This weekend fight fans will get the whole kit and caboodle when it comes to the variety of fights and the style in which these combatants will fight with.
Showtime has a quadruple header this Saturday with the main focus of this article being the “Battle between Brooklynites featuring Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah, also including a very intriguing tilt pairing Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout.
Let’s start with the Brooklyn bred Paulie vs. Zab fight that makes plenty of sense as the headliner even with all the belts that will be on the line in the undercard fights.
Both men are coming off losses at the Barclays Center yet both managed to prove people wrong with their respected performance.
Who will come out on top in this crossroads fight at the welterweight division?
Zab finally proved to the whole world that he has become way more focused in his 30’s.
Something he showed us with the way he fought his last three rounds hurting Danny Garcia coming on late and strong as ever.
Too bad he didn’t fight that way the first 2/3’s of the fight.
With the well documented lack of power coming from Paulie one may think that we will see a more active and risk taking Judah. I am one of those people of that belief.
In fact this fight could have some similarities to the Paulie’s fight with Adrien Broner, with Zab trying to emulate Broner walking Malignaggi down behind his shoulder.
Not that it will be Zab’s only plan but we will see shades of it with more jabs setting up Judah’s straight left hand that still holds plenty of power.
It would be a mistake for Zab just to think he can go in their head hunting for one big shot on the count of Paulie not being able to hurt him.
He needs to use that jab to hide the left hand or right hook.
Can he cut the ring off on a slick and accurate fighter like Paulie Malignaggi?
Ultimately I think that is the key to this fight.
We all know both fighters have great jabs, are very fast, and have defense.
The power obviously goes to Zab but I’m not sure he should go out of his way trying to trap Paulie.
Zab after all is a guy who likes to box and move on the outside. He loves to counter punch and is in his comfort zone throwing a low output with high voltage.
It can be hard to make a guy like Paulie come to Zab because he knows he could fall into a trap just like the one he is attempting to set for Zab.
I bring up Broner walking down Paulie because I feel it’s the best method for Zab to score without taking too many risk. And by risk I mean risk of losing this fight by allowing Paulie to counter in a flurry and disappear like a ghost, not a risk as in he will get caught with a game changer.
Zab may not have to pay a huge price for his risk but it will affect him on the scorecards with the busy and clean punching that Paulie Malignaggi is capable of.
If Zab’s chases he will get out boxed and out hustled.
If he stays behind that jab chin tucked under his shoulder walking him down or literally even standing in front of him it will make Paulie less mobile and allow for Zab to land the bigger cleaner punch in the fashion Adrien Broner did that helping earn a close but clear win.
As long as Paulie doesn’t fight the way he did against Pablo Cesar Cano, with an over aggressive style he has a great chance to do what he does best.
It will be interesting to see if the “Magic Man” can score to the head not just the body of Zab Judah.
In his fight with Adrien Broner he was busy and in control early to mid rounds but was unable to crack the defense of Broner up top.
He did however put in a lot of early work to the body of Broner.
And then of course a topic that has to be discussed for the fight that takes place in Brooklyn and features public school attendees trying to become the first “Brooklyn King” of sorts.
Paulie has been known to get off the game plan and hot dog a bit only to get hit flush by a shot from losing focus.
But that’s nothing compared to the mental head case that is or has been “Super” Zab Judah.
It’s no secret that in the past Zab’s emotions have gotten the best of him. He could very well try to make a statement to the borough of Brooklyn, abandon the strategy, things he worked on in camp, and decide to load up on lefts.
Zab could get out worked and we know it wouldn’t be the first time Zab has been out hustled.
This is a true 50-50 fight.
It may not be for all the marbles at the weight class but it’s a very hard fight to pick for me.
Both men can fight very well in the middle of the ring where majority of this fight could take place.
In his fight with Danny it seems that Zab was losing when the action took place in the middle of the ring.
That said Zab was very weary of Danny’s power until he tasted it and found out he could take it.
Both fighters have issues when facing top level guys throughout their careers.
Both have shown decline in the last 3 years.
Both looked horrible and ready to hang’em up versus Amir Khan.
Both have bounced back with solid performances and shown flashes of the past or prime.
In the last few years Zab has faced the better opposition and every time he takes a step down below the elite level he passes that test with flying colors.
My official prediction is Zab Judah by Split Decision.
Moving on to the next 50-50 fight, something we have been spoiled with in 2013
Erislandy Lara is coming off an exciting scrap with Alfredo Angulo that saw him hit the canvas not once but twice only to rallying with a stoppage.
In his last fight Austin Trout loss a razor thin fight in the eyes of most to Canelo Alvarez.
This too close to call fight between two southpaws could go a variety of ways.
Trout I assume will be the busier of the two and will more than likely have to push the pace on Erislandy Lara.
The jab same as the Paulie/Zab fight is a weapon of choice for both, Lara being the more pure counterpuncher while Trout seems to be a mix of bag of offense and defense.
Counterpunching and defense can go hand and hand.
Not the case with these two skilled yet flawed (like all) fighters.
Although Lara can be deadly accurate with his counter shots he lacks fundamental defense. Lara will use his feet more than his head and upper body to stay away from offense.
He has a horrible habit of putting on the earmuffs when his opponent is in close or on the ropes letting his foe throw flurries with no answer.
We saw it in his fights with Molina, Martirosyan, to a lesser extent Angulo, and I believe we will see it at some point in this fight.
Austin Trout on the other hand is very busy for a defensive fighter in fact Paulie Malignaggi comes to mind just a bit.
He rolls with the punches and defends himself fairly well but he is not the natural counter puncher that Lara is.
Instead of covering up on the ropes he throw punches to get out something he did very well against Cotto.
The biggest thing that I took away from his fight with Canelo is how slicker Canelo was and how once Alvarez made that adjustment he had major issues landing clean shots, even when Canelo was trapped on the ropes.
If Canelo can out slick him why in the world couldn’t Lara?
Like several time in 2013, Matthysse/Garcia comes to mind, as I write and since this fight was made I have gone back and forth on picking the winner.
Not just picking the fight but what this fight will look like.
A slugfest probably not, a skills competition between two highly skilled fighters with moments of rage and flurries to steal the round is what this scribe thinks we will see.
I’ve seen Erislandy Lara struggle one too many times with guys that he should have beat.
My official prediction is a draw… just kidding I won’t go out like that but I guess it wouldn’t be a big surprise with Lara already having draws with Molina and Martirosyan.
My official prediction is Austin Trout by Majority Decision.
The other 2 fights should give fans plenty of blood and guts.
The fight of the night may be Sakio Bika vs. Anthony Dirrell.
Overall HBO and Showtime did a great job of matchmaking which should create action, suspense, and of course this is boxing, drama will rear its ugly head maybe in Germany were Darren Barker faces Felix Sturm who is very difficult to beat on the scorecards in his backyard like most.