Paulie’s No Willie

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[Sports: Boxing]

Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi retained his IBF Junior-Welterweight Title against Herman Ngoujdo last night in Bally's City Hotel Casino in Atlantic City by a unanimous decision. In reality there were many who felt that a "draw" was proper, while others felt that a "split decision" was better.  There were even people who said that an upset split decision victory for Ndougjo was justified. Who "woulda-thunk it," fans rooting against The Magic Man, but that's the way it was last night, including some boos.

Yes, Malignaggi did "talk the talk" but he couldn't "walk the walk" because he just does not have the talent to be successful at the same competitive level of all of those other 140 pounders like Ricky Hatton and Juan Urango.

Malignaggi did start Round 1 through Round 4 like his look-a-like predecessor, Willie Pep.  Then, Ngoujdo started punishing Paulie's body and staggering Malignaggi with vicious over-hand right hand jabs to the point of almost knocking him down and out.

Despite exhaustion and a severely cut left eye, gutsy Malignaggi weathered the Ngoujdo "glove storm."  He wisely listened to his trainer Buddy McGirt and rallied back with a blistering jabbing attack and occasional upper-cut which confused Ngoujdo and held back Ndougjo's aggression until the end of the fight.

The look of defeat was evident in Malignaggi's face until the end of the fight wherein the Decision was announced in Malignaggi’s favor.  His relief was obvious.  In my opinion, Paulie is really a beaten but brave fighter who was "allowed" to keep his World Title to defend another day.

“Now, I want to go after the big money fights with anybody in my weight class even if it's a rematch with Ndougjo who claims he won.  I know that I won," said Malignaggi in the post fight interview.  "I know that I was a little slow tonight but that is because I have been off for almost seven months and I was a little rusty.  So, I have to keep busy to look my best," he stated.

What's next for Paulie Malignaggi? The 140 pound field is wide open but he has to develop a better defense and more punching power because speed alone is not the answer when he comes up against boxer-punchers who can also punish your body.

Although, there is a facial resemblance and similar fighting style between Willie and Paulie, there is only “one” Willie Pep.  Pep had a record of 230-11-1 draw, with 65 KO's, while winning 63 straight victories which included Chalky Wright's Featherweight title, before losing to Sammy Angott. 

However, he went on to win another 73 straight fights before losing to the great Sandy Saddler.  So as I stated previously, although Pep and Malignaggi do look alike and come from the same hometown in Sicily, Paulie Malignaggi is no Willie Pep.

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