Paul Malignaggi closes the door on a very impressive career

Paul Malignaggi

 

Last Saturday, former two-division world champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi, 36-8 (7), closed the door on a near-16-year career that saw him face some of the very best of his time.

 

At the O2 Arena in London, in a bout for the WBC International welterweight title, the 36-year-old veteran was stopped in the eighth round by Britain’s Sam Eggington, 20-3 (12).

 

At the time of the stoppage, courtesy of a well-placed body shot, Paulie was leading on two of the three official scorecards. However, when referee Victor Laughlin waved his arms after reaching the count of 10, Malignaggi probably knew he had more than likely entered the ring for his final time.

 

At his age, Malignaggi decided he no longer had the drive, or the time, to try to make another title run. It’s more than likely the right, and wise, decision.

 

Malignaggi was coming into the fight off three straight wins and was close to securing a shot at the European Boxing Union (EBU) title, a belt he previously won in December of 2015.

 

Paulie turned pro in 2001 and would go unbeaten in his first 21 straight fights. Never a power-puncher, Malignaggi relied on fast feet and hands, always looking to use angles and deliver sharp counters. While Malignaggi would often get as much attention for his outlandish ring outfits and ever-changing hairstyles, make no mistake, this kid from the streets of Brooklyn, New York, was a very tough customer when he stepped through the ropes.

 

Malignaggi lost a unanimous decision to Miguel Cotto in 2006 in a gusty performance for WBO junior welterweight title in his first major title shot. However, just two fights later, he would capture his first world title beating Lovemore Ndou by unanimous decision in January of 2008 to grab the IBF junior welterweight title.

 

Two fights later, he was awarded a shot at Britain’s Ricky Hatton and his IBO junior welterweight title. Malignaggi again came up short, being stopped in 11 rounds but, again, impressed fans with his determination and competitive fire.

 

Four fights later, in May of 2010, Amir Khan would stop Malignaggi in the 11th round in a tough, competitive fight. Having already been a world champion, Malignaggi impressed fans with his unrelenting will and guts in facing the very best in boxing.

 

In April of 2012, Malignaggi would travel to Ukraine to capture his second world title, beating Vyacheslav Senchenko, stopping him in 10 rounds, to capture the WBA world welterweight title.

 

Now, a two-time world champion, Malignaggi would defend the title once before losing it in a disputed split decision loss to Adrien Broner in June of 2013.

 

Over the next four years, Paulie would go 4-3 before closing the door on his impressive career after his recent loss to Brit Eggington. Always wanting to face the very best available, Malignaggi’s final seven-fight run included bouts against world-class contenders and champions Shawn Porter, Zab Judah and Danny Garcia.

 

The well-spoken Malignaggi, fast becoming one of the most popular ringside analysts in boxing (working for Showtime and Sky Sports) made his retirement official a couple of days after his last bout.

 

“Nineteen years ago today, I entered the ring for the first time as an amateur. That makes this as good a time as any to announce my retirement from competition. My life is in a place 19 years later that I never dreamed it could be in and I have boxing to thank for that. I’m looking forward to a long, fruitful career now, behind the mic, staying around the sport I love so much and the sport that changed my life for the better.”

 

Malignaggi closes his book with a great resume that saw him face Cotto, Edner Cherry, Ndou, Herman Ngoudjo, Hatton, Juan Diaz, Khan, Broner, Judah, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia.

 

In addition, along with facing the very best in boxing, he captured two world titles and impressed fans each and every time out.

 

Well done champ!

Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca and you can follow him at twitter.com/tibbs_bill.

 

 

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