Live on BT Sport 1 from 02:00 in the early hours of Sunday morning, current WBA and ex-WBC light-welterweight champion Danny Garcia moves up a division to box former welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
Garcia v Malignaggi Tale of the Tape
Danny Garcia: 30-0 (17 KO)
Nicknamed ‘Swift,’ 27-year-old Danny Garcia had a strong amateur career, becoming the 2006 U.S. national champion after two smaller tournament wins in 2005. Turning pro in 2007, Garcia recorded knockout wins in his first five bouts and later defeated England’s Ashley Theophane in his sixteenth contest.
An orthodox boxer with a strong hook, Garcia won the WBC youth welterweight title shortly after, before moving up the pecking order to challenge for one of the main – senior – world titles.
After defeating former world champions Kendall Holt and Nate Campbell, Garcia faced the then WBC light-welterweight champion – legendary four-weight champion Erik Morales.
Starting slowly, Garcia eventually easily outscored Morales to become a full world champion for the first time in his professional career. After that, Garcia fought the then WBA champ, Amir Khan, in a title unification bout.
As usual, Garcia started slowly and the much faster Khan was ‘running rings’ around him for nearly three rounds, but then – as has often been the case with Khan – the Englishman left his chin exposed, was downed heavily with a big left hook and eventually stopped.
Now a two-title champion, Garcia then faced Erik Morales once more, winning much easier this time, via a fourth-round KO – and again via a left hook. Next time out, Garcia beat another former world champion in Zab Judah, via a points decision.
Matched with the fearsome puncher that is Lucas Matthysse in his twenty-seventh bout, undefeated champion Garcia was the betting underdog, but made a mockery of that tag by intelligently out-boxing the Argentine, despite losing the early rounds.
Somewhat surprisingly, Garcia appeared to have lost to Mauricio Herrera – a vastly underrated boxer who I featured in this column a few weeks ago – in his next bout, but ‘Swift’ was awarded the decision and destroyed the out of his depth Rod Salka in his second-last contest.
Most recently, in a non-title bout, Garcia boxed and defeated Lamont Peterson – who was the IBF champion at the time – on points, but just like the Herrera bout most experts thought that Garcia had clearly lost.
Ideally, Garcia would like to face Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather before the pound-for-pound champion retires, but that looks unlikely and for now he’ll have to settle for a bout with the talkative, feather-fisted Paulie Malignaggi.
Paulie Malignaggi: 33-6 (7 KO)
Of Italian heritage, 34-year-old Paulie ‘Magic Man’ Malignaggi had a troublesome youth that involved being kicked-out of his mother’s house and being expelled from school. Sensibly taking up the option of a boxing career, Malignaggi turned pro in 2001.
Winning his first twenty-one bouts with very few stoppages, it was quite clear that Malignaggi was a feather-fisted puncher, but a clever boxer with great movement and a superb jab.
Matched with Miguel Cotto – who was the WBO light-welter champ at the time – ‘Magic Man’ took a real beating from the hard-hitting Puerto Rican, eventually losing on points, but gained a lot of credit for his toughness and bravery in the process.
Indeed, his performance in defeat was so impressive that after beating Edner Cherry in his next bout, Malignaggi was awarded another title shot, which he took by outscoring Lovemore N’dou to become the IBF light-welterweight champion.
Malignaggi then won a rematch with N’dou before losing via an eleventh-round stoppage to Britain’s Ricky Hatton. After a comeback win, Malignaggi was then surprisingly beaten by Juan Diaz, but won the rematch.
An eleventh-round stoppage loss followed for American-Italian Malignaggi when challenging Amir Khan for his WBA light-welter title, before three straight wins earned ‘Magic Man’ yet another title shot.
This time, Malignaggi faced Vyacheslav Senchenko – who had earlier become the WBA’s welterweight champion – and took his chance by earning a rare stoppage win.
After one successful defence, however, Malignaggi lost his title to Adrien Broner, before defeating Zab Judah on points. Most recently, Paulie was knocked out by Shawn Porter.
After that loss in April 2014, the talkative Malignaggi – now a regular pundit for Sky Sports in the UK – deciding to concentrate on his broadcasting career and has not fought since.
In short, Malignaggi is coming back to the ring to fight Garcia because, in his own words, his style is kryptonite to Garcia’s.
Garcia v Malignaggi Betting
WBC and WBA champ Garcia is offered around 1/7, while challenger Malignaggi is available around 11/2. In terms of method of victory, Garcia is priced at 6/4 to win by KO/TKO or DQ, or EVENS to win on points, while Malignaggi is 14/1 to win by KO/TKO or DQ, or 7/1 to win by a scorecard verdict.
The Garcia v Malignaggi Betting Verdict
In an ideal betting world, we’d lay Malignaggi to win by KO/TKO as he has no punching power and Garcia – as he proved against Matthysse – has a very good chin. However, laying a 14/1 price isn’t going to earn us enough to warrant the risk.
Can Malignaggi win on points, you might ask? Well, if we look how Mauricio Herrera used his jab constantly against Garcia, while also winning a fair portion of the inside exchanges with hand-speed rather than power before quickly moving out of range to avoid Garcia’s dangerous hooking, and consider that most people thought that Herrera had won the bout, before factoring in that the feather-fisted Malignaggi is perfectly suited to such a gamelan, then yes he can win.
However, although New Yorker Malignaggi has home advantage, he’s a semi-retired fighter that has several defeats on his record and he doesn’t have a big promoter. ‘Magic Man’s’ future is in broadcasting. Garcia, on the other hand, has the biggest and most influential promoter in the sport. Plus, he’s undefeated, younger and a rising star that’s already been giving two highly questionable points decisions in his favour.
So, all in all, despite there being a strong enough argument to back Malignaggi to win on points at an appealing price, I think that his style will only be enough to stop Garcia from knocking him out and expect ‘Swift’ to be awarded a unanimous points verdict after dropping the early rounds.