Paul Malignaggi came back home, as he took on Mexican Pablo Cano at the Barclays Center on Saturday night, and Cano didn't come close to putting out a welcoming mat for Paulie, who was born five miles from the new arena. The WBA welter champ's belt wasn't up for grabs, because Cano didn't make the welter limit. If the champ won, he'd keep the belt, and if he lost, he'd also keep the belt. It turns out he won, by a split decision, but many in the stands booed, and leaned to Cano. One judge scored it 118-109 for Cano, while the others had it for Malignaggi, 114-113, 114-113 for the Brooklyner.
Cano had a cut on his left eye, from a punch, in round two. The Bensonhurst-bred hitter, age 31, pumped the jab, but he ate clean, hard shots in the second, though he still perhaps won it. In the third, Malignaggi fought well going backwards and forward. Cano bled fromhis nose and eye by the fifth, but still, he landed hard, clean shots on the Brooklyner.A clean right by Cano was a very showy launch, but was it enough to steal the sixth? The seventh was another tight round, but I was seeing Malignaggi being a little busier, outboxing the Mexican.The cut on the left eye wasn't looking that healthy. In the eighth, Cano kept up with the solid body work. The rounds were tight in the ninth and tenth, as Cano's heavier hands sent sprays of sweat flying off Paulie. In the 11th, down went Malignaggi, off a right in tight. He might have been saved by the bell from another knockdown. A cut formed under Paulie's left eye, but he was busy in the 12th. We went to the cards.
Paulie went 217-826 to 262-757 for Cano, in the stat war.