The Hitman Vs The Magic Man: Shooting at Smoke and Mirrors

Amit ChauhanCorrespondent INovember 19, 2008

A magic man, or magician, prides himself on fooling his audience with his sleight of hand and misdirection.

One of the more dangerous looking tricks in magic is the bullet catch. This comprises of the magician standing in front of a board and his assistant shooting a bullet at him. The magician attempts to catch the bullet in his teeth.

An illusion that is very impressive if pulled off, but looks very bad if attempted unsuccessfully.

One thing that always comes to mind is the death of Harry Houdini. Houdini wowed the world with his magic prowess; he was a master escapologist and very talented stunt performer.

When he died, a part of the mystery of magic died, people realized that for all the illusions that he was still a man.

This is an interesting way to ponder the upcoming Ricky Hatton and Paulie Malignaggi bout. Will Malignaggi’s magic prosper or will Hatton figure out the smoke and mirrors?

Paulie Malignaggi’s Magic

Malignaggi, born in Brooklyn NY, recounted the experience that formed his future style.

"I still remember my first day there. It was June 26th, 1997. I remember training with my old trainer, Willie Badillo.

He was teaching me a jab and right hand in front of the mirror, but throwing them really slowly to get the form down correctly. I started with a good foundation."*

For all his mouth and bravado, Malignaggi is a very slick boxer. He was dubbed the ‘Magic Man’ for a reason, his speed and technique is something that could pose Hatton Problems.

Ironically, Malignaggi adopts the "hitman stance" made popular by Tommy Hearns. This is very difficult and takes exceptional hand speed because a boxer’s hands are so low.

In his fight with Miguel Cotto, he showed that he wasn’t just a poser and that he could tough it out. Even with a broken right cheek bone, Paulie managed to push Cotto to a decision. Even though he lost, people took notice of this tough kid from New York.

Malignaggi is unlikely to knock Hatton out; however, he can frustrate the Hitman by utilizing his jab. Hatton’s temper has got the worst of him before and Malignaggi can capitalize on this to win the fight.

This type of technique defeated and knocked out Lovemore N’dou. However, it proved ineffective against the more aggressive and physical Cotto.

One More Target

Ricky Hatton has had a long career.

It is because of this that he is winding down rather than in his prime. After he lost the Floyd Mayweather fight, many doubted Ricky’s abilities and he was dubbed as one dimensional.

Recently, Team Hatton hired Floyd Mayweather Sr. to add an extra dimension to Ricky’s game. Mayweather Sr. has tried to make Hatton fight in bursts, thus helping his aging limbs adapt and sustain Ricky though a twelve round battle.

However, can an old dog be taught new tricks, especially when the tricks are condensed into a single training camp?


A younger Hatton wins this, however with the attempted change in style and recent poor showings this fight is on a knife edge.

Will Hatton be mystified by the "Magic Mans" illusions, or will Ricky defeat Malignaggi by figuring out the smoke and mirrors?

It’s a classic battle, style versus intensity and hopefully they blend well to deliver a blockbuster.

*: Credit for excerpt –