An entertaining fight between Paulie Malignaggi and Juan Diaz last night should make Malignaggi hotter than he's been in a long time. But the worry is that his post-fight blowup will cost him professionally. (Photo via d.yimg.com)
Though he lost a good fight in a highly controversial fashion, Paulie Malignaggi might be a hotter ticket right now than he has been in a long time. Some are worried, though, that his post-fight comments will get him essentially "blacklisted" from major cards.
Both Malignaggi and Golden Boy promoter Oscar de la Hoya -- who does not promote Malignaggi -- ripped judge Gale Van Hoy after the fight. Van Hoy scored the main event for Diaz, 118-110, which nobody agrees with. Malignaggi had called out Van Hoy as a judge that he felt would put the screws to him before the fight even happened.
"I don't understand how Gale Van Hoy keeps getting jobs. ... Boxing has no f***ing integrity left. It's been happening for years. That's why this sport has no popularity left. That's why nobody watches this s**t, because every year, there are decisions like this and probably worse than this. ... People get f***ed constantly. Nobody watches boxing anymore because of s**t like this."
Oscar had this to say:
"The fight was a close fight. We look at the landslide that one of the judges had, I don't agree with it. I'm not a judge but I don't agree with it. Paulie Malignaggi was right, but it was a close fight. ... That landslide of 118-110 -- what is that? We don't need that. It was a closer fight, there is no doubt about that. The [Danny Jacobs-Ishe Smith] fight was a close fight. Ishe put up a tremendous fight. When we see scores like 100-89, the fight wasn't seen like that."
Oscar, obviously, was a bit more reserved.
Meanwhile, Lou DiBella is already talking about matching Malignaggi with 140-pound titlist Amir Khan, which might be doable. Paulie is very fast when he's on his game, but Khan is legitimately one of the quickest guys in the sport. It'd be a pure distance boxing match for the most part, since that's what both do best, and I think Khan is just a little bit faster and obviously a stronger puncher, and my first impression is a Khan win, but I'd definitely be interested in that fight.
What's really sticking in my craw today is the talk of "blacklisting" Malignaggi. If the promoters and networks try anything like that -- and it'll be obvious, because rarely are they very stealth about matters like this -- I'll be on a soapbox for Paulie Malignaggi, which might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but trying to rally for a deserving fighter that gave his all and then simply spoke his mind seems like a worthy cause for me.
HBO's Bob Papa seemed almost dumbstruck after they cut away from a still-talking Malignaggi, and then his face washed into something like a man at a funeral as he said something to the effect of, "Malignaggi probably didn't do himself any favors there."
You know what? Screw favors. Paulie Malignaggi called a corrupt judge coming into the fight, and he received one. I'd say that Van Hoy needs to be investigated, but we all know for a fact that he won't be. I'd also say Laurence Cole needs to stop refereeing -- he didn't live up to his hype last night, but it's been enough with him -- but his father, Dick Cole, is the head of the Texas Athletic Commission. Hey, go figure!
And 118-110 Diaz from Van Hoy wasn't even the worst card of the night! That 100-89 score for Jacobs over Smith that came from the pencil of David Sutherland was even worse. There is NO WAY you saw Jacobs winning every round of that fight. I'm not saying I'm some infallible judge of fights, because I'm absolutely not (nobody is), and certainly a fight from ringside looks different than it does on TV. But it's also not THAT different, and I'm sick of that being used as a crutch to support hack judges.
At some point, there has to be accountability for this stuff. It's been going on for years, and some people will go, "Hey, it's been going on for years, whatever," but why should we accept what appears to be absolute corruption within a SPORT? This is not professional wrestling. This is a SPORT. The athletes come in thinking they're competing, and that their skills can carry the day even if they're an underdog. Malignaggi essentially had no chance to win this fight. Barring an unlikely knockout or some sort of ungodly domination, Juan Diaz had this in the bag.
Most judges are just fine. I'm not slamming every boxing judge out there. But they get away with so much without having to take any responsibility for their actions. Will lip service be paid to looking into Van Hoy and his scorecard? Maybe, but nothing will come of it. They'll wait for us all to forget about it, the same as that supposed "investigation" of Valuev over Holyfield last December or any other number of fights that have been controversially judged.
And how hard does it get to continue to support and love a sport when guys can lose a fight, take the microphone, and flat-out call the sport a crock, and it's hard to disagree with them? We're admitting that we're watching a sport with some rather inexcusable flaws.
If Paulie Malignaggi "disappears" from your airwaves forever, he will have been proven right. And boxing will be, in the words of "The Magic Man," full of shit.