Titles don't matter nearly as much in boxing as they used to or still should. More belts are thrown around in the sport than most can keep track of. In fact, Saturday night's Showtime main event pitting Zab Judah against Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi is for the vacant NABF welterweight title.
This isn't a world championship, and quite honestly, it would be hard to parlay Judah or Malignaggi off as legitimate threats to the lineal titles at 140 or 147 pounds. At the end of the day, the consensus champion in each weight class is all that matters to most fans.
With that established, what makes Judah vs. Malignaggi intriguing? Here are five reasons for boxing fans to watch the bout.
1. The Undercard
Judah vs. Malignaggi will be preceded by three world championship bouts. Erislandy Lara will take on Austin Trout for the vacant WBA light middleweight title. IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander will defend his title against Shawn Porter. WBA super middleweight champion Sakio Bika will face Anthony Dirrell.
Those are three potentially entertaining championship fights, which make this card one of the strongest of the year. If you sit down to watch the first three, you may as well watch the main event—even if you're not overly interested.
2. Brooklyn Bragging Rights
On Saturday night, Brooklyn's own Judah and Malignaggi are squaring off in the Barclays Center. When two proud fighters from the same region clash, it is always a big deal. When the fight takes place in the biggest and newest arena in the area, it becomes an even bigger deal.
The Barclays Center has quickly become a top-notch venue for boxing. Judah made the Brooklyn faithful proud by displaying great heart and effort in his battle with Danny Garcia there back in April. This bout and card will add to the growing boxing history in the building.
3. Connecting the Boxing Dots of the Era
Judah and Malignaggi have been in the ring with a who's who of the era at 140 and 147 pounds. Yet, they have never faced each other. When fans think back to past eras to rank fighters, it is always good to have a head-to-head battle to reference when determining who had the superior career.
This bout will serve as some level of proof as to who was the better fighter.
4. Could the Winner Get Another Title Shot?
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is yes. I love Judah and Malignaggi, but neither of them is a legit contender. Yet, a win could put Malignaggi in position to challenge Adrien Broner in a rematch. Malignaggi was competitive in his bout with "The Problem" in June.
Broner is probably not interested in a rematch with Malignaggi, but with a win over Judah, The Magic Man could reasonably pursue it.
Judah has been a perennial contender for the last 10-plus years. Beating Malignaggi won't vault him to the head of anyone's top-10 list, but it would be a high-profile victory on a major card.
5. The End of a Career
The loser of this fight has to seriously ask himself if continuing his career makes any sense. Judah is 36 and clearly on the downside of his run.
Malignaggi is just 33, but his power limitations make big wins a long shot. He is an outstanding analyst for Showtime and could excel in that role moving forward. A loss could lead to a retirement speech after the official decision is read.
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