Montreal's Hermann Ngoujo (16-2 9 KOs) had a chance to wrest the IBF Junior Lightweight title away from Paul Malignaggi (24-1 5 KOs) in Atlantic City on Saturday.
Unfortunately for Ngoujo, the fight judges had other plans.
Ngoujo had been verbally abused by the champion in the run-up to the fight. Malignaggi promised that fans would forget Ngoujo's name after the bout was finished.
But Hermann earned the champ's respect during the first three rounds.
After Ngoujo dominated the third round, the champ's cockiness gave way to fear. A cut over his left eye made it clear his title was in jeopardy.
The fight was evenly matched through Rounds Four, Five, and Six, but Malignaggi was never able to tag Ngoujo with a solid shot. Ngoujo won the physical battle, holding the center of the ring and cornering the champ as often as he could.
During the seventh round, Malignaggi almost went to the canvas under a barrage of head shots. He only just barely managed to grab Ngoujo and avoid the fatal blow.
The ''Pauly, Pauly, Pauly'' chants ended after that, as the crowd realized their hero was in serious trouble. Ngoujo continued his work until the 12th and final round, but never delivered again like he did in the seventh.
Then the fight went to the judges.
And the decision was a crushing one for Ngoujo.
The cards showed 116-111, 116-113, and 115-113—all in favor of the winner and STILL IBF junior-lightweight champion... Paul Malignaggi.
Ngoujo took the decision in stride, telling reporters that we haven't seen the last of him.
A win, incidentally, would have made him Montreal's third reigning boxing champ.
(Picture: Hermann Ngoujo)