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This Could Be Last Call For Paul Malignaggi…Or His Best Pro Win

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There is more interest in this one than maybe would ordinarily be the case, being that Danny Garcia hasn’t looked all that thrilling in awhile.

But what makes the Garcia vs. Paul Malignaggi fight a sort of must watch, in my book, is the possibility that yes, this could be last call for Paulie.

No, not indulging in any hyping up hyberbole here– guy debuted 14 years ago, he has some mileage on him, and while his pride is fierce, the wheels ain’t what they were, and the fists, they haven’t been hammers ever, really, and less so since they broke on him six or so fights into his pro career. Really, coming off a fight in which he got manhandled pretty good, it doesn’t take a leap of logic or theorizing to think that maybe a Danny Garcia at 147 might crack like the guy who beat Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse…which could mean Paulie might have a flashback to the night Shawn Porter whacked him around good. That leaping left hook which hurt him bad in round two, no, I don’t think Garcia closes a distance as quickly as Porter, so I don’t see him getting caught with that same launch…but the prospect of a left hook landing flush, no one close to the talkative Brooklyner wants to see it…

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Hey, don’t take my word for it, I’m not mind-reading here. This is what Paulie said at the press conference today, at BB King’s in NYC, which helped hype the Saturday PBC on ESPN card, which takes place at Barclays Center, and is being promoted by Lou DiBella.

“It’s been an emotional camp,” the 34 year said. “I find myself thrust back into the limelight of a major fight when it was least expected. The question marks and doubts come up in my mind and that’s made it emotional.”

OK, he didn’t go into much depth there…but you have to think he’s thinking about the Porter fight, the headaches afterwards, that painful pulsing which had him contemplating no mas. It was the sort of whupping which had him wondering if maybe Porter wasn’t on the up and up…

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It was the sort of situation which had him thinking, maybe I should be Paul Malignaggi, analyst, ex prizefighter.. that had to pop into his mind once or twice…

Eyes will be trained on him, his reflexes, how he reacts if Garcia’s left hook finds him flush.

Does he slip it?

Does he roll with it? Can he still be light enough on his feet to get out of harms way?

Or does it land clean, and cause a flashback?

Time will tell the tale…this could be Paulie’s last stand..or, probably, his best win as a pro.

Time will tell if the prizefighter portion of his life is at an end…or if what he said today–“Quietly but surely, I’m very confident about Saturday night. I’m bringing my best”–is the gospel.

Here is the release which went out today, with more quotes from the principals:

NEW YORK (July 30, 2015) – Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN and undercard fighters held a final press conference Thursday at B.B. Kings Blues Club & Grill in Times Square as they near their Saturday, August 1 showdowns at Barclays Center.

The event is headlined by undefeated star Danny “Swift” Garcia (30-0, 17 KOs) as he makes his 147-pound debut against two-time world champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KOs). Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. as middleweight world champion Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs (29-1, 26 KOs) defends in his hometown against former world champion Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora (28-3-2, 9 KOs).

Here is what the participants had to say Thursday:

DANNY GARCIA

“We had a tremendous camp, I’ve never felt so strong in my life. For the first time in my career I can actually train to get better.

“We’re just focused on training. We did everything in camp – we even chased chickens.

“I accomplished a lot at 140-pounds and I’m going to do a lot at 147. On Saturday at Barclays Center you’re going to see a spectacular Danny Garcia.

“I want to be known as a great Philadelphia fighter and a great Puerto Rican fighter. I’m the first Puerto Rican from Philly to ever be a world champion. I have the Philly skills and toughness with the Puerto Rican blood, it’s the perfect mixture.

“I’ve watched Paulie fight my whole career. He’s a tough veteran and I’m sure he’s got some tricks up his sleeve. I just have to go in there and stick to business on Saturday night.

“Barclays Center is my home away from home. We have a nice routine when we’re in Brooklyn. We keep it simple.

“I pay attention to the positive things in my career and that’s getting in the gym and working hard and getting better. That’s my main focus.

“Everything is better at 147. I feel stronger. My form feels good. The footwork is great. I can eat regularly now. Still disciplined but it’s a lot easier.”

PAULIE MALIGNAGGI

“For Danny’s team, it’s only about him and for me it’s all about myself. My best versus his best. This is a big opportunity from me, professionally and personally. My career started 14 years ago in Brooklyn and people think it’s going to end Saturday in Brooklyn, but I’m not letting that happen.

“It’s been an emotional camp. I find myself thrust back into the limelight of a major fight when it was least expected. The question marks and doubts come up in my mind and that’s made it emotional. I work hard every day. I’ve quietly had one of my best training camps

“There are no excuses here. Saturday night is the best of Paulie Malignaggi. I look forward to testing myself against the best Danny Garcia. I’ve always loved and relish the big names and the big opportunities.

“Sometimes I lay in bed at night thinking about matchups between fighters. Now I’m thinking of myself in that conversation and we’ll fin out on Saturday how I stack up.

“Quietly but surely, I’m very confident about Saturday night. I’m bringing my best.”

DANIEL JACOBS

“This is another great opportunity to showcase my skills. I’m on a good knockout streak and I feel confident about this fight.

“Sergio Mora is a Rubik’s cube, you have to figure him out. He’s crafty and I have the utmost respect for him. I’m 100 percent confident in my ability to go out there and put on a good show

“I hear Sergio is coming here to knock me out and if that’s the case this is going to be a real exciting fight. I look forward to it because I’m coming forward and if two guys are doing that it’s going to be a great fight.

“I’m excited to give these Brooklyn fans a great fight. I love being at home and seeing all of the familiar faces I’ve seen since the amateur days.”

SERGIO MORA

I’m excited to fight at Barclays Center. Brooklyn is beautiful and has great fans. Lou DiBella is about to have another fighter named Sergio as a middleweight champion after Saturday night.

“I think this is going to be a really successful fight because of all the stars up here. It’s a great event for boxing fans.

“I’m a grown man now and I’m looking to become a two-time world champion. This is my third time at a middleweight title shot but the first time an opponent showed up. I’m excited and ready to go. I’m thankful for everyone who has opened the door for me. This is it.

“Daniel is strong in the ring. He’s a powerful, confident champion. He’s not used to losing and he’s used to hitting his targets, but I’m the total opposite of that. It’s going to be tough for him.

“Until he gets in there with me and realizes how tough I am, then he’s going to realize he has a challenge coming to him. I want to take him out of his element.

“It’s a big burden to be a hometown fighter and he’s going to realize that. It’s detrimental to be fighting in your hometown and I think he’s too young to realize that. It’s going to be to my advantage on fight night.”

ANGEL GARCIA, Danny’s Father & Trainer

“Danny had a great camp. It was an awesome camp and he’s going to make a lot of noise. We’re not taking Malignaggi lightly, but we’ve come to win. We don’t come to lose.

“It’s not about Malignaggi, it’s about Danny. People can say whatever they want to say but we’re coming to make noise at 147. We’re not running from anybody.

“I promise you Danny will be the world champion at 147. I’ve seen visions of it. This is going to be a great fight and then after that anybody can get it.”

LOU DIBELLA, President of DiBella Entertainment

“I’ve known Paulie Malignaggi since he was a teenager and won the nationals in a big surprise to people. He turned pro on one of my shows and one thing I know about him, it’s that he’s not going to back down from a challenge and he’s going to give it 110 percent on Saturday.

“Danny Garcia has been a dominant force in the 140-pound division. He’s won fights by stunning knockout and he’s won by decisions. He always finds a way to win. That’s what he’s planning to do on Saturday night.

“Sergio Mora is here to challenge for another world championship. He comes in on a good streak of impressive wins. He’s always been known as a boxer and he’s been in the ring with the best fighters in the world.

“Daniel Jacobs is one of the best guys in boxing. His story of perseverance is one that has been told many times. He’s a young, strong champion looking to show that he’s got what it takes in the ring as well as outside of it.

“This is a fantastic card featuring four great fighters from Brooklyn on the undercard. We’re going to open the doors and immediately start with these great fights.

“This will be Heather Hardy’s fourth fight at Barclays Center and she will be joined on the undercard by Polish heavyweight from Brooklyn Adam Kownacki, who is looking to make some noise in the division.

“Rafael Vasquez has a truly inspirational story. He uses boxing to draw attention to the cause of autism and his wife who is battling courageously against cancer, and winning. I really want to see him get a world title shot, because his life has been a battle that he takes on with courage every day.

“We also have a terrific prospect in Prichard Colon from Puerto Rico. He’s undefeated and really an exciting guy to watch in the ring.”

BRETT YORMARK, CEO of Barclays Center

“It’s our 14th big night of boxing in Brooklyn and we’re really excited about it. It’s a business we’re committed to and one we want to grow. Our goal is to go monthly with big events at Barclays Center.

“With Paulie and Danny, it’s a big night to have them back at Barclays Center. It is the fourth time for both and they both represent Brooklyn so well.

“I want to welcome Sergio Mora for the first time and we’re excited to have you in Brooklyn.

“As we’ve told Danny Garcia before, this is his second home and we’re happy to have you and your father back.

“We’re excited to be on ESPN, because they provide an incredible platform for these fighters and the sport as a whole.

“We expect a great crowd on Saturday night and we look forward to an exciting night at Barclays Center.”

For more information visit www.premierboxingchampions.com, www.barclayscenter.com and www.dbe1.com. Follow on Twitter @PremierBoxing, @DannySwift, @PaulMalignaggi, @LouDiBella, @ESPNBoxing, @BarclaysCenter and @Swanson_Comm and become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/PremierBoxingChampions, www.facebook.com/fanpagedannyswiftgarcia, www.facebook.com/PaulMalignaggi, www.facebook.com/barclayscenterand www.facebook.com/ESPN. Follow the conversation using #PBConESPN and #BrooklynBoxing.

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Tanaka vs. Kimora: A Monday Morning Treat For Serious Fight Fans

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Kosei Tanaka was just 4-0 the first time he was appraised on The Sweet Science back in 2015; the question then was, is Tanaka the world’s brightest boxing prospect? The question now is whether or not Tanaka is about to add a strap at a third weight to an already glittering career that has seen him annex belts at 105 and 108lbs in just his first eight fights.

Now 11-0 with seven knockouts he prepares, this coming Monday, to duel Sho Kimura in Nagoya, Japan and with a lot more than just the WBO trinket on the line.

Hearts and minds, as always, translate into dollars and yen. The winner of this all-Japanese contest will find himself buoyed in fame, glory and gold in his home country, which also happens to be one of the few places on the planet where a boxer can collect a small fortune without ever leaving his native shores. Should the winner dare to dream a wider dream, then that too can be facilitated by the win.  Even fistic denizens of boxing strongholds in Japan and Britain feel a shiver run down their spines when the words “Las Vegas headliner” are whispered into their ear.

The favored man among the hardcore in the west is Tanaka. He is still very young at just twenty-three years old and is slick and quick, what the west expects of a Japanese force. Interestingly enough, however, the Japanese seem to be leaning towards Kimura: older, at twenty-nine, armed with a superb work-rate, good power, limited technique but the conqueror of Chinese superstar Shiming Zou who he stopped in the summer of 2017. Zou may have had his bubble burst by the Thai brawler Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015, but it was Kimura who sent him stumbling into retirement and at a time when the talk was of China stealing Japan’s thunder as boxing’s home in the east.

Kimura was indeed impressive that night in Shanghai. He maintained pressure with wonderful variety, eschewing the jab, perhaps, for spells, but filling those gaps with an assortment of wonderful punches, most of all his body attack, which was persistent, withering, and apparently went unscored by two of the three judges who somehow had the Chinese ahead at the time of the eleventh round stoppage. Zou had shown a skill for flurrying while fleeing and Kimura had shown him how to fight.

Now a strapholder at 112lbs, Kimura staged two defenses in the following twelve months. The first was against Toshiyuki Igarashi, the man who beat Sonny Boy Jaro, the man who had beaten the superb champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam before a softer fight against Froilan Saludar. He won both by stoppage.

Kimura, then, rather came from nowhere but made the most of his arrival. What he displayed in all three of these fights was a determination to offer pressure and footwork educated enough to do it while taking many fewer steps than his harried opponent. A tad overrated as a puncher, I suspect, he places himself in hitting position often enough that his default fight plan – chase, harass, throw – makes him capable of hurting his opponents by way of persistence and pressure.

He left Zou, Igarashi and Saludar, broken in his wake.

In short, he is the type of opponent Kosei Tanaka has been waiting for.

There have been calls for Tanaka to be considered a pound-for-pound talent should he overcome Kimura this Monday. I understand the impulse. Tanaka, were he to triumph, would become a three-weight world champion and he hails from a boxing territory which has little direct control over the meaningful pound-for-pound lists, if such a statement is not a contradiction in terms.

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

Tempering these calls is the fact that he has never beaten a divisional number one and that Kimura would be, by far, the best opponent he would have bested, and the most proven. Some Tanaka opponents have come good after he defeated them, some were ranked in the lower reaches of their respective divisional top tens when he matched them, but none are scalps as impressive as those dangled by the likes of Errol Spence or Anthony Joshua, who populate the nine, ten and eleven spots in reputable lists.

But this is neither here nor there; the key is not what Kimura does not represent, it is what he does represent. He is the best that Tanaka has met and, I would argue, the first truly elite fighter that Tanaka has met. He is the litmus test and he is one with a stylistic advantage.

Tanaka can punch. Here we will find out whether or not he punches hard enough to keep Kimura off him. Personally, I doubt it and that means that Kimura is going to hand him a serious gut check.

Interestingly, it will not be Tanaka’s first. The first time I wrote about him I stressed that his chin was essentially untested. That is no longer true. Tanaka, who is reasonably sound defensively, can be lazy in minding himself and foolish in pursuing the attack.

Thai puncher Rangsan Chayanram checked him in 2017, delivering a serious eye injury among other ignominies before succumbing in nine; puncher Angel Acosta, a ranked fighter if not a great one, hit and hurt Tanaka repeatedly late in their 2017 contest. If Tanaka has been learning these lessons, expectations concerning his potential may be realized. If he is not, he will fall short. Kimura is the man to test him.

Kimura’s experience and seemingly limitless twelve-round stamina are to be pitted against Tanaka’s skill, proven heart and taut footwork. It sees a superior technician – Tanaka – who has shown a propensity for being drawn into a cruder fighter’s wheelhouse matching an aggressive stalker – Kimura – who specializes in drawing technically superior foes into knockdown-drag-out scraps.

It is framed both as a fight that is likely to finish a future pound-for-pounder’s education and a fight where a young pretender is found out by a grizzled veteran.

Best of all, it is a fight that fight fans can watch for free, simply by clicking here.  The Asian Boxing website has secured exclusive international rights to the fight and will broadcasting it, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. As can be seen here, the fight is due to start at 4pm Japanese time.

All the reader has to do is find out what that means for timing in their own corner of the globe and a potential fight of the year will unfold before his or her eyes free of charge.

World class boxing being broadcast for free and including two of the best below 115lbs; a stylistic crossroads contest that opens up the on-ramp to pound-for-pound recognition for at least one of the combatants – on a Monday.  All facts worth keeping in mind the next time that someone tells you boxing’s prime was any number of decades ago.

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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