lot of fights come down to what you know and not so much what you can do.
I think Malignaggi can use his superior speed and mobility to edge rounds over Porter. Whether he gets credit for it is another matter. Malignaggi is a constant candidate to be victimized by bad decisions, namely because his punches are not that resounding. Even so, I think he outboxes Porter for the most part, enabling him to edge a decision in this fight.
Prediction: Paul Malignaggi wins by majority decision.