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HBO Boxing After Dark: Juan Diaz Vs. Paulie Malignaggi Play By Play

There are three fights tonight that are expected to be pretty fun. Golden Boy phenom Daniel Jacobs is facing former Contender contestant Ishe Smith, while “The Ghost” Robert Guerrero faces Malcolm Klassen for his title. And in the main event, Houston’s own Juan Diaz is facing Paulie Malignaggi.

I’m going to be live blogging the main event and will have some thoughts on the other fights as they happen.

Duan has a few predictions for the show.

Ishe is the biggest test for Danny so far as he has been in very soft so far, but I expect him to deal with it comfortably. I have always maintained that Jacobs will look better against tougher competition. He has such a laid back style that sometimes it seems too easy for him and he gets bored. He will love the challenge. He has a really slick elusive style, and he can throw every punch in the book. I think he’s just going to be a nightmare for most guys to deal with. If he can handle the step up, he’s the type of guy who will just outclass most guys in the division. I don’t think Ishe has the tools to take him out of his rhythm. My main man Danny Jacobs by shut out.

It will be no shame if he loses. A lot of people see Klassen as the best fighter in that weight class. I rate Humberto Soto a head of him, but that’s irrelevant. The point is he’s really good. There will be other chances for Guerrero as long as he gives it his all. Klassen by stoppage between 9-12.

Baby bull by decision (closer than people expect though). I expect Paulie to bring it tonight.

Ishe Smith vs. Daniel Jacobs

Jacobs was definitely the quicker and more busy fighter. I think Smith made a good showing, roughing him up a little bit with some veteran maneuvers. Smith definitely did not make it easy for him, but the talent disparity showed. Smith was a little frustrated at times and it caused him to lose a point at the end of the 9th round, but it was more so because the referee had to talk to him so many times about hitting after the bell and hitting on the hips and thighs.

At the end, Jacobs threw almost twice as many punches, and even though he was busier, it was Smith who was tired at the end.

Winner: Daniel Jacobs by way of unanimous decision

Two judges scored it 96-93, which was way closer than I saw it, but one judge gave Jacobs every round and had it 100-89. I didn’t score it, but I would’ve probably had it seven rounds to three without really thinking too hard.

There was a touching video package about Alexis Arguello, Arturo Gatti, and Vernon Forrest, who all passed recently. It was amazing. I would suggest that anyone go out of their way to find this show, specifically to watch this video package. Just awesome.

Robert Guerrero vs. Malcolm Klassen

Guerrero came out fast and strong in this fight and using his length and overall speed and boxing ability to just frustrate Klassen. Klassen looked like he wanted to hit Guerrero with hard shots and make him quit, but it didn’t happen. Guerrero was even cut over his left eye, but he wasn’t deterred. There were a few instances in which Klassen was able to close distance and throw harder shots, but Guerrero would get out of there quickly. Guerrero averaged exactly 100 punches in each round in the decision victory.

Winner: Robert Guerrero by way of unanimous decision.

It wasn’t a terribly exciting fight, but Guerrero looked really good in winning.

Pauli Malignaggi vs. Juan Diaz

Malignaggi’s hair, trunks, shoes and purple socks look terrible, but he looked very fast in the first round. Diaz couldn’t really catch him and set his feet to throw hard punches. Malignaggi was cut over his left eye at the end of the round.

Much better round for Diaz. He started to walk through Malignaggi’s punches and land some big shots. Malignaggi stuck his tongue out at him several times during the round as if to taunt him, and ended up paying for it.

Hard round to score. Malignaggi scored with more shots, but Diaz seemed to score with the only shots that mattered. But much better round than the last one for Paulie. Looks like Diaz was cut somehow at the end of the second.

Diaz hit him with a couple of good shots and Malignaggi staggered back a bit, but his good balance kept him from looking too hurt. But Malignaggi came back and had an excellent second half of the round. I have Paulie up 3-1 right now.

Malignaggi received a second warning for pushing Diaz away with his elbow. This is Diaz’s best round since the second. But his eye isn’t looking good. It’s right in the middle of his left eyebrow. Diaz threw three left hooks in a row at one point.

It looks like Diaz has two cuts, one from a punch and one from an accidental headbutt. Diaz was digging to the body with hooks much more in this round. Malignaggi controlled the second half of the round, but mostly did it by jabbing and circling. Still Diaz’s round in my mind.

Malignaggi did a good job at circling, but Diaz was catching him. He was hooking to the body and threw a nice overhand right that landed. Nothing much happened in the last half of that round. I have Diaz up 4-3.

Great defensive round for Malignaggi. So great that his trunks nearly fell off. Let’s just be glad he was wearing underwear. Diaz didn’t really get him at all the entire round.

Good round defensively for Diaz. Nothing much happened for most of the round, but I’d give it to Diaz just because he landed the only shots worth mentioning. 5-4 Diaz. Harold Lederman and I have similar scores, but we disagree on most rounds. That’s how close this fight is.

Malignaggi started to yell at someone in the media section twice, taking his eye off Diaz. Diaz couldn’t capitalize. It was Malignaggi’s round. Diaz couldn’t catch him and his eye looks like a mess again. There was one really good trade of combinations and this time, Malignaggi held his own on the inside.

It was hard to tell how many punches Malignaggi landed, but he was outworking Diaz. Diaz was able to get inside once and land, but that was it. Malignaggi is still fresh. I have Malignaggi up by one round.

Even though Malignaggi is making Diaz miss badly at points, I think he’s making a mistake by staying so close to Diaz. He’s landing the cleaner shots and I think he pulled it out barely. I have it a draw.

Winner: Juan Diaz by way of unanimous decision

116-112, 115-113, 118-110 all for Diaz. Wow! Malignaggi had a reason to be paranoid about not being able to win a decision in Houston. I had no problem with Diaz winning this fight straight up, but not 116-112 or 118-110.

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