Danny Garcia was controlling the fight through six rounds against a fading Paulie Malignaggi, who was being brutalized to the body and bled from cuts above and below his right eye.
Then the “Magic Man” dug into his bag of tricks. Moving in and out behind a consistent jab, Malignaggi eluded many of Garcia’s punches, found the mark with right uppercuts and left hooks and won the seventh round.
“I was like, ‘Wow, I’m seeing everything,’” Malignaggi said of his second wind. “I was thinking, ‘I’m not having to give ground to make him miss. This is good.'”
Things didn’t stay good for long for Paulie Malignaggi.
At the 1:16 mark of the eighth round, Danny Garcia established The Moment when he regained control of the bout for good, slamming a right hand into Malignaggi’s rib cage and following up with a hook to the head that drove his opponent backward.
Garcia then landed a dozen or so unanswered punches before referee Arthur Mercante Jr. stopped the fight at the 2:22 mark of the ninth round, resulting in a technical knockout of Malignaggi.
“I was chopping his body with right hooks,” Garcia said. “Then it was the right hand to the head and the left hook to the other side. I wanted to go in there and walk to him, breaking him down and cutting off the ring. I just wanted to dominate."
The left side of Malignaggi’s body was beet red from piercing chest jabs that centered him for Garcia’s sledgehammer rights and follow-up hooks to the head and body.
“Danny was a lot sharper in those last couple of rounds,” said Malignaggi’s trainer, Eric Brown. “Paulie got caught with a some shots and tried to fight through it. He'd never have quit if it hadn't been stopped."
Worn down by earlier punishment, Malignaggi seemed defenseless against jabs that forced retreat. His head was increasingly vulnerable to clean rights.
“Malignaggi has that bad habit of leaning his head on the right side,” ESPN ringside analyst Teddy Atlas noted during the ninth round. “On the right side, he’s in the lane of the right hand. He’s going to pay for that, I think, before this round even ends.”
The final sequence began with a Garcia right to Malignaggi’s left ear, an equilibrium-stealing blow that knocked him off balance and backward. Garcia gave chase and landed four times before Mercante signaled he had seen enough.
“I gained control in spots, but he started jabbing me harder right here,” said Malignaggi, slapping his right palm against his left pectoral. “Danny regained control with a very smart adjustment. It threw me off. I broke down maybe a little faster than I would have in the past. That’s the overall story of the fight.”
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