by David P. Greisman
Former 140-pound titleholder Paulie Malignaggi was ringside in Washington, D.C., for the battle between Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson, working as a commentator for BBC.
BoxingScene.com spoke to Malignaggi shortly after the fight to get his thoughts.
BoxingScene.com: What’d you think of the fight?
Malignaggi: “I thought it was a great fight. I thought it could’ve went either way. I don’t think anybody lost tonight, really. I know that everybody wants to have their opinion of things, but I think people should really focus on what a good fight this was tonight. Boxing wins tonight, I think.”
BoxingScene.com: Did you score the fight?
Malignaggi: “I scored it 114-111 Amir, but that’s giving all the close rounds to Amir. The reason I gave all the close rounds to Amir is one, he’s the champion, and two, he’s the A-side, basically, the promoter’s house fighter. So I figured the judges would also score it that way. If you start mixing and matching close rounds, I have no problem with Lamont Peterson winning.”
BoxingScene.com: Why do you think Lamont Peterson was able to be so effective against Khan?
Malignaggi: “I think he executed a good game plan, started an early body attack and stuck with it the whole night. Also, I know people are going to complain about the point deductions, but I think the point deductions were fine. Amir’s finally not allowed to push your neck down or push you off, which is a big thing for him, because he pushes you off or pushes your neck down, you’re basically always on the outside of him.
“And with his kind of speed, if you’re on the outside of him you can basically never work. So somebody was actually able to referee one of his fights, and Lamont was able to take advantage of that by being able to work inside.”
BoxingScene.com: What did you see that was similar to your fight with Khan? And what was different?
Malignaggi: “I thought Amir tried the same things. I think Lamont adjusted a little better. But I also thought the referee taking the points from Amir forced Amir not to hold down as much and not to push down as much, because that’s really his big thing. He’s so much taller and faster than everyone that you need to get underneath him to work.
“You got to get underneath him and counter him underneath him. And if every time you’re underneath him he’s pushing you down, you can’t work. You’ve got to break. You got to break, you’re back on the outside. Do it a bunch of times, you never get any warning. So what happens? You start trying to pull and roll back. You can do it to some fighters. He’s too fast and too tall to do it to, so you’re going to start being on the end and you’re not going to catch him.
“Basically that was always happening to me. Lamont was able to get inside. He was also able to slide underneath and get to the body when Amir was trying to hold. He didn’t let himself get held, too. That was a good job on his part. But also, the referee not letting Amir push down, believe me, that helped Lamont Peterson a lot. And I think he was just enforcing the rules, man.
“Because if you’d seen this past summer, he knocked out Zab Judah by holding him down with one hand and holding him in place so that he could land the body shot that knocked him out. People were complaining about was it a low blow or was it not. It was a fine punch. It was a body shot, a legal body shot. What everybody should’ve been making a stink about is the fact that he held Zab in place, trapping him, not letting him get out so the body shot could land. And he tends to do that a lot.”
BoxingScene.com: Last, how’d you like commentating tonight?
Malignaggi: “I had fun. It beats getting punched in the face.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]