Going into this NABO/WBO Jr. Welterweight title fight with Juan Diaz, Paulie Malignaggi knew that the deck was heavily stacked against him, yet he chose to take the fight against all odds.
What odds you ask?
Well if you don’t already know, allow me to break it down for you.
The fight took place in Diaz’s hometown of Houston,Texas.
The fight was promoted by Diaz’s promoter Golden Boy. Not that I am claiming anything seedy, although Paulie did question out loud the appointment of Raul Caiz as one of the judges because Caiz hails from the same hometown as Golden Boy.
Speaking of judges the other two were from…you guessed it…deep in the heart of Texas.
The referee of choice…Laurence Cole, who it has been *reported happens to be the son of Dick Cole, the boxing director for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. It was also *reported that The Coles also sell insurance to promoters doing business in the Lone Star state, a business practice long considered by many as a conflict of interest.
And oh yeah….the fight was for the Jr. Welterweight belt which the last time I checked usually allows a fighter to top out at 140 pounds but Paulie was forced to sign a contract to come in at no more than 138.5 pounds. Another bone thrown clearly in the direction of Diaz who normally fights at no more than 135 pounds.
Now as if that wasn’t enough the ring for this fight might as well have been a phone booth. Again more deck stacking as this small ring would inhibit the moblie Mallignaggi from moving the way he likes and help the slower footed Diaz who does his best work in close quarters.
You had to feel for Paulie when the ring introductions were being made as Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley all stood alongside Diaz as he was announced to a house full of his peeps.
Unfazed, Maligaggi came out in round one and set the stage for the battle by peppering Diaz with jabs and keeping him at bay with some pretty nice footwork. In the next round Diaz closed the gap a bit and landed shots of his own but in the next round we saw a rapid fire pace with Paulie leading and landing at a slightly higher rate.
The fight went in that fashion for the remainder of the night. Both fighters were cut above the eyes, but it was Diaz who showed the ill effects as blood covered his face for most of the latter rounds.
And yes, it was a close fight but it was Paulie who landed the most punches, NO ONE CAN ARGUE THAT!
Yet, when the fight was over and the scores were read it was a unanimous decision GIVEN to Juan Diaz, and really the scores were not even close. Judge Gale Van Hoy had it 118-110! Caiz 115-113 and David Sutherland 116-112.
118-110? 116-112? Are you kidding me?
Even HBO leaned heavily to the side of Diaz and when Paulie asked Kellerman after the fight how they scored it, Max would only say, ” We had it 7 rounds to 5.” To which Paulie retorted, “You had it for me…right?” It was only then that Max would say HBO had Paulie winning. What’s wrong Max? Afraid to go against the grain? Congratulations! You get an A+ in Jim Lampley Journalism 101, also known as How to Be Shills and Not Be Afraid or Ahamed To Admit It.
What really sucks is the fact that this was a pretty darn good fight but because of all the B.S. that went on before during and after, this fight will always have a taint. A foul smelly taint!
Meanwhile Diaz is already talking about a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez (please?) and you can be damn sure Malignaggi will never see Diaz inside the ropes again.
As for Paulie, he now has to pick up the pieces. After dumping No-Buddy McGirt as his “Trainer”, Paulie looks like he has regained his flash and although he is very frustrated, and rightly so, I expect to see him and Lou DiBella getting his career back on track and headed in the right direction.
In closing I have a quick question for the Promoters, Judges and Referee as well as The Texas State Athletic Commission…
How Do You Sleep?
* as reported by Braggingrightscorner.com
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