The jab was fab for Paul Malignaggi in the main event at Barclays Center on Saturday evening. The left, pop, pop, from the Bensonhurst boxer made him the king of the pugilism hill, as his foe, Zab Judah of Bensonhurst simply didn’t work hard enough to convince anyone in the building that he deserved to win. The judges had it 116-111, 117-10, 117-110. I gave Zab just one round, the round in which he scored an iffy knockdown.
Judah pressed on the gas with three seconds to go, but all in all, he looked, sorry to say, old, not like the “old” Zab he promised this week. He couldn’t or wouldn’t get the gun out of the holster.
Paulie came in with a 32-5 record while Zab was 42-8. The NABF welter crown was up for grabs.
In the first, Paulie was busier. He worked to the body though Zab’s left may have been the hardest punch of the frame.
In the second, Paulie went down, a flash knockdown, off a left. He complained it was a slip. It did look like a leg was tangled.
In the third, they clashed heads and winced. A cut bled on Paulie’s left eye but he worked harder in the round.
In the fourth, Paulie dictated pace and distance with the jab.
In the fifth, Zab kept backing up against Paulie the stalker. Paulie was busier and won the round. Again.
In the sixth, the man who worked harder won it.
In the seventh, Paulie worked harder, though Zab tried to steal the round with a body shot at the bell. Zab pawed at his right eye at one point.
In the eighth, Paulie’s jab won him the round. Zab watched and looked for that perfect opening, while Paulie worked. In the ninth, Zab took another round off and let Paulie dictate.
In the 10th, the boos rained down, mostly aimed at Judah, who didn’t and maybe couldn’t get off.
In the 11th, Zab watched and waited, all round long. In the 12, Paulie stayed smart, avoided the odd straight left and waited for the cards, after Judah pressed him hard with two seconds left. The two jawed after the final bell, and we went to the card.
Check out footage from the postfight presser here, on the Boxing Channel, which, if you don’t, is the destination for video content fightweek, fightnight, and for postfight wrapup.