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The West Coast of Paul Malignaggi AVILA



Paul_Malignaggi_downtown_by_Katphoto by Kat

Brooklyn’s Paul Malignaggi moves through the streets of Los Angeles with the same ease he glides in the boxing ring. But things are different in Southern California than in New York for good and bad reasons.

“People can’t drive here,” claims Malignaggi. “But things are more laid back.”

No sooner than a flip of the coin Malignaggi (28-4, 6 KOs) has made Southern California his training base as he prepares for a showdown with Jose Miguel Cotto (32-2-1, 24 KOs) on Saturday April 9, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The fight will be shown on HBO pay-per-view along with several other captivating bouts.

The former junior welterweight world champion now fights as a welterweight and recently signed a contract with Golden Boy Promotions. A new world has opened up for the self-energized Brooklyn speedster.

“It’s a breath of fresh air,” he says.

Fighting professionally has never been easy for anyone who lacks knockout firepower. First, you need to protect yourself, second, you need to convince judges continually that you’ve out-pointed the opponent, and third, fans are very fickle about a boxer without knockout power.

It’s an art form that Malignaggi has mastered.

Throughout the history of professional boxing those fighters who knock out people are the ones more revered and idolized. Few remember the technical masters who simply beat up opponents unless they’re truly great.

Think Benny Leonard, Willie Pep, Max Rosenbloom, Wilfredo Benitez or Ivan Calderon. What these boxers and other accomplished by their pure skill cannot be measured. Can you imagine stepping in the ring against killers like Tommy Hearns and knowing that you need to win by decision while averting blows that could decapitate a horse?

Malignaggi has survived vicious wars with the likes of monstrous hitters like Edner Cherry, Lovemore N’Dou, Herman Ngoudjo and of course Miguel Cotto. Ironically, he now faces Cotto’s older brother Jose.

“When I fought Miguel, I was promoting the fight and I said I’m going to beat all the Cottos,” said Malignaggi, adding that he was joking and had to hype his own fights with verbal attacks and self promotion to gather interest. “I was just kidding. But this guy took it personal.”

Being disliked is also an art form for the Brooklyn speedster.

“It’s my (expletive)  mouth that’s kept me in the public eye,” admits Malignaggi who’s been approached by Hollywood entertainment agencies. “I like the attention. Unless you’re Latino you don’t get followed. Sometimes you have to be disliked.”

Malignaggi has always had the ability to self-promote through taunts and biting comments. It’s a rare feat that few boxers outside of Ricardo Mayorga, Floyd Mayweather, and Fernando Vargas have been able to accomplish.

Many fans hate Malignaggi and many fans like him. His talking can raise the ire of fans supporting his opponents and spark interest in his fights. It’s also ignited interest from Hollywood buzz makers and producers who like the New Yorker’s gift for gab.

Several Hollywood entertainment agencies are interested in Malignaggi for varying reasons including a reality television program.

“To get to this point it makes me feel blessed,” Malignaggi says. “If everything goes well I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.”

On Saturday, he’ll face the pounding fists of Big Cotto who nearly floored current WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez when they fought last year. Can he survive another battle that pits a 44 magnum against a 32-caliber?

When it comes down to it, skill should prevail and Malignaggi has shown he has an ample supply.

“He’s looking pretty good,” said Eric Brown who now trains Malignaggi.

For the past three months Malignaggi has been training at the famous Wild Card Boxing gym that is home to several of the world’s best fighters pound for pound. From the first day he was welcomed.

“They’ve treated me like one of their own,” Malignaggi says.

Of course don’t expect kindness from Big Cotto.

“He had this look on his face,” chuckled Malignaggi. “He’s serious.”

It’s another Wild West fight this Saturday in Las Vegas.

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura



The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.



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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score



This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.


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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland



On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda


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