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Knockout Nation: Malignaggi Gets Redemption, Taylor Should Retire? Bradley, Mayweather-Pac Steroids? Lewis or Liston?

Knockout Nation Hits Talk Radio

Greetings, boxing fans! Yours truly will be a guest tonight on The Boxing Truth Radio Show (theboxingtruth.com) along with middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, NY boxer Joe Green, and HBO in-house judge Harold Lederman. Much thanks to all of you dedicated readers that have made this one of the top columns on the site. Be aware that the rest of the boxing world is taking notice of all of your insights and opinions.

 

The show begins live tonight at 9PM EST, and can be found through the live stream below. The show will also be archived if you happen to miss it. Check it out…

 

 

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Malignaggi Gets Revenge in Clear UD

Paulie Malignaggi (27-3, 5 KOs) made good on his promise to beat Juan Diaz (35-3, 17 KOs), taking a decisive unanimous decision in Chicago on Saturday (December 12).

 

Unlike their earlier controversial fight this year, Malignaggi clearly controlled the initial rounds with an authoritative jab, followed by a shoving left hook or fouling forearm if needed. Another nice weapon was the right uppercut, which consistently caught the rushing in Diaz and prevented the Magic Man from eating an abundance of hooks on the inside. These punches, along with Malignaggi’s reliable jab-straight right, befuddled the normally aggressive Diaz and resulted in a cut above the left eye.

 

Through the 4th Malignaggi maintained control, and at times blatantly clowned Diaz by leading chants and holding his glove to his ear ala Hulk Hogan.

 

 

Juan Diaz finally found his rhythm in the 5th. Instead of attempting to box, he charged through Paulie’s light punching and worked the body and head by tripling his left hook. Malignaggi stuck out his tongue to mock the Houston native, but his lack of activity and unwise attempts to trade with Diaz resulted in him dropping the round.

 

Diaz seemed to have the momentum on his side in the sixth before being caught clean with an outside right uppercut counter under his jab. Juan staggered, and stopped throwing any significant punches. Paulie, who hasn’t had a knockout since 2003 and never over an elite opponent, missed his KO chance by simply taunting and mocking Diaz for the remainder of the stanza.

 

The young fighters traded rounds until the 10th, when Malignaggi scored an incorrect knockdown. The Brooklynite clipped Diaz with a glancing right, but Juan’s glove never touched the canvas, causing the Baby Bull to protest in shock.

 

 

Knowing the hole he was in, Diaz finished strong in the 11th and 12th. In the former, Diaz got the left hook working again, despite Paulie’s taunting to the ringside commentators that he was blocking all the shots. Also, Diaz for the first time in the fight was able to regularly out jab the Magic Man. In the latter round, Diaz forced Malignaggi to trade furious hooks on the inside, a battle the power-deficient Brooklynite couldn’t win.

 

This time the judges were competent, giving Malignaggi the win by 116-111 across all the scorecards.

 

With a trilogy not immediately necessary with all the talent at 140, Malignaggi called in Juan Manuel Marquez in hopes of eventually getting a rematch with Ricky Hatton.

 

“I’d like to fight Juan Manuel Marquez since everyone is saying he should fight Ricky Hatton,” Malignaggi told HBO commentator Max Kellerman. “The winner can fight Hatton, I’ll go to England. With Sharif in my corner, I’ll beat Hatton worse than he beat me…I’ll beat Ricky easy!”

 

This was a good win for Paulie, who kept his mistakes to a minimum. When he needed to slow down for a breather, he made sure he didn’t take too much punishment, and at least fired back to keep Diaz from overwhelming him.

 

Marquez is still a question mark at 140, and who knows if Hatton will ever fight again. Those are the big money fights for Malignaggi, but competition-wise I’d like to see him take on Timothy Bradley or Amir Khan.

 

On Diaz’s end, he can look to rebound against a guy like Kendall Holt, or if he’s feeling ambitious try for payback against Nate Campbell.

 

Whomever he fights next, for now Paulie can bask in his sweet revenge to close out the year.

 

 

On the undercard, Victor Ortiz (25-2, 20 KOs) looked good in his first bout since being upset by Marcos Maidana, winning a technical decision in 7 rounds over Antonio Diaz (46-6-1, 29 KOs). Diaz was dropped in the 33rd, and the bout went to the scorecards due to a bad cut over Diaz’s left eye.

 

 

 

Klitschko Wins Over Disappointing Johnson

In HBO’s main event, Vitali Klitschko waltzed to an easy but mind-numbingly boring decision win over a reluctant Kevin Johnson.

 

For all of his pre-fight trash talk, Johnson was content to taunt Klitschko from the ropes while staying in a defensive shell. He pawed with his jab, and rarely threw lazy right hands.

 

For his part, Klitschko continually pressed the fight, but looked labored. His right hand had no snap, causing it to lose valuable power when he pushed overhand shots on Johnson. Still, that punch and his jab were enough to pile up points round after round.

 

The 12th round showed some entertainment, with Klitschko finally returning the taunts by holding his right hand straight up in the air before hitting Johnson. The bad blood spilled afterward, with Vitali staring down Johnson after the bell. Kevin took out his frustrations on Wladimir, shoving the younger brother when he attempted to cool off the tension.

 

 

And here we are back to square one. Who can beat the Klitschkos? At this point, HBO might as well throw as much money at them as possible to see if they’ll be willing to unify against each other. Yes, they’ve previously said it’ll never happen, but money talks. There are only so many American heavyweights they can smack around.

 

Timothy Bradley Dominates Peterson

WBO 140 pound champion Timothy Bradley (25-0, 11 KOs) continued to stake his claim as the best junior welterweight in the world with an impressive win over Lamont Peterson (27-1, 13 KOs).

 

Bradley stormed out in the early rounds beating Peterson to the punch with hard hooks to the body, and overhand/counter rights to the head.

 

Peterson was too slow with his jab and the overhand right stunned him several times in the 2nd round. That flaw wasn’t corrected by Peterson in the 3rd, and he was dropped briefly with a short right to the top of the head. Peterson was not deterred, and backed Bradley off with over 10 vicious hooks to the body in a great back and forth round.

 

The brutality continued in the 4th, with both combatants putting their heads on each other’s shoulders and ripping shots to the body. The round was fairly even, and each fighter showed signs of give under the assault.

 

Through the middle rounds, Bradley added more movement to his game, taking away Peterson’s best offense on the inside. From the outside, Bradley worked jab, lead left hooks, and lead straight rights to the body. Peterson’s defense prevented any of the serious punishment he took in the early rounds, but the champion’s movement and combinations kept Peterson confused. To compound his problems, Peterson also had to contend with a cut over his left eye. 

 

Bradley continued his whirlwind offense in the championship rounds. Even when Peterson landed a good right, he was almost always out landed 3-1 with hard hooks.

 

The final scorecards from the fight reflected Bradley’s exceptional execution, with scores of 118-110, 119-108, and 120-107.

 

Bradley was gracious to his friend and opponent, whom he felt brought the fight to him.

 

“He was beast, man. He made me fight like nobody else did ever in my career. He stepped up when he had to. I knew he was coming to fight. He put on a great show; he’s a tough fighter and the hardest I’ve faced to date.”

 

Timothy Bradley will be a tough assignment for anyone at 140. Let’s see who steps up.

 

Darchinyan Wins Comeback Bout

Vic Darchinyan (33-2-1, 27 KOs) rebounded from his recent loss to Joseph Agbeko with a highlight-reel KO over Tomas Rojas (32-12-1, 22 KOs).

 

Darchinyan had problems early with Rojas’s height (5’8) and southpaw stance, but crashed home a debilitating, swooping left hook to the jaw.

 

Rojas crashed through the ropes and nearly out the ring for a clean KO. Vic retains his WBC super flyweight title, and now looks for a return match against nemesis Nonito Donaire.

 

 

 

 

Lou DiBella Stops Promoting Jermain Taylor, Urges Him to Retire

Promoter Lou DiBella has released a statement relieving himself as Jermain Taylor’s promoter following the recent KO losses the former champion has suffered.

 

DiBella, who had been with Taylor before his middleweight title win over Bernard Hopkins, explained to support Taylor’s wishes to fight would make him accountable if he is hurt.

 

I informed him, as I do all my contracted fighters, that my goal was to help his secure financial stability for his family, maximize his potential, and leave our unforgiving sport with his health intact,” DiBella stated. “It is my belief that the continuation of Jermain’s career as an active fighter places him at unnecessary risk. While he is undoubtedly capable of prevailing in future bouts, I cannot, in conscience, remain involved given my assessment of such risk.”

 

“I wish Jermain all the best in his future endeavors. All of us at DiBella Entertainment hold Jermain close to our hearts and consider him and his family part of our family. We wish him Godspeed and continued health,” he closed.

 

Jermain Taylor is set to face WBA champion Andre Ward early next year as part of the Super Six super-middleweight tournament.

 

The bout will be his 11th straight against a former or current world champion. Since 2007, he’s gone 1-4, with 3 of those losses coming by crushing knockouts. 2 of those have been in his last 2 fights.

 

 

In that enough for Taylor to call it quits at 31, or do you think he still has something left?

 

 

Mayweather Camp Demands Strict, Random Drug Testing Leading to Pacquiao Showdown

Floyd Mayweather Sr’s rants about Manny Pacquiao using steroids were dismissed by many as being simple psychological warfare, but it looks like his son is taking no chances.

 

Knockout Nation has confirmed that Mayweather’s advisors have mandated that each fighter must adhere to random drug testing throughout their training camps.

 

The testing is said to be at Olympic level scrutiny (blood and urine sampling), and something Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe feels is justified for a fight of this magnitude.

 

“This is not a one way thing, it’s both fighters who are subject to testing,” Ellerbe stated to the Grand Rapids Press. “This is not Floyd saying this. This is me and Al [Haymon]. This is one of the biggest fights in history of the sport and the fans deserve it to be fair.

 

Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach theorized the reason for the testing is simple; Mayweather’s side fears Pacquiao’s power.

 

“Mayweather’s side wanted it because the expert over there, Mayweather Sr., says Manny is on steroids to get bigger,” Roach told ESPN.com. “I have no problem with the testing whatsoever. They can do whatever kind of drug testing they want. They’re scared of Manny and scared of his power. He’ll past any test in the world.”

 

Expect a lot more of this gamesmanship going into March 13.

 

 

Kelly Pavlik Returns December 19

Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik (35-1, 31 KOs) makes his return to the ring this Saturday (December 19) against contender Miguel Espino (20-2-1, 9 KOs).

 

This will be Pavlik’s first fight since recovering from a staph infection on his left hand.

 

The bout will be available on Top Rank PPV.

 

 

  vs.

Throwback Fantasy Fight of the Week: Lennox Lewis vs. Sonny Liston

Let’s be quite honest, Lennox Lewis was severely underappreciated during his title reign. Fans haven’t realized that until recently, now that the heavyweight division has remained in shambles following Lewis’s retirement in 2003.

 

On the other end of the spectrum is Sonny Liston, who remains an underrated champion due to his unfortunate fate of having his second title defense be against the man almost universally seen as the GOAT heavyweight, Muhammad Ali.

 

Although not a big heavyweight by today’s standards at 6’0, Liston was still one of the most intimidating fighters of all time. To go along with a glowering expression, Liston has a freakish reach of 84 inches, which accentuated a ramrod jab that he would literally punch through opponents.

 

He was found to have a strong chin, gutting out a decision loss with a broken jaw early in his career to Marty Marshall (which he avenged). Later, he survived bombs from power puncher Cleveland Williams to come back for KO wins in both their bouts in 1959 and 1960.

 

 

 

 Liston loved for fighters to come to him. On the inside, he battered his foes with thudding hooks and crosses. When they ran, his great jab often kept them off balance and incapable of initiating any serious offense.

 

Lewis, at 6’5 and over 240 pounds, is the most talented big man in boxing history. Calling himself a “pugilistic specialist,” Lewis was versatile enough to either win bouts decisively by brawling (Shannon Briggs, Michael Grant) or boxing (David Tua, Evander Holyfield).

 

His right hand power made even his most iron-chinned opponents reluctant to get inside. And when they did, they often found their power and energy being sapped from attempting to wrestle/bully a powerful 240 plus pound man.

 

So how do these two Top 10 heavyweights match up?

 

On Liston’s end, he’ll want to use his jab to close the gap and get inside Lewis’s guard. Although their reach is the same, Lewis was troubled badly in his fight with Ray Mercer, who met his jab with timing and speed. Liston is slower, so he’ll have to rely on timing. Ideally, he’ll want to stay at mid-range to prevent being clinched, and initiate the same offense he used to crush Cleveland Williams, and later Floyd Patterson for the title.

 

Lewis has suffered two knockout losses, so Liston would be confident that Lewis wouldn’t be able to handle his power for too long.

 

For Lennox, his blueprint is knowing Liston has trouble with movement. Even in victory (Eddie Machen), Liston often failed to cut off the ring effectively with lesser opponents. That flaw was exploited fully in 1964, when Ali countered him badly and took away his jab in that classic title winning upset.

 

Obviously, Lewis can’t move as fast as Ali or Machen, so he’ll have to combine strategies simliar from the Holyfield and Tua fights. There he used constant movement, but always coupled his step with sharp jabs and counter rights. Liston is shorter than Evander but taller than Tua. With his equal reach to Lennox, there will be danger. However, the stick an move strategy behind the jab will limit Liston’s offensive options. When Liston does get close, Lennox would be wise to clinch and lean his full weight on Sonny to tire him out.

 

 

 

 Overall, Lewis is the more complete fighter. Much has been made of Lewis supposed glass jaw, but over the course of his career he’s shown more often than not he can take a punch. And Liston’s famed power from the 50’s and early 60’s, when he was dropping fighter’s weighing mostly 190-200 pounds, won’t translate as well on a 240 pound man. Now, Lennox doesn’t have an “iron chin” like this clip claims, but it shows that he can take a punch.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a close one, but I feel Lennox Lewis takes it by a unanimous decision, probably 8-4 in rounds (116-112).

 

Your thoughts?

 

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