BRADLEY SKEETE PREVIEWS PAULIE MALIGNAGGI-ZAB JUDAH AND DEVON ALEXANDER-SHAWN PORTER LIVE ON BOXNATION
The 147 lb welterweight class is just about the most densely talented in world boxing and over the next seven days several of the major players will be showcasing their wares and vying to establish their positions within the hierarchy.
Next weekend in San Antonio, Texas, rising US superstarAdrien Broner puts his WBA strap on the line against Argentine banger Marcos Maidana while Florida's monster hitting Keith Thurman contests that body's 'interim' title with Mexico's Jesus Soto Karass in the chief support.
Tomorrow evening, at the futuristic Barclays Center in New York, quality veteran's Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggifinally get it on to establish the real 'King of Brooklyn' and, in the co-header, IBF boss Devon Alexander shall be seeking to silence unbeaten Ohioan upstart 'Showtime Shawn' Porter. As always BoxNation will be delivering all the action live and exclusive in the UK.
To preview this weekend's brace, boxing writer Glynn Evans called up recently coronated English welterweight champion Bradley 'Super' Skeete, who's now unbeaten in 14 and keen to analyse the runners and riders who might shape his own ring future.
Catch all the Brooklyn action – which also includes WBC super-middleweight king Sakio Bika defending against Anthony Dirrell and the WBA light-middleweight clash between Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout –by tuning into BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, from 1am on Sunday morning (Sky Ch.437/Virgin Ch.546).
"Malignaggi against Judah will be a great fight to determine king of the manor in Brooklyn. Both are on the back end of great careers.
Paulie has always been a favourite of mine both as a fighter and as a person. I've enjoyed watching his fights with the likes of Cotto, Khan, Broner, and Senchenko. As a TV pundit, he comes across as a real cool guy, nice and jokey.Though his haircuts, masks and tassley shorts aren't really my thing, some of his banter in the build up to the (Adrien)Broner fight was quality.
He's got wicked skills and, though he doesn't look the toughest, Paulie proved he's got an iron chin and big heart when he challenged Miguel Cotto. Even when his jaw was broken, he didn't shy away.
He's got style. Because his footwork is so good, he can dart in and out with a low guard and land three or four punch flurries. He puts his shots together very well. Though his power ain't superb, he always lets opponents know that he's there through his speed. That compensates. If he did have power, Malignaggi would probably have been one of the greats.
Zab has had a great career too. I hear that he was world champion before Paulie even made his debut. He possibly doesn't have as much skill and flair as Paulie but he can whack far harder and he's been in some great fights with the likes of Floyd Mayweather. His slick southpaw style gaveMayweather all sorts of problems before Floyd finally dealt with him.
He's a good counter puncher who always seems to time his shots well and he can definitely bang. In his recent fight with Danny Garcia, he proved that, even at the age of 36, he's still dangerous to the very end. He was a multiple world champion at different weights. He has to be considered a bit of a modern great.
But I can't forget that beating he took from Kostya Tszyuwhen his legs did that mad dance after he got tagged by that big right hand. He was all over the shop yet, when the ref jumped in to protect him for his own safety, he really kicked off; striking the referee and lobbing the stool at him. I didn't like that. No need. After getting whupped like that, you need to just put your head down and get yourself back to the changing room as quickly as possible.
From a local point of view it's a very intriguing fight, to see who is top dog in Brooklyn. But realistically, as regards world level, I don't think the fight means a lot. Both are coming off losses.
The welterweight division is littered with quality likeMayweather, Alexander, Broner, Bradley, Marquez, Pacquiao,Maidana. They'd all beat Malignaggi and Judah. Their time is done at the very top level. Where else do they go? Time to move on. Paulie's already got his TV work. I hate to see great fighters continue when they're not great anymore. They just look bad, could lose and even get hurt. Not nice.
It's possible that this could be the last fight for one or even both of them. There'll be a huge amount of pride at stake and it would allow whoever triumphs to go out on a real high. One last hurrah!
For Paulie to win, he can't allow emotion to take over and risk mixing it. He can't do anything that puts him at risk of being caught with silly shots. He needs to stick to what he does best; land threes and fours inside then float away. Though he lost, his jab was working well against Broner. He wants to use his feet, use his combos and just pick up the points.
If Judah is to have success, he'll need to attackMalignaggi's body early. That'll slow Paulie down and give him a chance of forcing a kayo later. I think he'll probably need to knock Paulie out to win this fight.
'Because there's so much on the line emotionally, I expect a cagey start. Malignaggi should certainly be looking to nick most of the early rounds but he can't slack off. Judah showed against Garcia that he holds his power until late. He'll always be in the fight until the final bell.
It won't be a shut out but I expect Paulie to win a close points decision and become the pride of Brooklyn. If it's a great fight, they could always have a rematch and do it all again.
People probably aren't expecting much from Alexander-Porter but often those are the ones that unexpectedly boil into epic fights.
Alexander's a very slick southpaw with fast hands. He's a quality counterpuncher who puts classy combos together and he's mobile on his feet. He uses his tools very effectively. I rate Kell Brook but I thought if he'd challenged Alexander in the US earlier this year, he'd probably have got beat. That fight might have come a bit too early for Kell who got hurt before forcing a stoppage last time against (Vyacheslav)Senchenko.
That said, Alexander can't really punch. Lee Purdy took all his shots and he got hit by enough of them! Devon looked very impressive against Purdy but styles make fights. Lee's very strong but doesn't have the greatest defence in the world and walks forward in straight lines. Porter might not accommodate him so readily.
Alexander is very talented and he likes to coast. He might be a bit of an 'on top' fighter. I remember in his unification with Tim Bradley a few years ago – Alexander's only loss – that both were unbeaten and there'd been a lot of hype and needle in the build up. The fight was hard and competitive and, rather than bite on his gumshield, Alexander 'melted'. He baled out whinging about a cut from a 'butt'.
I've known of Shawn Porter since he boxed my friend James DeGale in an England v USA bout in about 2007. Back then, he was a short, stocky middleweight. He had a lot of side to side head movement and came forward looking to land big hooks. But 'Chunky' took care of him and he has a style similar to Alexander so that doesn't bode well for Porter.
Recently I caught Porter's draw against Julio Diaz, theMexican who put Amir Khan on the deck before losing controversially in Sheffield earlier this year. Down at welter, Shawn looked a bit quicker but seemed to have lost a bit of strength and I thought Diaz was unlucky. That said, Porter beat Diaz pretty comfortably in a rematch afterwards.
Porter's biggest hope in this fight might be that, coming down from middle, he'll be stronger and more powerful than Alexander who's coming up from light-welter, remember. Porter's not the quickest on his feet and he's certainly not going to outbox Devon so I expect him to hunt Alexander down, try to goad the champion into standing and fighting him.
He needs to apply constant pressure and take Alexander out of his comfort zone because Devon does like to cruise, pick and poke, make life easy for himself. If Porter can rough him up, bully him to the ropes and club him head and body, he could force an upset.
But I think this opportunity has come a bit too early for Porter and I'd expect Alexander to be far too slick and smart. He'll use his feet and sharp hands to draw Porter's leads and walk him onto three and four shot combos, then pivot off to the side and hit him again.
Alexander's boxed at a higher level and against better opponents. At this stage, I think he'll know too much for Porter and will win comfortably on points."