Malignaggi's corner lets him down

Kevin Iole
Yahoo! Sports
Malignaggi's corner lets him down
Paul Malignaggi (left) was dominated by Amir Khan on Saturday night

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Short shots about the world of professional boxing:

What was Paulie Malignaggi's corner thinking on Saturday when he was being pummeled by Amir Khan in their fight for the World Boxing Association super lightweight title in The Theater at Madison Square Garden?

It was clear by about the fifth round that Malignaggi, whose forte is his boxing skill, had no chance to win the fight. He was being clearly outboxed by Khan and was taking an extraordinary amount of punishment in the process.

Malignaggi entered the fight without a knockout in more than six years, but at one stage late in the fight, his trainer, Sharif Younan, was telling him he needed to go out and knock Khan out.

What Younan should have told him was that he wasn't going to allow him to take a beating any longer.

Khan won by technical knockout in the 11th round when referee Steve Smoger mercifully jumped in to halt the carnage. Khan had won all 10 completed rounds on the scorecards of all three judges and was hitting Malignaggi with flush, clean shots.

Thankfully, Malignaggi came out of the fight fine health-wise. But the way Khan was beating on him slowly, round after round, is the most dangerous type of fight. It's not the one-punch knockouts that hurt a fighter. It's taking that punishment minute after minute, round after round as the brain rattles around in the skull.

No one with any boxing sense could have believed after the eighth round that Malignaggi was either going to win or even had a remote chance to do so.

The corner men, particularly the trainer, are there not only to teach the fighter and give him instruction but to protect him as well.

Malignaggi needed to be protected on Saturday and his corner let him down.

• Khan looked terrific in retaining his title and clearly has a lot of promise. Let's not get carried away, though. He's not remotely ready for either World Boxing Council/International Boxing Federation champion Devon Alexander or World Boxing Organization champion Timothy Bradley yet.

He will be one day, and there will be terrific battles between those three men, as well as Marcos Maidana.

Khan, though, isn't there yet.

• Victor Ortiz looked good in a one-sided victory over Nate Campbell on the Khan-Malignaggi undercard, but I'm still not convinced that Ortiz is the real deal. In defeating the 38-year-old Campbell, all he did was beat up a guy whose better days were long in the past and a fighter who is on the verge of retirement.

I want to see Ortiz come through some adversity against a good opponent before I change my opinion of him as a coddled, overrated prospect.

• I doubt that Israel Vazquez or Rafael Marquez will ever be the same as they were before the first time they met each other in 2007. Their three epic battles took much of the fight out of both men. But Saturday's fourth fight – Vazquez leads the series 2-1 – at the Staples Center in Los Angeles will still be an epic show.

The skill level won't be as high as it was in 2007, when they fought twice. But they have fought three incredible battles, two of which were the Yahoo! Sports Fight of the Year. Expect an incredibly spirited battle and hope that 10 years down the road, both fighters are still able to appreciate what he did in the ring.

• Vazquez-Marquez IV will be on Showtime and will be paired with an outstanding bantamweight fight between Yohnny Perez and Abner Mares.

• Showtime continues to show its fights tape-delayed to the West Coast on many cable systems. It would be much better for the fans if the fights were live in all time zones.

• Whoever among the HBO and Showtime executives allowed Michael Katsidis to fight Kevin Mitchell in London on Saturday instead of on their network made a big mistake. Katsidis is one of the most exciting fighters in the world and every bout of his should be shown on one of the major premium cable channels in the U.S.

• Naazim Richardson's name has popped up as a potential down-the-road replacement for Lennox Lewis, who was let go by HBO as a boxing analyst. Whoever came up with the idea should be promoted. Richardson would be a magnificent choice.

Another dark horse would be a former HBO employee, Lou DiBella. DiBella is now a successful promoter, but he's made noises about quitting the promotional business. If he does, he'd be perfect as a Larry Merchant, conscience-of-boxing type of analyst.

• When promoter Don King was trying to stop Ricardo Mayorga from competing in a mixed martial arts bout on Saturday, he mentioned that he may land a middleweight title fight for the Nicaraguan wild man.

If Mayorga gets a crack at any middleweight title, it would be a disgrace. The rumor is that King's attempting to match him with WBA champion Felix Sturm.

Mayorga fought once in 2006 and was knocked out by Oscar De La Hoya. He fought once in 2007 and scored a majority decision over a badly faded Fernando Vargas. And he fought once in 2008, getting knocked out in the 12th round by Shane Mosley.

Sadly, though, that's the kind of resume the WBA often likes.

Don't be surprised if he gets the shot.

• Of course, it is beyond ridiculous that Albert Sosnowski will actually fight for the heavyweight title when he meets Vitali Klitschko in Germany on May 29 for the WBC title, but I'll give the big man a bit of a break on the choice of opponents.

Who else was he going to fight?

This is the WBC's top 10 (Sosnowski is 11th): Odlanier Solis, Nikolai Valuev, Alexander Povetkin, Denis Boytsov, Tomasz Adamek, Derric Rossy, Jonathon Banks, Samuel Peter, Tony Thompson and Chris Arreola.

Klitschko has already beaten Peter, Thompson and Arreola. Valuev has had numerous title shots and is coming off a loss to WBA champion David Haye. Povetkin is the mandatory for the IBF title, held by Wladimir Klitschko, and Adamek just defeated Arreola on April 24.

Not much to choose from, is there?

• Gary Shaw may not be the world's greatest promoter, but he puts his fighters in tough, risky fights. I like that.

• Happy 54th birthday to the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard, whose big day was Monday. His longtime rival, the great "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler, will be 57 on Sunday.