By Lee Payton
I wish I could say that last night's Boxing After Dark, which featured Juan Diaz and Paulie Malignaggi in a 12 round fight, was a hit. Many fans, myself included, had very low expectations for the 3 fights on tap, and while the ring action did surprise a little bit, 2 scorecards delivered by veteran judges Gale Van Hoy and David Sutherland ruined the evening for me.
I'll get the bitching and moaning out of the way quickly...
In my opinion, those gentlemen should be required to go back to school. Van Hoy scored the main event an inexcusable 10-2 for Diaz, and Sutherland scored a 10-0 shutout for Daniel Jacobs. Utter nonsense. I'm not going to sit here and say that both men are corrupt, but I will say that they are completely untrustworthy and therefore, essentially useless. This kind of thing happens far too often in boxing. It seems like there's at least one totally whacky card every week, doesn't it? That should not be happening.
Now for what went down in the ring...
First of all, I have to give props to Paulie Malignaggi for proving me wrong. He handled himseld like a real pro to give Diaz all he could handle. I was very impressed with his punch output, conditioning and discipline in particular. He came into the ring with a realistic plan and was physically prepared to make it happen for 12 rounds.
The brash New Yorker used his superior quickness to get off first with nice jabs and 1-2-3's that he sort of flicked out there. Turning to his left all night after doing his thing was an effective tactic that held Diaz' hands back for the most part. I find the fact that he threw about 200 more punches in the end to be astounding. Who saw that coming?
I don't think this was necessarily bad Juan Diaz, just that quick movers make his own lack of foot speed stand out. When he could get Paulie to sit still for a second he did some of the solid work to the body we're used to, but he just couldn't pin his man down with much consistency.
Another problem I saw from the get go was how left hand happy he was in this fight. It's true that his left is dominant, but when you have a guy moving to your right all night long... throw it!
There has been some passionate discussion over the somewhat wide verdict that went Diaz' way. From what I have read, most fans seem to think he got a hometown gift. I didn't score it on paper, but I didn't really have a problem with the winner. I could see it 7-5 either way. A draw would have been a fair call.
However, I think it's safe to say that there was no way Malignaggi was getting a decision in Houston, based on the official cards. That's wrong.
This is why I don't put a whole lot into decisions when assessing a fighter's career. Wins and losses are ink on paper. The fights tell the real story.
As of right now, perhaps Diaz walks away having lost a little bit more than the man he officially beat.
Guerrero's wind was impressive. The man obviously worked his ass of in training and it showed. He's got a brand new world title because of his commitment to the sport. Congratulations to "The Ghost".
Malcolm Klassen can fight. I think he'd be more fun against a guy who will stand a trade more.
Ishe Smith is easier on the eyes now that he's a seasoned vet. Coming right at a guy like Jacobs took guts. If he had just a little more pop...
I love listening to Eddie Mustapha Muhammad work a corner.
Even though things didn't exactly go the way Daniel Jacobs planned, I came away impressed. He's in damn good shape and seems to have a fighters brain. Looked very natural in there.
Email Lee Payton
Sunday, August 23, 2009
By Lee Payton