Diaz vs. Malignaggi Results & More

By Mav Dumon from Ringside

Houston, TX - Ringside view brought an up-close observance of the Diaz vs. Malignaggi fight at the Toyota Center Saturday night. With an attendance of over 7,000, the arena was filled with loud and excitable people. Several fights erupted in various sections of the stands; this happened throughout the night which drew attention and yelps from fight fans but was not covered on HBO's Boxing After Dark.  The network should have covered the free outbursts, but then again the police was involved and they had pepper spray and handcuffs, and in boxing, those weapons aren't (currently) allowed.  (Unless it's a video game.)

A couple of fights between fans occurred during the last two fights of the night, which prompted HBO commentator and former boxing heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis to observe the fan fights, and away from the ringside fight.  (He only did it for a few seconds.)  Curiosity kills the cat.


Idiot Fan, Lackadaisical Security

As expected, the pro-Diaz crowd loudly supported their local fighter, and heartedly booed the New Yorker.  One fan idiot managed to repeatedly slip by security to yell profanities at Malignaggi by the media section, and was escorted out of the press section.  He drew the ire of Malignaggi who grabbed his crotch in between rounds to taunt the fan.  A fighter should be allowed to focus on his ring fight, his health is at stake.  The security was watching the fight, they were not intent on security, and did a poor job of blocking off the press section.  It seemed that as long as they got their paychecks, they were going to enjoy themselves while working.  Perhaps that outburst contributed to Malignaggi's later outburst when Max Kellerman interviewed him after the fight.

I was entirely consumed by the fight, and was on the edge of my seat all throughout. To be sure, it appeared from ringside to be a very close fight, and I was shocked at how Paulie Malignaggi was gaining increasing control over the fight toward the end on out, say after round 9 - it seemed he had lowered his punch volume as he grew confident of the victory, and was clearly bent on avoiding any surprise knockout blows from the Houston native.  Malignaggi had solved Diaz by round 10 - it is not in Golden Boy's interest (who promotes Juan) to set up a rematch lest their cash cow loses to a boxer who had figured out their client's style.

Trinidad vs. de la Hoya fiasco reborn. It was evident that early in the fight, and in the middle rounds, Diaz delivered the harder power punches, when he did land on the New York native. Paulie's jab approach was a strategy that was right on target, tailored for the forward fighter in Diaz.


Press Conference

At the press conference, Diaz mentioned that since graduating from college, the Playstation became his best friend, when he was not at the gym. Certainly he is a talented fighter who deserved a much closer decision against an impressive Malignaggi performance.

However, it must be conveyed that his training team should have worked a lot harder in four areas:

  1. Head movement
     
  2. Footwork
     
  3. Lead jabs
     
  4. Ability to cut off the ring

It seems his corner did not persuade "Baby Bull" to cut off the ring and prevent Malignaggi from circling the ring in a clockwise order, which he was very, very comfortable doing. Malignaggi moving around Diaz by stepping to his left gave him confidence in launching that snappy lead left, and Malignaggi's superior conditioning painted its red mark by way of blood dripping down Diaz's face.  That "dripping red paint" surely factored in the judges' minds - unless corruption was involved.  After the fight, Juan's cut looked like a red beetle with a horizontal left line - it was utterly disgusting. The post-fight press conference, thank goodness, had Diaz wearing appropriate sunglasses.  I personally had a hard time forgetting about it, even after having a couple of drinks after the event.


Decisions, Decisions

Diaz's power punches came in spurts and with much power, as they effected a tentativeness in Malignaggi for a few seconds. It was also apparent that Diaz landed body blows that bothered the athletic Malignaggi. The New Yorker came in with a great plan against Diaz. He jabbed, and moved, and was confident.  Diaz had to knock him down to convince observers; he almost did; but he did not.

The 116-112 decision was a stretch, and probably constituted the borderline of what was reasonable. That judge would have to rationalize and explain to me why the 116-112 was justified.


Questions

The 118-110 score was atrocious, inconceivable, and I was highly disappointed. I do not know Gale Van Hoy; I do not know her past; or the circumstances in which she was appointed by the Texas regulatory commissions. The score itself made me question the political aspects of appointing boxing judges. I majored in Government in college, that's what I do. Is there an incentive to have Texas fighters win in Texas? Yes. The boxer becomes a cash cow and infuses financial benefits locally. Do these incentives play a factor in the appointment process? Does the powerful promoter get involved in ensuring that the cash cow keeps on producing Ben Franklin milk? I sincerely, sincerely hope it was an honest score, but nevertheless, it was a highly unfair score. 

Is there any other way to completely crush the spirit of a warrior?  It hurts knowing that a young, dedicated kid does 1,000 sit-ups and crunches a day, and several thousand punches a day in the gym, to go into a fight without fair scoring.  The atrocious scoring will leave these questions permanently etched in my consciousness.

Juan Diaz is an inspiring athlete and role model for Texas youth and boxing fans around the world.  He deserves the admiration he gets from fight fans.  Diaz does not trash talk and presents himself as a gentleman outside of the ring and gym.  He graduated college at the University of Houston, intends to go to law school, and is an active community servant and aspiring elected official.  He also shares his financial blessings with his local community.  To continue being on the boxing radar, he will need to improve his footwork, jab, and agility.  They say once you lose, you are forgotten.


Who is that fighter again?

There was a writer sitting right next to me at ringside, he was assigned by his major newspaper to cover the fight. He asked me who the guy in gray was. I said Shane Mosley. He asked me who the other guy was. I said Bernard Hopkins. A major newspaper had someone covering a big event like Diaz vs. Malignaggi without knowing pimple squat about prize fighting.

Some guys who cover boxing are broke, enjoy their free tickets from promoters, or assigned by networks or newspapers but yet possess a lack of basic knowledge of the sport.  Or they are too scared to rock the boat and get fired or sued.  Boxing could use a lot of the investigative and journalistic horsepower that a CNN or ESPN or Showtime brings. Unfortunately, regional fights are those second or third tier activities on the outside peripheral of all the other sports and entertainment events that transpire over the weekend. Can you say gross pimple squat?





 

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