There was not more magic left for Paulie Malignaggi.
There is no more desire to go back and train and make weight. It means there will be no more fights for the legendary Magic Man from Bensonhurst.
He brought his illustrious career to a close in the borough where it began when he was stopped by the younger, faster, and stronger Danny Garcia. He was stopped in the ninth round of the main event of the Premier Boxing Champions card on ESPN in front of a crowd of 7,237 at Barclays Center last Saturday night. His first professional fight was at what is now MCU Park back in 2001.
A dejected 34-year old Malignaggi said in the ring after that he was “probably not fighting again” and reiterated that sentiment in the post-fight press conference. Barring some unforeseen change of mind, we will only see him ringside as a commentator from now on.
“You hate to make an emotional decision,” Malignaggi said. “My career started in Brooklyn 14 years ago. If it ends in Brooklyn tonight, then at least I ended it at home where I’m from, and in front of the greatest fans in the world.”
It was his third loss in his last four fights, and the second-straight that didn’t go the distance. Losing to some of the best fighters in the welterweight division was a sign to Malignaggi, a former two-division world champion, that he may not be capable of winning at the highest level anymore.
“I went from being a championship-level fighter at one point in my career to maybe just being the pesky guy that is hard to look good against,” Malignaggi said. “I feel like I can still compete, but against this level of fighter, I just come up short.”
Compete he did for five rounds against Garcia, who was debuting at 147 pounds. Malignaggi (33–7) was eventually worn down by the undefeated Garcia’s power. Hard jabs to the shoulder limited his ability to counter as his opponent poured it on in the final rounds.
Garcia opened two cuts around Malignaggi’s right eye. In the ninth round he wobbled him with a body blow and a shot the eardrum. It eventually caused the referee to end the fight — and Malignaggi’s career.
It was a career defined by fights against quality opponents. Malignaggi, whose last win was against Zab Judah in December of 2013, has seven loses — to Garcia, Shawn Porter, Adrian Broner, Amir Khan, Rickey Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Juan Diaz. All are or have been world champions. He only wanted to compete against the best.
“If you look at the combined records of the guys that I have beaten in my career, I didn’t take any shortcuts, that’s for sure,” Malignaggi said. “I did this the hard way.”
It is that toughness and stubbornness that made fans love him. The kid from Bensonhurst made good against the best because he was one of them.