Brooklynite Paulie “the Magic Man” Malignaggi decisively outboxed Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz in a rematch and scored the unanimous decision at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago to win the NABO Light Welterweight belt.
In the first match in August, Diaz won the unanimous decision in his hometown of Houston, Texas. Many found this to be a controversial decision, especially Malignaggi. Prior to the fight, Malignaggi asked Golden Boy Promotions that Judge Gale Van Hoy not be selected to score the match. Malignaggi’s worst fears came true and Van Hoy was one of the three judges who scored the fight for the hometown kid Diaz. Van Hoy scored the bout with the largest margin for Diaz at 118-110.
When interviewed after the first fight by HBO’s Max Kellerman, Malignaggi said, “This state [Texas] never gives a fair shake to anyone coming to this state to fight hometown fighters, it never happens.” These thoughts proved right and prompted that a rematch be made.
Malignaggi came with the power in the first four rounds. He consistently used his jab which was too much for Diaz. Diaz countered with his jab. But in the third round, Diaz was cut on the left eye by Malignaggi’s combinations.
Diaz was most effective when he was able to get Malignaggi against the ropes. However, with an increase in the ring side from the previous bout, Malignaggi was able to use his footwork and speed to elude Diaz.
In Round six, Malignaggi hurt Diaz with a right uppercut to the head and lets off a combination that left Diaz reeling. Malignaggi did not go in to finish off Diaz but instead lets him off the hook and goes with his theatrics to end the round leaving the crowd entertain while chanting his name.
Malignaggi controlled the pace of the fight after round six. In the last round, Diaz came back strong landing his left hooks to Malignaggi’s head and his jabs on the inside while out-working Malignaggi.
After the scores were calculated, all the ringside judges scored the bout 116-111 for Malignaggi. Malignaggi proved his point and looked sharp doing it. Now the opportunities are endless for what he can do next after coming back from previous losses to Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto.