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Zab Judah Vs Paulie Malignaggi: OFFICIAL BOXING BREAKDOWN – Saturday Night Fight in the Bronx – Boxing News

By Geno McGahee

This Saturday, two former champions will clash. Zab Judah, 42-8, 29 KO’s, and his opponent, Paulie Malignaggi, 32-5, 7 KO’s, have traveled the same roads and they are finally crossing on Saturday night. Both fighters have held the light welterweight and welterweight titles. Both men have been good enough to earn the fights with the elite fighters in the game, but were unable to bring home the victory.

At this point in the game, the two fighters are jockeying for one more shot. Judah is 36 and Malignaggi is 33, and a loss here would be devastating, while a victory would be a temporary shot in the arm. It’s do or die and it will be rowdy crowd as the two do battle in the Bronx, the home of both men.

When Judah first came onto the scene, he was creating a lot of excitement. His speed, power and connection with Mike Tyson helped him get into the public eye and he made the most of it, beating respected opposition like Junior Witter (UD-12), Terron Millett (TKO-4) and Reggie Green (TKO-10), before having one of the defining moments of his career.

On November 3rd, 2001, Zab Judah would enter the ring, undefeated, in a long awaited unification bout with fellow light welterweight champion, Kostya Tszyu. Going into the fight, the majority of boxing experts were picking Judah because of his amazing speed to beat Tszyu and, in the opening round, it looked like he was going to do so with ease. Judah beat Tszyu from pillar to post and rattled him with regularity, but the lack of focus that would plague his career cost him dearly. He began playing in the ring and a right hand from Tszyu ended the fight in the second round. It was the first loss in the career of Judah and he didn’t take it well.

Judah threw his stool and choked the referee. Amazingly, Mike Tyson was there to calm him down, but the emotions were at an all time high and he kept trying to get at the official. It led to a suspension and stopped the whirlwind career of Judah, for the time being.

A move from light welterweight to welterweight would prove beneficial. Judah, after a debatable loss to the undisputed champion, Cory Spinks, would rematch a year later and knock him out in the ninth round. It was a focused and relentless Judah, but he would return to his old ways shortly after.

In a tune up for a Floyd Mayweather, JR., showdown, Judah took on Carlos Baldomir. Unfocused, Judah was beaten decisively, and lost a unanimous decision and the WBC title. Remarkably, Judah would hold onto the IBF title, which was enough to still get him into a PPV showdown with Floyd and that was the fight where he showed his true greatness. For the first half of the fight, Judah was winning and knocked Mayweather, JR., down. He would eventually lose his focus and then the strange would happen. After a low blow, one of boxing’s biggest idiots, Roger Mayweather, jumped into the ring and wanted to fight Judah himself. This could and should have been a DQ win for Judah, but the boxing gods shined upon Floyd. Judah’s father, who is also part of the biggest idiots of boxing club, also jumped into the ring to throw down with Roger. This led to a melee. To Floyd’s credit, he stayed in a neutral corner and watched while Judah participated in the brawl. Floyd would go on to win down the stretch and take the win home.

Losses to Miguel Cotto (TKO-11) and Joshua Clottey (TD-9) would follow, but Judah would still remain an attraction. An upset win over Lucas Matthysse would land Judah a fight with Amir Khan and that would not end well. Khan battered Judah to the floor in five rounds. Judah would get another big showdown with Danny Garcia in his last fight and he fought well, but lost a UD. The Garcia fight proved that Judah may be losing his speed, but his experience and ring smarts are enough to keep him in a game that is meant for the young.

Across the ring is Malignaggi, a fighter that didn’t start his career with a great deal of hype. His lack of punching power made him forgettable even with his quick wit and gift for gab. He would take an undefeated record into a fight with Miguel Cotto in June of 2006 and two things were apparent: Cotto was too strong and Malignaggi had a lot of heart. He took a tremendous beating, but was stalking the stronger Cotto at the end and still trying to win. It got Paulie on the map.

Malignaggi would rebound with an IBF light welterweight winning fight against Lovemore Ndou (UD-12). He would defend a couple of times before meeting up with British superstar, Ricky Hatton. The brawling style confused Malignaggi and would result in his first knockout defeat. Hatton would stop him in the 11th round.

Controversy would lead to more recognition. In August of 2009, Paulie would lose a UD to Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz, in a fight that he had clearly won. It was on national TV and millions of people witnessed a crime in progress. It boosted the stock of Malignaggi. He would avenge the loss and then get a shot at Amir Khan. He would be stopped in the 11th round in a non-competitive fight.

After an impressive five-fight win streak, Malignaggi would meet the “next big thing” in Adrien Broner and, remarkably, the fight would be close. Malignaggi used activity to be competitive and confused Broner at times. Broner would win a split decision, but the loss kept the career of Paulie moving forward and led to this showdown.

On Saturday night, Judah and Malignaggi collide and it’s going to be interesting. The favorite has to be Judah because of his power, but mentally, Malignaggi is stronger. He can keep his focus and stick with a game plan. If he can weather the punches, he may be able to steal the fight down the stretch.

Despite their long careers and brutal fights, both men have proven that they can at least test the best that boxing has. Judah did much better against Danny Garcia than anyone else has been able to do and Malignaggi tested Adrien Broner more than any other has thus far. Now these two step into the ring against each other.


Malignaggi, as skilled as he is and as much heart as he has, has proven to be an easier target in recent fights. Judah, despite his age, still is rather quick and extremely powerful and his punching power is jolting. He can end this fight at any time and it’s yet to be seen if Paulie can hold him off. As good as Paulie is, Judah could have been a special fighter had he been able to maintain focus in his fights. That talent should shine though and he should be able to track down Paulie late in the fight and stop him. Judah by TKO in 8.

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