Porter-Malignaggi Preview and Prediction

By Matt Andrzejewski on April 11, 2014
Porter-Malignaggi Preview and Prediction

On April 19th, Shawn Porter makes the first defense of his IBF Welterweight Championship against former champion Paulie Malignaggi. This is a classic matchup of youth versus experience and a high stakes bout for both men. With a win, either is positioned well for a much bigger fight later this year while the loser finds themselves with a long hill to climb to get back into meaningful fights.

Shawn Porter fought to a draw with a faded Julio Diaz in December 2012. In that fight, he had no ring identity. He boxed at times from the outside. He tried to take the fight to the inside at times. And he also decided to try to slug with Diaz.

Since that fight, Porter has shown tremendous improvement in the ring. He has learned to use his jab to work to the inside and use his physical strength to work combinations once on the inside. He became a smarter fighter in 2013 and learned to use his skills and strength to win a title belt.

Entering the ring, Porter will be the much naturally bigger man than Malignaggi. Early in his career, Porter campaigned as a Junior Middleweight and even fought as a Middleweight. Malignaggi, on the other hand, fought primarily as a Junior Welterweight and has within the last few years found himself in the Welterweight division.

This size advantage for Porter will be key in this fight. He is going to look pressure Malignaggi by using his jab to get to the inside. Once inside, Porter will look to unleash combinations to the head and body. Porter will not only be looking to score but to be using his size to wear down Malignaggi. It will be a very similar strategy for Porter to the Devon Alexander fight.

Malignaggi is known for his speed and using his jab from the outside to control distance. However, Malignaggi is now 33 and has fought more than 300 rounds professionally. In some of those rounds, he absorbed quite a bit of punishment. His speed and reflexes are not nearly what they used to be.

When he faced an aggressive pressure fighter in the past, Malignaggi was often able to use his speed and jab to make his opponent’s aggression work right into his hands. In recent years though, pressure fighters have begun to get to him. Pablo Cesar Cano gave him a tough fight in October 2012 using constant pressure and a body attack. This led to Malignaggi wearing down late in the fight and getting knocked down in the 11th round. Cano is much slower and prodding than is Shawn Porter.

I expect Malignaggi, much like he did in his fight against Adrien Broner, will have some success early working behind his jab. But I look for Porter to keep the pressure on constantly and start to eventually break down Malignaggi.

As the fight progresses, I expect to see the Porter jab land more frequently as Malignaggi becomes more stationary. This will allow Porter to get inside and work combinations to the head and body. Porter will also use his size to push Malignaggi around on the inside and continue to wear him down. The younger and stronger Porter will prove too much for Malignaggi. I expect Porter to retain his title by unanimous decision.

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