Photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing
The scheduled 12-round Welterweight fight marked Garcia’s official move to 147 pounds, though he had been fighting above 140 pounds since his fight with Rod Salka in August of 2014.
Garcia, 27, kept a relaxed pace throughout the fight as he calmly walked Malignaggi down with a strong jab and looping hooks.
“I need to work on shortening up punches and sticking with the game plan. My dad wanted me to be sharp and throw more straight punches,” said Garcia, who missed a lot of looping shots in the fight.
Despite the wide shots, the former lineal 140-pound champion dominated Malignaggi throughout the fight.
Garcia credits his win to a good game plan.
“He’s a crafty veteran with a great jab and foot movement. But I went in there and executed the game plan,” Garcia.
Good game plan or not, Garcia’s size and strength advantages were undeniably a factor as he could afford to cruise most of a round before picking his shots, which almost always landed and which were much harder than Malignaggi’s.
— RoundByRoundBoxing (@RBRBoxing) August 2, 2015
Malignaggi, from the very start of the fight, did not look like himself. The 34-year-old native of Brooklyn, New York did not show his signature jab as much, and he did not throw as many punches as he usually does.
This was not the Malignaggi who gave Miguel Cotto a tough fight several years ago and who even gave Adrien Broner some trouble later in his career with a busy assault.
“I wanted to dictate with my jab and keep him missing, so he’d second guess on throwing his power. The less power shots he threw the less power shots he could hit me with,” said Malignaggi.
Malignaggi threw enough punches to dictate the pace, and Garcia soon began landing power shots when he felt the urge to even throw them.
Then, as even Malignaggi admitted after the fight, a cut below his right eye boosted Garcia’s confidence, allowing Garcia to continue punishing Malignaggi.
“He cut me in the fourth and I think that upped his confidence. I never could get control of the pace though,” said Malignaggi.
By Round 6 and 7, Malignaggi looked defeated, but he wanted to go out on his shield. After Garcia upped his pressure in Round 8–throwing combinations to the body and head–the fight was at risk of being stopped.
By Round 9, after taking too much punishment in the eyes of the referee, the fight was stopped.
Some argued with the stoppage, but Malignaggi didn’t, and after another disappointing loss in his career, he may retire.
“I’m probably not fighting again. You hate to make an emotional decision. My career started in Brooklyn 14 years ago. If it ends in Brooklyn tonight then at least I ended it at home where I’m from and in front of the greatest fans in the world,” said an emotional Malignaggi.
As for Garcia, he will look to face other fighters in the division, though he hardly made an impressive showing tonight.
“Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter are great fighters in this division. If they want, we can make it happen,” said Garcia.
For now, that looks unlikely.