Paulie Malignaggi made sure to clear his schedule on the night of July 29th. With Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford finally agreeing to face off for all of the welterweight marbles, the former two-division champ didn’t want to miss a single second of the action. (photo by Ryan Hafey)

By and large, Malignaggi was split right down the middle. On some days, he leaned heavily into the speed and skills of Crawford. On others, he sided with the physicality of Spence. No matter the eventual outcome, the retired former champ was expecting an even fight filled with twists and turns. Ultimately, their clash was anything but that.

It took Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) essentially one round to process what Spence was attempting to do. From there, he blew the former unified champ out of the water. The normally durable southpaw stumbled around the ring, crashed to the canvas on three separate occasions, and was ultimately stopped in the ninth round.

Never in a million years did Malignaggi expect Spence (28-1, 22 KOs) to fight listlessly. Yet, his vagarious approach was a head-scratching one to the former fighter turned analysis. Although Malignaggi expected to see a historical boxing match, when it was all said and done, what took place didn’t resemble the tit-for-tat battle he was anticipating.

“He dismantled him,” said Malignaggi on Paulie TV. “It looked like they were playing two different sports in there.”

At no point, outside of the opening round, did Spence vs. Crawford resemble a clash between two fighters at the top of their game. While Crawford, of course, held up his end of the bargain, Spence couldn’t do the same.

Several days have now gone, allowing Malignaggi to sit back and closely analyze what took place. Although he’s rewatched the tape and broken it down frame by frame, he’s still rubbing his eyes in disbelief.

“I can’t believe what I watched.”