Some words that are not to the norm of boxing fans of recent years are Saturday Night Boxing on ESPN. This weekend we will see exactly that as Premier Boxing Champions will be live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY when Danny Garcia will be fighting Brooklyn’s own Paulie Malignaggi. The fight will take place at the welterweight limit of 147-pounds.
The 27-year-old from Philadelphia, Danny Garcia, comes into the bout with record of 30-0 with 17 knockouts, but the record alone does not tell the entire story of one of the most criticized, yet successful fighters in the sport. Garcia made a name for himself in the light-welterweight division. Garcia has beaten some of the best at 140 including Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt, Zab Judah, and Erik Morales twice, but the two fights that seemed to lift Garcia to what he is today are his wins over Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysee.
Garcia was a big underdog to Khan and that win threw his name into the spotlight. When Garcia went on to beat Matthysse, the guy most people thought was the best 140-pound fighter in the world at the time, he was looked at as one of the future stars of boxing. However, since having all the momentum in the world after that fight, Garcia got a “favorable” win against Mauricio Herrera, he destroyed an undersized, and overmatched, opponent in Rod Salka, and then he got another controversial decision against Lamont Peterson.
Garcia now fights for the first time at the 147-pound welterweight limit and hopes he can re-establish himself as one of the rising stars of the sport. Garcia, along with his dad, can do a lot of talking, and so far Danny has not lost in the ring, despite public opinion. As long as Garcia continues to win, one thing he has said this week would appear to be true, “I feel like how he feels,” as he spoke about him being next in line after Floyd Mayweather retires.
Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi has been a professional for 15 years now. He has compiled a record of 33-6 with seven stoppages. The 34-year old who was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY has not fought in almost 16 months when he faced Shawn Porter in April of 2014. Malignaggi is a two-time world champion, with his last belt being won in 2012 against Vyacheslav Senchenko in Senchenko’s home country of Ukraine.
Malignaggi has a huge following, not only in his hometown of Brooklyn, but all over because of his strong presence on social media. He has always been very interactive with the fans and his presence as a boxing announcer does not hurt. He is hoping to show people that despite losing to Adrien Broner and Shawn Porter in two of his last three fights, there is still a lot of fight left in him. An upset here would do a ton towards doing that.
Garcia is the better fighter at this point in their careers. However, Malignaggi’s style could give him some issues. Garcia has shown against Herrera and Peterson that heavy pressure in his face bothers him a little bit, but Herrera by some people got screwed on the scorecards. and Peterson started his pressure style too late in the fight. Malignaggi fought Broner with that same high volume style and did not get the benefit of the judges, but some thought he should have.
When all is said and done, I feel Garcia will get another close win by unanimous decision. However, it should be a good technical fight, and I do not think Garcia will stop Malignaggi, so this maybe a fight that is “boring” to some, but entertaining to others. No matter what happens in this fight, this should be a huge battle for Brooklyn and the Barclays.
This is Malignaggi’s home, yet Garcia has made it his home arena and hopes to be known as the star of the Barclays Center. Will this be the passing of the torch or does Malignaggi have a little magic left? There is only one way to find out, sit back, tune in, and enjoy the fight.