Paulie Malignaggi of Brooklyn, New York was fighting in his hometown on Oct. 20 at the Barclays Center, but the fans weren’t afraid of booing his 12-round split decision victory over Pablo Cesar Cano of Mexico.
Malignaggi was sent to the canvas in the 11th round, but still retained his WBA Welterweight Championship. Ironically, it wouldn’t have mattered if he even lost by a unanimous decision as he still would have retained his title.
Cano blew his chance at walking out of the ring with the championship belt after he failed to make weight for the fight. Also, the WBA has a rule which states that the champion can’t lose his belt even if he loses by decision.
Some boxing organizations will declare the championship vacant if a titleholder loses, but the WBA allows the boxer to keep his crown while the challenger doesn’t have a chance to win it.
While many people in the crowd thought he lost the fight, the champion didn’t agree. He said he thought he out boxed Cano and was in control of the action.
He gave Cano credit by saying he’s a warrior and was strong, but didn’t land a lot of shots on him. He added that he respects him even though he failed to meet the welterweight limit of 147 lbs. Malignaggi won the bout by scores of 114-113, 114-113, and 109-118.
Cano said he certainly didn’t agree with the decision and the fans know who really won the fight. However, the official judging proved just how fans may have had differing views. For two judges to score it 114-113 for the champion and one judge to score it 118-109 for the challenger means they must have been watching two entirely different fights.
The 31-year-old Malignaggi cut the left eyebrow of the 23-year-old Cano in the second round and the challenger’s corner men had a hard time stopping the blood flow, but it never got bad enough for the referee to halt the fight. The cut didn’t bother Cano and he responded by landing the heavier blows throughout the bout.
His right hand was effective and he staggered Malignaggi in the third round with one and then dropped him in the 11th with another. The champion beat the count and was then nailed again just before the bell saved him from any more punishment.
Malignaggi said he got lazy and that’s why he was decked. Cano landed 35 per cent of his punches as he connected on 262 out of 757. Malignaggi threw 826 and landed 217 of them for a rate of 26 per cent. However, Cano certainly landed with the harder shots.
Cano weighed the day before the bout at 147.8 lbs. and that .8 of a pound cost him a total of $50,000, which he paid to Malignaggi. It represented a third of his $150,000 payday. Malignaggi’s purse was $350,000, and reached $400,000 with Cano’s donation.
Cano also had to weigh in the morning of the fight and agreed that he couldn’t weigh more than 157 lbs. He made that no problem as he tipped the scales at 155.
Malignaggi said it was disappointing that it wasn’t a title fight and perhaps he wasn’t as motivated for the bout like he should have been because of it. He may meet Englishman Ricky Hatton in a rematch in the near future. Hatton beat the New Yorker in 2008 when he stopped him in the 11th round of a junior welterweight championship match.
Hatton retired after getting knocked out by Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, but has now announced a comeback bout in November against Vyacheslav Senchenko in Ukraine. Malignaggi beat Senchenko in April to win his title.
With the win, Malignaggi’s record goes to 32-4, with 7 KOs) while Cano’s falls to 25-2-1, with 19 KOs.