The local kid Paulie Malignaggi takes on the Puerto Rican slugger and champion Miguel Cotto Saturday night at Madison Square Garden and live on PPV. This fight on paper and hopefully in the ring has something for everyone: a brash challenger vs. a strong silent champ, a quintessential boxer vs. a murderous puncher. Some think Malignaggi has bitten off more than he can chew and is in for a rude awakening. Some think Cotto’s days are numbered and Paulie’s speed and will make the champ look like a chump. This is how The Sweet Science writers see Cotto vs. Malignaggi.
Regarding the Paulie-Cotto fight, I've changed my mind about ten times as to who will win. One school of thought says that Cotto is too strong and powerful and will blast Paulie into the second row early. Another school, and these are people who know Paulie and have seen him from his days as an amateur, says that he is too quick and possesses the intangibles (good chin, technique, ring generalship – whatever the hell ring generalship is) to win a decision. I'll go with the New Yorker and say Paulie wins a majority decision and then spends two hours talking about it in the post-fight press conference.
Miguel Cotto has at times looked like a miniature Mike Tyson in blowing out the likes of Gianluca Branco, DeMarcus Corley and Mohamad Abdulaev. But those fighters have been stationary targets who stood in the center of the ring and traded bombs with the Puerto Rican slugger. Corley had the ability to box, but instead opted to brawl, and, after some brief success, paid the price. Don't expect the quick-fisted, smart Malignaggi to be so cooperative. Back in 1987, Marvin Hagler indeed looked marvelous against straight-ahead brawlers Thomas Hearns and John Mugabi. But when Sugar Ray Leonard came along, Marvelous suddenly looked old and slow. It proved the axiom that styles make fights true. Expect the same scenario Saturday. Cotto is by far the bigger puncher, but he is decidely slower than Malignaggi, and he'll become frustrated by his inability to land big punches as the fight progresses. He'll try to go to the body, but Malignaggi will simply tie him up and frustrate him some more. In the end, Cotto will be a bewildered, stunned loser, via 12-round unanimous decision. And boxing will have a new star.
Before his fight with Billy Conn, Joe Louis famously said, “He can run but he can’t hide.” I can’t translate that into Spanish, but I bet Miguel Cotto can. Like Conn, Paulie Malignaggi has fast hands and can box, but he doesn’t have the firepower to keep Cotto off of him or to test Cotto’s vulnerable chin. Cotto, slower but much stronger, will cut off the ring and will walk down his challenger. And eventually he will catch him. Cotto retains his title by late round knockout.
Miguel Cotto is a terrific puncher, can get a lot of punishment without going down and has beaten many top-ranked fighters. Paul Malignaggi has only a few KOs in his record, has never been seriously hit and has never faced opponents ranked in any top-10. But styles make fights and Paulie is very good at throwing fast combinations and moves continuosly. Cotto will have problems hitting him. Also, Cotto didn’t go the distance in most recent fights and who knows if he will be weaker and slower from the 10th round on. To win, Paul Malignaggi has just to keep away from Cotto’s blows. Paulie on points.
Luca De Franco
Cotto is both the champion and one of the better punchers in his division. Paulie has speed and ego in his corner. But his biggest win was over Denver's Donald Camarena, who has great potential, but he's not quite there yet. And how do you pick a guy with 22 knockouts to lose to a guy with five? Speed is the unknown quantity here, and though it might help Paulie survive 12 rounds, it's not quite enough. Cotto wins by easy decision.
Paul Malignaggi has the stuff to outbox Cotto, but not the guns to keep him away over the championship distance. Cotto will find the range late and score heavily. It'll be Cotto by late round (10th) TKO…As for Tarver-Hopkins, if Tarver's weight was up around 220 when he filmed Rocky VI, I've gotta' hand the fight to Hopkins via a ninth-round TKO. It'll be ironic, because that's just what happened to Roy Jones Jr. when he tried to shed 25 pounds after beating John Ruiz…Too much weight in too little time.
Malignaggi w12 Cotto – Okay, Billy Giles talked me into this outrageous prediction. I like Cotto, but he is slow-footed and he will not land too many punches. If Paulie's chin is anywhere close to his mouth, he will prevail.
Malignaggi has a clear advantage in speed, but it’s dubious that it can sustain him over 12 rounds without Cotto catching him somewhere along the way. Cotto by a late-round TKO, then. In the other principal bout, Duddy should handle Freddy Cuevas with relative ease, and we’d be surprised if it lasts more than four.
Not sure how Malignaggi made it to the headline of a PPV event considering who he has fought. He is a fast moving, and even faster talking, motor mouth who needs three whacks at it to turn a light switch “off.” Cotto won't know if the wind went by or if he was touched by Paulie and will keep coming forward cutting off the ring. It will take time, but heavy hooks to the liver and shots to the arms will gradually take their toll on the Brooklyn native and slow him down. Once PM slows down and Cotto starts to land Malignaggi will realize he bit off more than he could chew – at this point in his career. Cotto gets a late KO after Paulie looks good early.
Logic says Cotto is in a different league than Malignaggi, that it's almost a mismatch. Paulie will need to be flawless for 36 minutes in order to keep those heavy hands off him. Something tells me he will rise to the moment and be the King of New York come Saturday. Malignaggi by majority decision.
I haven't seen Malignaggi yet but from what I'm seen and heard, Cotto might have some difficulties with him. Might but I don't think so. Cotto UD12.
On paper Malignaggi should put up a gallant effort before getting stopped in his tracks by Cotto's power. But Malignaggi is no ordinary person. Nor is he an ordinary fighter. I'm probably picking with my heart rather than my head, but I believe Malignaggi is hungry and savvy enough to engage in the fight of his life and emerge with a decision victory in a highly entertaining scrap. Sometimes nice guys do finish first. Hopefully this is one of those times. Malignaggi W 12.
It may not be fair to Paulie Malignaggi (He seems a likeable wise-ass. Trade the spiked hair for a duck’s ass; he’d be Fonzy), I’ve only stumbled on a few rounds of him live — seen highlight clips, the cock-sure, fuhgeddaboudit interviews and heard the growing gym buzz from N.Y. friends who make him a live opponent. Fools gold? All I can think of is W.C. Heinz’s great novel, “The Professional,” written from the challenger’s point of view: the inhuman training, the sacrifice…24/7 around him — The growing confidence. The champ’s seen through the wrong end of binoculars…small, unthreatening – just another W. The way Conn viewed Louis…Chuck Davey, Kid Gavilan. The fight will have the same ending as the book; this time Cotto will be full size. It’ll be say-it-ain’t-so for Brooklyn fans. Cotto grinds-up Malignnagi in 7, after some early flash-‘n’-dash Camacho by the kid. It’d be a helluva lot more fun if Paulie wins; he’s a street-corner guy, like Pep and Graziano. Cotto has all the joy of Zora Folley.
Miguel Cotto vs. Paul Malignaggi should be a very exciting fight. You have a devastating puncher in Cotto, and one of the fastest, not to mention most underrated, fighters in the sport in Malignaggi. If Cotto finds Malignaggi, chances are that WBO Junior Welterweight title is staying right where it is. However, as “The Greatest Of All Time” Muhammad Ali would say, “You can't hit what you can't see.” If it's the 7th or 8th round and Cotto has not yet found Malignaggi, he can kiss that title goodbye. This fight will be exhilarating, no doubt. Call me crazy, because most people will, but I just have a gut feeling that Malignaggi's speed and boxing skills will dominate Cotto's stalking power style. Malignaggi wins an easier than expected UD.
Since winning the WBO Light Welterweight title in September of 2004, Miguel Cotto has rolled through his five defenses, ending all of them in nine rounds or less. While the undefeated Paul Malignaggi will prove formidable, this one will not go the distance either. Cotto by TKO.
Bless Paulie – I think his rap is refreshing and since I'm based in NY, I've seen him so much that familiarity has led to fondness. That said, I fear he may step in with Cotto, and Cotto will toss a bomb unlike anything he's experienced…I've heard from folks that Paulie has more pop (in sparring) than he's shown. OK. But I don't know if he has enough pop to put off Cotto. My heart says Paulie, my gut and brain say Cotto. But I'm rooting for Paulie. Go Brooklyn!