Mandatory Eight Count: Diaz-Malignaggi, Klitschko-Johnson and More

Juan Diaz and Paulie Malignaggi meet again this Saturday. (Photo via Golden Boy Promotions)

Judge dread: Will external factors influence the scoring of Diaz-Malignaggi II? (The Ring)
Eric Raskin wonders if judging will again be a factor in Saturday's Diaz-Malignaggi rematch, though in a different manner this time around: "Call it the "rematch sympathy" element. The judges in Chicago will be aware of what happened in Houston. They’ll know Malignaggi predicted a screwing and they’ll know their officiating brethren made his prophecy come true. They can be the most fair, unbiased judges on the planet, and human nature will still dictate that, even if only on a subconscious level, they’ll be susceptible to scoring close rounds for Malignaggi because they don’t want to see the same fighter get jobbed twice."

'Desert Storm' Faces a Tough Mandatory (Max Boxing)
Somewhat ignored on Saturday is Showtime's doubleheader, featuring Timothy Bradley going up against another young, hungry and talented fighter, Lamont Peterson. It's a very interesting fight on paper. Steve Kim talks about the matchup.

Kevin Johnson Promises To Stop Vitali Cold (The Sweet Science)
It's either extreme confidence, a distraction, or just plain arrogance from Kevin "Kingpin" Johnson: "I'll shock the whole world in nine rounds. The only people who could have beat me are Muhammad Ali or Larry Holmes."

Carl Froch lines up title defence against Denmark's Mikkel Kessler (The Guardian)
Froch-Kessler will be in Denmark on April 17, says Froch's promoter Mick Hennessy.

Pavlik enters the home stretch (The Vindicator)
Jack Loew compares upcoming Kelly Pavlik opponent Miguel Espino to a pre-Jermain Taylor Pavlik, which doesn't speak too kindly of Pavlik or Taylor. He also weighs in on the Williams-Martinez fight.

Eddie Mustafa Muhammad: "When I See Bernard, The First Thing I Do Is Laugh" (FightHype)
Chad Dawson's trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad talks Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr., and his fighter.

Good Friends Collide: Victor Ortiz & Antonio Diaz (The Sweet Science)
When Victor Ortiz lost to Marcos Maidana in June, one of the first to call him and offer encouragement was Antonio Diaz. Now Ortiz and Diaz fight in Chicago on Saturday.

Raging Bull to `fight smarter' (The Australian)
Vic Darchinyan worked with Zab Judah to prepare for Tomas Rojas on Saturday. He also admits that he fought "a stupid fight" against Joseph Agbeko this summer.

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