Paulie Malignaggi challenges Shawn Porter for Porter’s IBF Welterweight belt that he won off Devon Alexander last December. The inconsistent Porter looked much improved but can he put his skill and strengths together in back to back performances?
This co-feature fight could go either way with Porter being the betting favorite amongst fans, writers, and betting sites. The style matchup and how it will play out has been bouncing around my brain for some time now to the point that I’m still pulling my decision as I write this article.
Paulie Malignaggi’s career accomplishments fit the “Magic Man” nickname perfectly. A guy with no power to speak of yet still was able to make the fighters and fans respect him.
The tough as nails Italian and American who talked of retirement after the beating Amir Khan gave him in 2010, has manage to rebuild his career at 147.
Paulie is usually a busy fighter and at welter has been in some tough close fights with Adrien Broner and Pablo Caesar Cano. His chin is never in question after a 2006 encounter at 140 with Miguel Cotto.
Malignaggi is one of the slickest fighters in the world and his style will no doubt present some issues for Porter. Porter showed his true potential when he stuck to a busy but smart game plan in his last fight.
Porter’s last opponent was Devon Alexander, a solid fighter who is capable style wise to give many welterweights issues. He also clinches well on the inside, not allowing his more aggressive opponents like Marcos Maidana, to land in combination.
Porter did a great job not getting tied up and stayed busy out hustling Alexander. If he can stay consistent with his offensive attack I could see him pulling away in the 2nd half. Focus is the question that remains versus a guy like Paulie, who will do his best to offset Porter’s aggressiveness.
How will Porter react when he can’t land his power shots early on? Will he remain patient or will he begin to lung and reach with his punches similar to his fights on the way up the ranks? Maybe Porter has turned the corner and developed his game on both sides.
He is very quick handed with a jab that when used properly can set up his left hooks and uppercuts. Porter can get wide and lunge when punching from a distance especially with his overhand rights.
When he straightens his punches out and delivers them in quick combinations, mixed in with his natural athleticism, Porter becomes a real force. His footwork allows him to jet in, score, and get out with good head and upper body movement.
Both fighters have the ability to counter punch but it will be Paulie trying to counter the more aggressive Porter.
Paulie should get off to an early behind his jab and movement. By the fourth or fifth round it will be interesting to see if Porter has been able to effectively cut off the ring. He may be able to close the gap but will he allow Paulie to smother instead of being first on the way inside.
Porter can box a bit and pressure which he may need to mix and match considering much of this fight could take place in space.
We know what Paulie can do to straight line fighters, something Porter has fell victim to in the past relying solely on athleticism.
This fight is yet another reason why I love boxing. The sport is full of what if questions and to me it’s very intriguing to see fighters mature right before your eyes.
If the Porter that came focused versus Alexander shows up to this fight I believe his activity and being the aggressor will be enough to win a 7-5 type fight.
Will Showtime shine in his big moment against a respected name in the sport? Or will he slip back in too old habits allowing frustration to take hold?
Paulie will think he won a fight that he led early and closed it out strong. If he comes up short a loss should knock him too far down the ladder in a very crowded Al Haymon/Golden Boy Promotions welterweight roster.
My official prediction is Shawn Porter by split decision