After a controversial decision that many felt was influenced by bad judging and officiating in August the first time they met, Malignaggi clearly outpointed Juan Diaz tonight on neutral ground. He won the fight 116-111 on all three judges' scorecards, and 115-112 on Bad Left Hook's card.
Malignaggi used speed, movement and a better-than-usual right hand to win the bout. He even hurt Diaz at one point, which seemed to legitimately stun even Paulie, whose jaw dropped before he even attempted to capitalize on it.
Malignaggi later got a controversial knockdown scored in his favor, as the referee felt Diaz's glove touched the mat. It may or may not have -- if it did, it grazed. It appeared to be a bad call on the live airing.
There's no controversy here, though. Malignaggi won this fight, and something else needs to be credited for that result.
Malignaggi was sharp tonight for much of the bout, especially early. But he was helped by some horrendous corner advice from Diaz's trainer Ronnie Shields, who saw a fight none of us watching were seeing. Shields was inconsistent, asking Diaz to do things he can't do (like out-jab Paulie), and changing his advice constantly on whether or not Juan should be doing what Juan does, which is bull-rushing and making a volume fight of it.
It's a sweet end to the year for Malignaggi, who was (as he said post-fight) counted out by many after last November's lopsided loss to Ricky Hatton. He put in two good performance against Diaz this year, winning the first in many minds, and winning this one clearly.
And once again, it was also an entertaining fight. Though neither man has a lot of power, their styles just mesh. They complement one another greatly.
Congratulations to Paulie Malignaggi, and hats off to Juan Diaz, who did his best tonight. Both of these guys have upped their stock by fighting each other twice.
On the undercard, Victor Ortiz stopped Antonio Diaz on a cut. Reports are that Ortiz looked fairly tentative in his comeback.