By Jake Donovan
An hour or so before Bernard Hopkins attempts to become the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a title unification match, Shawn Porter and Paul Malignaggi do battle with plenty at stake.
The pair of welterweights serve as the SHOWTIME-televised co-feature, live from Washington D.C. Porter (23-0-1, 14KO) makes the first defense of the alphabet title he acquired in emphatic fashion, dominating Devon Alexander in their 12-round bout last December.
On that same card, Malignaggi (33-5, 7KO) remained relevant in the welterweight division with a 12-round win over Zab Judah in their all-Brooklyn matchup.
Both fighters are angling for a lucrative showdown with reigning pound-for-pound and lineal welterweight king Floyd Mayweather. It’s a lengthy line, so more than a win but a spectacular performance is in order for the victor to garner any consideration.
Will Porter keep the momentum going in his career, maintaining his unbeaten ways while removing a seasoned veteran from the mix? Or will Malignaggi conjure up the type of “last great” performance necessary to bump off a young gun in the sport?
Read on to see how the staff at Boxingscene.com believes tonight’s action will go down.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS: SHAWN PORTER vs. PAULIE MALIGNAGGI
“I like Porter to keep his title in the end.”
- Damien Acevedo (Porter by decision)
“I think this will be close fight that Porter wins around 115-113 or 116-112. Porter will attempt to bully Paulie and try to keep the fight on the inside. I think Paulie will have his moments but Porter's aggressiveness and workrate will win him the fight.”
- Ryan Burton (Porter by decision)
“The only surprise in this fight (or the main event, for that matter) is if it doesn't go the distance. As long as Porter shows up to fight like he did versus Devon Alexander, I believe he will be too much for Malignaggi. A competitive and spirited fight, but with Porter taking a clear decision in the end.”
- Jake Donovan (Porter by decision)
“Every time people think Paulie is finished, he produces a career-lengthening effort. But Porter may be too young and hungry to let him get away with the same old tricks. Porter by decision, 115-113.”
- Lyle Fitzsimmons (Porter by decision)
“This is all wrong for Paulie. Whereas Broner might have the same frame as Porter, Porter is rugged and willing to grind down a foe to get the victory. Paulie will finally show his age in this as he wilts from the constant attack of Porter. Scores will be of the 116-112 variety and Paulie contemplates hanging them up.”
- Ernest Gabion (Porter by decision)
“This is a tough call but Porter seems to be growing as a fighter, showing marked improvement in his last few bouts. He should be able to impose his strength on Paulie.”
- Cliff Rold (Porter by decision)
“Youth versus experience. Thing with Malignaggi is could he be able to keep with Porter's punch output. He has to land overhand rights early or stick jabs in Porter's face to earn his respect. If he doesn't, it'll be a long night. I get the funny feeling we could see a draw, but realistically Porter wins a close fight. Something along the lines of a majority decision.”
- Francisco Salazar (Porter by decision)
“Interesting clash of styles in this welterweight match up. While Paulie is a very good boxer, I think Shawn Porter's activity and aggressiveness will give him the edge in this one. Porter's faster hands and combination punching will push Paulie back as the jab will only do so much for him in this fight. I expect some fun exchanges but Porter will walk away with a clear victor.”
- Luis Sandoval (Porter by decision)
“This is a toss-up right here. Malignaggi was able to frustrate Broner to the point the outcome of the fight was in question. Paulie himself was frustrated by Pablo Cesar Cano. Porter, a younger and a bit fresher and more agile, will probably go Cano's way with the different outcome.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Porter by decision)
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox