Tampa Bay Sports Day

Khan Invaded the Garden and could have spelled an end for Malignaggi

NEW YORK -The end may have come for Paulie Malignaggi Saturday evening at the WaMu Theatre at Madison Square Garden  The 4,412 fans in attendance, many among his supporters could not help “The Magic Man” stop an invasion from Englishman Amir Khan, who easily defended his WBA super lightweight title.

There may have been more interest coming from the various fights in the crowd. Supporters of Khan and Malignaggi went at it before the two fighters entered the ring Watching Khan, though take center stage for the first time on American soil took away the distractions from those who paid admission to stage their own fight.

So when referee Steve Smoger halted the bout at 1:25 of round 11.there was relief. Not because the fans would finally stop their war of words and trading of unauthorized throwing of fists.  There was that sense of relief coming from all corners. If the fight continued, the battered Malignaggi may have been seriously hurt.

The 23-year old Khan, (23-1, 17 KO’s) retained his lightweight championship with speed and power. He easily won all but one round, possibly losing the fourth. All three judges gave Khan every round prior to the stoppage, and at the end of round four the left eye of Malinaggi needed attention in the corner.

“No disrespect to Paulie,” said the 140-pound champion who plans on unifying the division. “Paulie is a great awkward fighter   I knew the last few rounds I was hurting him.  I used my speed and power and my jab. Me and Freddie worked on it,” he said about trainer Freddie Roach.

Of course no disrespect to Malignaggi, (27-4, 5KO’S) a slugger. The round before the stoppage he pleaded with ringside physician Ostric King to continue when the doctor wanted to stop the fight. He fractured his jaw a few years ago against Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden and went to war with the tough Ricky Hatton.

There was a harsh war of words coming from Malignaggi during the week leading to the fight. The hometown hero, from Brooklyn New York, and Khan almost traded fists during the weigh- in a day before the fight.

But it was no match for Khan who proved he can be a marketable commodity in the states. Afterwards, his promoter, Richard Schafer of Golden Boy Promotions was talking about Khan highlighting a card at the Garden in November. Khan has the supporters and could sell out the Garden main arena.

Future opponents could be undefeated champions Timothy Bradley or Devon Alexander. Mandatory challenger Marcus Maidana is also on the list as a potential next opponent.  Either fight for Khan would be a good match, and marketable for the Garden or another venue in the United States.

But you hear Khan, and where he would prefer his next fight to be held. ”I want to go home and fight in July,” he said referring to his hometown fans in the UK. “After that I want to fight all the big names. I want Maidina, Bradley, and Alexander. Bring them all on.”

Trainer Freddie Roach has no preference either. He has groomed Khan to adjust for any opponent, similar to what he does with his welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao. “He controlled the fight with the jab.” said Roach. “That was the key factor. It worked all night. We had a very good game plan and he stuck with it. I told him to finish him and he did it.” eHe controlled the fight with the jab,”

And for Malignaggi, there may be no other options. His promoter, Lou DiBella would like to see his fighter go home, hang up the gloves, possibly pursue a career as a television boxing analyst.  Malignaggi made over $450,000 for this fight and with the loss there are no other title opportunities coming his way.

It may no longer be “Magic Time” for Malignaggi in the ring and he could be a perfect guy behind the mike at ringside. In defeat there was the analysis. “He’s better than Ricky Hatton was,” said Malinaggi about Khan.

On the co main event Victor Ortiz (27-2-1, 21 KO’s)   the native of Ventura California  won a 10-round super lightweight unanimous decision over Nate Campbell (33-6-1,25KO’s),   Through four rounds it was a one- sided fight with Ortiz fighting inside and getting the best of Campbell.  At the end of the fifth it was Ortiz throwing punches in the ropes and Campbell failing to fight back

Coming off his win over Hector Akatore in February, Ortiz reiterated is plan to fight again soon, possibly on another Garden card that would feature Khan.  The story though was Ortiz taking it to Campbell in the fifth round. The two fighters had some words as they were throwing punches.

Said Ortiz, “He said to me, ‘you get me down you are going down with me.’”  That set the tone for what Ortiz wanted to do and that was trying to knock out Campbell. “My intention was to knock him out. He tried to use his experience against me. He’s very experienced,”

Also on the card, Brooklyn middleweight Danny Jacobs remained undefeated (20-0, 17 KO’s) stopping Juan Astorga (14-5-1, 9 KO’s) in the second round and won the NABF middleweight title..

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com