By Matt Richardson
Paulie Malignaggi raised his arms and took a deep breath. With a towel partially hung over his badly bruised and beaten face, the normally loquacious junior welterweight didn’t need to say much. His body language said it all. He was a beaten man – beaten fair and square. And the man who beat him, WBA junior welterweight Amir Khan, is likely to be a future star.
“He knows how to win rounds,” Malignaggi (27-4, 5 KO’s) told the ringside media directly after the conclusion of his eleventh round technical knockout loss at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday night.
“I think I could’ve used my legs more but he’s got great speed. I wanted to extend him the 12 rounds to see if he would slow down,” Malignaggi said before briefly pausing.
“Obviously, he didn’t slow down.”
Khan (23-1, 17 KO’s) said he expected a tough fight from his opponent, even though he wound up dominating from the first bell to the last.
“We knew he was going to be a tough guy,” Khan said. “I have to give him a lot of respect. He was very awkward. I have a lot of respect for Paulie for staying in there that long.”
“I knew I was going to get him and I went out there and I finished him off. I knew in the last few rounds I was hurting him.”
Malignaggi didn’t want to admit as much. “I’m not going to say he’s a big puncher,” Malignaggi stated. “He’s average.”
Average punching power or not, Malignaggi was honest about his performance. Where he goes from here, he admitted he’s unsure. “We’ve got to see,” he said. “I’ve got to sit down and talk to my team. I don’t want to fight to be a punching bag.”
Khan, meanwhile, already a star in the UK, is now in line for bigger and better fights. His mandatory challenger is the unpredictable and hard hitting Marcos Maidana. Or he could be matched up with any of the other half-dozen stand out talents in the division.
Even Victor Ortiz, the man who beat Nate Campbell in the co-feature, came out after Khan’s victory to talk to the Brit. And if Ortiz was hoping to keep title shot hopes alive after losing to Maidana last year, he certainly did a good job in totally outclassing the old-looking Campbell.
“I felt good but I could’ve stepped it up a bit,” Ortiz said in the ring afterwards. “It was an improvement but I think I could have done better. He came out there tough but I got the victory.”
“It wasn’t a good fight,” said Campbell. “My hip tightened in the third round and I couldn’t move.”
Campbell said he was injured in training camp and considered calling off the fight. “I was going to pull out but I didn’t want to do that to you guys,” he said.
“Victor fought a good fight… when I hurt him, he ran away.”