Danny Garcia comfortably defeated veteran Paulie Malignaggi by TKO in the ninth round on Saturday night, in a fight that’s likely to be Malignaggi’s last as a professional.
Garcia dominated the vast majority of the fight and was too strong for Malignaggi, despite the best efforts of one of Brooklyn’s favourite fighting sons.
The fight was Garcia’s first at welterweight and he extended his undefeated record to 31-0 (18 KOs).
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The most effective work during the opening round was from Garcia. He landed a trademark overhand right which forced Malignaggi on the back foot, and proved he has the required power to trouble fighters in the 147lb division.
Garcia, who is the reigning WBA light welterweight champion, won every round of the fight, other than possibly the second, where Malignaggi stayed out of reach and landed a few shots of his own.
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As the fight wore on, Garcia was becoming slightly more rhythmical with his punches. In the fourth round, he landed a lovely right hand from distance and a number of well-timed body shots.
Although he was struggling to land any notable blows to Garcia, Malignaggi showed no signs of caving in during the middle rounds of the fight.
After six rounds, Garcia had landed with 68 out of the 314 punches he had attempted (22%). Malignaggi, on the other hand, had landed just 48 out of the 231 punches he had thrown (21%).
Garcia has been criticised during his career for fighting in bursts and not applying consistent pressure to his opponents.
The same criticism may have been valid during the fight, but the veteran Malignaggi, who was participating in his 40th pro fight, was making it difficult for Garcia to land too many devastating shots.
In the eighth round, however, the slow and steady pressure that Garcia had been building on Malignaggi looked to be taking its toll. Malignaggi came forward and landed a couple of right hands to Garcia, who just shrugged them off and applied some pressure of his own.
Garcia began to dominate in the second half of the eighth round and he landed a number of right hands to the body, followed by left hooks to Malignaggi’s head.
As the fight went into the ninth round, Malignaggi’s body was showing the effects of some of Garcia’s powerful work.
Malignaggi’s ribs were severely bruised, which was hardly surprising considering that going into the ninth round, Garcia had landed 63 body shots to Malignaggi, who had landed just 32 of his own.
The stoppage came in the ninth round when Arthur Mercante Jr, the experienced referee who has been in charge of over 15 world title fights, deemed Malignaggi unfit to continue after a big left hook and a number of well-directed right hands.
It was far from a spectacular performance from Garcia, but he did a decent job in his first bout as a welterweight against Malignaggi, who is a former IBF world title holder at 147lbs.
The two men shared a warm embrace in the ring after the conclusion of the fight, which Malignaggi later admitted is likely to be his last.
In the last 12 months or so, Malignaggi’s career outside the ring has blossomed. He has become one of boxing’s finest analysts. He has worked for networks such as Showtime, Fox Sports One and Sky Sports, and he is confident that he’ll be around for some time yet.
Talking to ESPN’s Todd Grisham after the fight, Malignaggi said: "I've got a really good job commentating. I hope to sit around ringside for a long time”.
He later went on to add that the fight would probably be the last of his great career, he concluded: “You hate to make an emotional decision. My career started in Brooklyn 14 years ago, if it ends in Brooklyn tonight, at least I ended it at home, where I'm from, in front of my fans, the greatest fans in the world."
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