Malignaggi beats Judah in welterweight ‘Battle of Brooklyn’
Paulie Malignaggi said the trip to the ring for his bout against Zab Judah was an emotional one. After all, he was fighting a fellow Brooklyn native in their hometown.
Fortunately for Malignaggi, he was the borough’s best fighter on Saturday night.
"It definitely allows me to continue boxing," Malignaggi said after claiming a unanimous decision at Barclays Center. "With a loss, I don’t know if I wanted to continue."
The judges scored it 116-111, 117-110 and 117-110 in favor of Malignaggi (33-5) in a fight that had many in the crowd of 9,363 booing the lack of action. He won 10 rounds on the scorecards of Adelaide Byrd and Max DeLuca and nine rounds on Michael Pernick’s scorecard.
"This big win puts me in the right spot for a fight in the talented welterweight division," Malignaggi said.
Malignaggi said he now wants to fight the winner of the next weekend’s bout between Adrian Broner and Marcos Maidana, who will compete for welterweight crown in San Antonio. Malignaggi lost a split decision to Broner on June 22 in Brooklyn in a fight that was more known for its trash talking.
The build-up to this fight carried none of the trash talk as both fighters exhibited a healthy respect for each other, reflected in Malignaggi’s post-fight comments.
"Walking to ring was pretty surreal for me," Malignaggi said. "As a teenager, I’ve seen Zab fight and it was surreal because I was walking to the ring to fight Zab, not that I never expected that to happen, not that I didn’t expect myself to be successful but it was going to be very emotional for me."
Despite spending most of the night with blood on the left side of his face, Malignaggi did enough to win by landing 230 of 607 punches thrown, including 122 of 376 jabs.
It was the third loss in four fights for Judah (42-9), who is a five-time champion within the light welterweight and welterweight divisions. Judah landed 121 of 498 punches, including 67 of 386 jabs. But he lost for the second straight time at Barclays Center after dropping a unanimous decision to Danny Garcia on April 27.
"I was very motivated for this fight," Judah said. "I came to fight and so did Paulie. He did a good job of staying outside. It just wasn’t there.
"I have to step it up. It was a great opportunity, a great situation. I wanted to be the king of Brooklyn but I have to go back, put it together and see what’s next."
The fight was billed as the "Battle of Brooklyn," with Judah representing the Brownsville section of the borough and Malignaggi competing for Bensonhurst.
Malignaggi was dropped briefly at the 2:26 mark of the second round when Judah connected with a hard left hand. After unsuccessfully arguing with referee Michael Ortega, Malignaggi came back swinging and continued to throw jabs in the middle rounds while Judah constantly ducked the punches.
Judah’s best round seemed to be the seventh, when he started and ended with a number of body shots but was unable to finish them.
All three fights on the undercard also went the distance.
Shawn Porter (23-0-1) remained unbeaten and took the IBF welterweight title by outpointing Devon Alexander (25-2), 115-113, 116-112 and 116-112.
Erlslandy Lara (19-1-2) retained his WBA Interim Super Welterweight championship with a unanimous decision over Austin Trout (26-2), who dropped his second straight fight since retaining the light welterweight title by defeating Miguel Cotto last December at Madison Square Garden.
Lara briefly dropped Trout to his knees in the 11th round with a series of left hands and won the fight, 118-109, 117-110, and 117-110.
Sakio Bika (32-5-3) retained his WBC Super Middleweight championship by taking a split decision against Anthony Dirrell. Bika lost a point for a low blow in the 11th round and judges had the fight 114-112 for Bika, 116-110 for Dirrell and 113-113.
Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley, Riddick Bowe, former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress and Knicks forward Metta World Peace attended the fight.