By Rick Reeno
Last weekend came and went in Houston, Texas - but the Juan Diaz vs. Paulie Malignaggi is still the hot topic of most boxing related debates. Gale Van Hoy's scorecard of 118-110 has the streets talking, and talking, and talking. There is quite an uproar in the boxing public. One female fan actually sent a formal complaint, about Van Hoy, to the athletic commission in Texas. Another fan, or writer, released a fabricated press release, with fabricated quotes, demanding a Diaz-Malignaggi rematch in New York. Some websites were served and ran it as a legit DiBella Inc. press release. Lou DiBella informed me on Tuesday that nobody in his company had anything to do with that press release.
BoxingScene.com spoke with Diaz's trainer/manager Willie Savannah on Tuesday. Savannah has been reading the press clippings about the fight and the official scores. He credits Malignaggi with an excellent performance in the ring. Controversy or no controvsery, Savannah says the right man won. He also took a shot or two at some of the factual errors going around.
"I see all of these people writing about the Texas judges. Caiz is from California and the other guy who I never heard of, is from Oklahoma. There was only one Texas judge. The other two guys were out of state judges. We would have fought him with any judges, except three New York judges. Paulie fought one hell of a fight. I saw him rocked several times but he came right back," Savannah said to BoxingScene.
"People are used to seeing Juan blowing people out and because he didn't blow this guy out, then he must have lost. They remember his fights with Acelino Freitas, Julio Diaz and Michael Katsidis and because he didn't blow this guy out, they think he lost. I thought we won the fight, and they think [Paulie] won the fight."
The next move, of course, is a fight with Ricky Hatton - if they can get it. Savannah wants it. Diaz wants it. Golden Boy Promotions, who have Hatton and Diaz, certainly want it. As much as Diaz and Savannah want the fight, they are against fighting Hatton in Manchester. Diaz would make the full jump to 140-pounds for the fight. Savannah wants to point out that Diaz is still a lightweight contender, not a junior welterweight, and will only consider the big fights at 140 - like Hatton.
"We've wanted to fight Ricky Hatton for a long time. Juan wants this fight because he knows it would be a war. It would be a slugfest with two bulls meeting in the center of the ring. I don't know about fighting him in the UK though. Juan Lazcano trained in my gym for that fight with Hatton. When he hurt Ricky, the referee called time out. I don't know about fighting him out there," Savannah said.
"We would rather fight him in Las Vegas. He brings a lot of people over and he would probably bring over a lot more people than we would. For sure it would be an action fight. It would be a very interesting fight and hopefully we can do it in Las Vegas, and not in the UK."
If the Hatton fight blows over. They would consider a Malignaggi rematch. The fight doesn't have to happen in Houston, and they won't consider Malignaggi's soil of New York, but they will consider a neutral territory - like Las Vegas.
"If we don't fight Hatton, we would have no problem fighting Paulie in a rematch but our preference would be Ricky. I'll say one thing, there won't be a match in New York. Maybe it could happen in Las Vegas but not in New York."