“Action Heroes” Undercard: Malignaggi Takes On Jose Cotto in Welterweight Bout


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Paul Malignaggi v Miguel Cotto

Oscar de la Hoya and the rest of Golden Boy Promotions is making good on their promise to deliver a top notch event from start to finish for their April 9 event which they are calling “Action Heroes”. The MGM Grand Garden Arena will be hosting the fight card which boasts a couple of 12 round co-main events. The final bout of the evening pits hard hitting Argentine Marcos Maidana as he looks to return to the win column against Mexican legend Erik Morales. The chief supporting bout showcases Gilroy’s former world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero as he takes on one of the sports gutsiest performers in Michael Katsidis.

The latest addition to the upcoming pay-per-view attraction has Brooklynite Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi (28-4, 6 KOs) able to find redemption as he sqaures off against Jose Cotto, older brother of current WBA junior middleweight champion, Miguel Cotto.

“We promised to deliver the best fights for the April 9 pay-per-view and we are continuing to do that with the addition of the always-flashy and exciting Paulie Malignaggi against the experienced Jose Miguel Cotto,” said Oscar de la Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. “It is going to be a clash of a boxer versus a puncher, plus Paulie is looking to avenge his loss to Jose Miguel’s older brother, Miguel Cotto, in a fight you won’t want to miss.”

In June of 2006 Malignaggi was dealt the first loss of his career at the hands of Miguel Cotto when both men were a bit younger and lighter as they competed in the junior welterweight division for Cotto’s WBO version of the championship. The night started off rough for Malignaggi as he was floored in the second round and only got worse as the night progressed. Despite showing the heart of a champion, Malignaggi came up short in his initial bid for a world title as all three judges scored the bout in favor of Cotto.

Now he gets the chance to earn a victory over a Cotto. While it isn’t his original foe in Miguel, you can be sure that Malignaggi will be treating it as if it were as every fight at this stage of his career is vital as he fights to remain relevant.

The 33 year old Jose Cotto (32-2-1, 24 KOs), has fought his entire career in the shadow of his more popular and successful brother. A win over Malignaggi won’t change that but it will be that big win over a name and game oppoenent that he has been looking for.

Cotto was last seen in the ring in November as he stopped the virtually unknown Christopher Henry in four rounds to bring himself back to his winning ways. Six months prior to that he faced a much more skilled fighter in Saul Alvarez and was ultimately stopped in the ninth round of their scheduled ten rounder. Cotto was floored in the second round and at the time of the stoppage all three judges had him down on the cards with scores of 78-73.

Prior to the Alvarez clash, the biggest fight of Cotto’s career was against then lightweight champion Juan Diaz back in 2006. Diaz utilized his trademark workrate to outhustle the Puerto Rican pugilist and wound up retaining his title with a unanimous decision.

As he steps up in terms of opposition he’s no doubt hoping that the third time is the charm and finally breaks through with a win against an upper echelon opponent.

“This is going to be a great fight,” said Cotto. “I’ve been in the gym training my hardest and I feel ready. Having a big win over Malignaggi will move me closer to a title opportunity. I will not let this one go by.”

As Cotto seeks the shot at winning his first world title, Malignaggi looks to become a two division title holder after having claimed the IBF junior welterweight strap against Lovemore N’dou in 2007.

In addition to bringing the Magic Man closer to another bid for a world title a win over Cotto would give him back to back wins which hasn’t happened for the flashy fighter since 2008. Since his TKO loss to Ricky Hatton it’s been an up and down ride for Malignaggi as he has alternated between wins and losses in the ensuing five fights.

Last year he was stopped in the eleventh round by current WBA junior welterweight champ Amir Khan. He then opted to move up to the welterweight division as he traveled to the Great White North to record just the sixth win via (T)KO of his career when he took on Michael Lozada.

“I’m very excited to be on this great card that is generating a lot of buzz,” said Malignaggi. “I think fighting Cotto is a good test and an important next step at this point in my career as I climb back to the top of the sport. His brother Miguel is the best fighter I have fought in my career, so I know when fighting a ‘Cotto’ I have to be prepared. I’m excited for the challenge and the chance to keep proving ‘naysayers’ wrong.”

At this juncture neither man can stand to lose a fight and still remain in the hunt for a major world title.

On one hand you have Malignaggi trying to make it 2-0 under the Golden Boy Promotions banner and on the other you have Cotto attempting to prove it a matter of kismet that Malignaggi will fall to 0-2 when stepping into the ring with a Cotto.

Whether it’s a kid from Brooklyn fighting for the honor of achieving a world title or the family honor of two brothers fighting out of Caguas, Puerto Rico, it’s all but guaranteed that these two pugilists will leave it all in the ring come April 9 when they meet in Las Vegas.

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