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On Saturday, December 7, 2013, live from the Barclays Center, Paulie Malignaggi (33-5, 7 KOs) was crowned “The King of Brooklyn” after he easily dominated Zab Judah (42-9, 29 KOs) in a 12-round Welterweight fight.
Malignaggi began the fight by establishing himself with the jab, finding his rhythm and dictating the pace.
Judah landed a solid left hand that knocked Malignaggi down, which he contested to the referee. He believed it was caused by Judah’s foot, and was upset because of the referee’s call.
Eric Brown, his trainer, advised him to keep his composure and continue his game plan. Malignaggi continued the rhythm he established in the first round and took it into the twelfth and final round.
Malignaggi’s quick jab made Judah gun-shy from the start, and any counterpunches he threw seemed to be too slow to hit Malignaggi. Judah made a last-minute effort to be aggressive in the twelfth round, but Malignaggi once again re-established the jab to control the fight.
Malignaggi believed he needed “to back him up because he doesn’t fight so well backing up.” In regards to what the referee deemed a knockdown, he stated, “That was bullshit!”
Malignaggi admitted that he thought of hanging up his gloves after his fight with Adrien Broner. However, after getting a call from Sam Watson and Al Haymon, Maligaggi agreed to fight Judah in the hopes of landing bigger fights in the future.
The televised event began with a championship fight between WBC Super Middleweight Champion Sakio Bika (32-5-2, 21 KOs) and Anthony Dirrell (26-0, 22 KOs).
The fight began with Bika jabbing and throwing looping hooks that nearly always missed. Dirrell, who was on his back foot for the first two rounds, easily ducked and slipped the punches.
By the third round, Dirrell landed two strong right hands that staggered Bika. As his confidence grew, he became more willing to stand in front of Bika.
By the second half of the fight, Bika began to look better. It was Dirrell’s first time going past eight rounds and it showed.
Bika began to land with more frequency, but was forced to make it an ugly fight as he wrestled and threw down Dirrell in the final round.
The fight ended in a draw and Bika was allowed to keep his WBC Super Middleweight belt, while an upset Dirrell walked away from the ring. Bika believed he won the fight, stating, “I was giving more pressure. I think I won the fight. I was busier.”
The second fight had Junior Middleweights Austin Trout (26-2, 14 KOs) and Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) in a 12-round technical exhibition.
It was Trout’s first fight after losing to Saul Alvarez and perhaps his loss forced him to come to this fight with an aggressive mind-set. However, it proved to be the wrong game plan from the first round.
Lara used his footwork to land jabs and straight left hands for the entire fight. As Trout came forward, Lara managed to land punches before Trout could counterpunch. By the eleventh round, Lara landed a strong left hand that knocked down Trout and punctuated his shutout victory.
Lara won the interim WBA Junior Middleweight title in a veritable boxing clinic. Lara stated that he believed he did better than Saul Alvarez in his fight with Trout. A fight with Alvarez may be forthcoming.
The penultimate fight had Shawn Porter (23-0-1, 14 KOs) taking the IBF crown from Devon Alexander (25-2, 14 KOs).
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Porter, the shorter of the two, began explosively. He landed an overhand right in the first round to stagger Alexander, and another in third round that nearly knocked him down.
It was clear that the game plan was to apply pressure on Alexander, who could not seem to find his rhythm. The referee complained that Alexander was holding too much, it showed that he was unable to deal with Porter’s pressure.
Porter applied pressure for most of the fight, but the explosiveness changed drastically by the later rounds. The fight grew more competitive, but Porter was still pushing the action. Porter managed to make the fight ugly, and did not allow Alexander to box.
Porter believed he was able to control the fight because “we always knew I’d be the better fighter” after moving down from Junior Middleweight
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