In his welterweight debut, Danny Garcia (31-0, 18 KOs) scored a 9th round TKO victory over Paulie Malinaggi (33-7, 7 KOs) in Brooklyn tonight. Promoted by the PBC and ESPN as a battle of Philly vs. Brooklyn, Danny Garcia methodically wore down the Bronx’s beloved son in a highly disciplined performance.
Neither fighter landed with great accuracy, but Garcia’s blows were almost always impactful whereas the light-punching Malinaggi could not land anything with effect against his opponent. Garcia had rightly taken a fair amount of criticism after two highly questionable majority decision wins over Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson. After an excellent run of victories against high grade opponents (Campbell, Morales X2, Khan, Judah, and Matthyse), a lot of luster had come off of Garcia after the Herrera and Peterson fights (a complete mismatch with Rod Salka between those two is barely worth a mention). Some of that shine may have been restored tonight.
While Garcia was the man moving up in weight, he was the obviously stronger man in the ring. Complicating matters for Malinaggi was an apparent loss of quickness and speed that can probably just be defined as age. As the fight wore on, both Malinaggi’s face and demeanor took a battering.
Onto the rounds…
Round One: Malinaggi’s legs are so far apart. There’s no way he can be well balanced. A jab to the chest sends Malinaggi backward. No harm done. Garcia lands a right that is not quite flush. Another straight right lands, but Malinaggi takes it well. A Left hook by Garcia at the end of the round just misses. Malinaggi did little.
Round Two: Garcia lands a left hook counter that again just misses. Garcia looks very comfortable in there. This is no repeat of the Herrera fight in the early going. Another counter right by Garcia. Malinaggi looks slow. Not a good sign. Malinaggi touches Garcia occasionally, but there is nothing on his punches and not nearly enough of them to bother his opponent.
Round Three: Teddy Atlas rightly points out that Garcia is not using his jab enough. Thus far it doesn’t matter, but it could if the fight extends. Garcia opens a cut over Malinaggi’s right eye. Garcia is judicious with his punches, but it’s clear what he’s throwing has steam on it compared to Paulie’s soft taps.
Round Four: Good straight right by Garcia. He is so much stronger than Paulie despite moving up in weight. Garcia is gradually imposing his will in the fight. It seems like he could push this whenever he wants to, but remains very disciplined.
Round Five: There is a large difference in sound when a Garcia punch hits home. Almost silence when Paulie strikes. The cut above the right eye is flowing again, but hasn’t been a problem thus far. The real issue is Malinaggi can’t impact Garcia with anything and isn’t boxing as well as he has in the past.
Round Six: While Garcia has landed a lot of solid shots, he still hasn’t struck Malinaggi with full force. A cut now opens under the right eye of Paulie. It’s getting messy in there. Excellent body shot by Garcia at the end of the round.
Round Seven: A right-left combo lands for Garcia. Malinaggi answers with some connects of his own, they just don’t move Garcia in the slightest. Malinaggi is doing nothing to the body. Thudding right to the body by Garcia. Decent left jab by Paulie. Garcia walks right through it like he has done all night. Garcia lets his hands go a bit at the end of the round. You wonder how much more of this Malinaggi wants to take. It’s readily apparent he can’t win.
Round Eight: Malinaggi presses and then is dissuaded by a counter left hook. Paulie looks old. Garcia finally throws a double jab. Both land. Hard right to the body with combos following. Garcia may be ready to force this. Big left hook pushes Malinaggi back. If Malinaggi wasn’t discouraged before, he has to be now. Paulie looks wobbly going to the corner.
Round Nine: Malinaggi does not look like a guy who is having a good time. The ring doctor looks at his eye before the round, but lets him continue. Malinaggi’s right side looks like it’s been left out in the sun all day. Garcia is completely fresh and Malinaggi looks beat, if still proud. Two left-right combos have Malinaggi hurt and another exchange sends Malinaggi stumbling backwards. Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. stops the fight with 20 seconds left in the round.
In a loaded welterwight division, Garcia adds another good name to an embarrassment of riches. There are a lot of fights out there for him (Thurman and Porter seem like good bets), and on the basis of this performance tonight, I suspect his next bout will be against stiffer competition. After all the trouble he had against a pure boxer like Herrera, he has to feel good about his clear victory tonight. In truth, it was hard to find a round for the “Magic Man” who all but announced his retirement in the post-fight interview. A move that can only be classified as a good one.