In a great night of boxing with David Haye and Tony Bellew headlining, we also saw Sam Eggington (20-3,12KOs) and Paulie Malignaggi (36-8,7KOs) go toe to toe in an amazing bout, which lasted eight rounds and kept us on the edge of our seats throughout.
As expected, Malignaggi’s experience shone through in the first few rounds, although Eggington’s youth and determination had us believing he may have been scoping Paulie out to get a feel for his power. It was clear that Sam’s height and reach was giving Malignaggi problems already.
Malignaggi upped his work rate in the third round, making Eggington stumble momentarily, but Sam remained calm and looked comfortable with the pace. In the fourth, Malignaggi was still showing good movement, but the Birmingham native was landing the more powerful punches and walking the American visitor down.
The fourth may have just slipped away from Eggington and he adjusted his angles in the fifth to land cleaner left hooks and worked the body as well. Malignaggi was still showing his spirit but, with Eggington pushing him to the ropes to get in close, it was uncertain how long Malignaggi could retain this pace.
The beginning of the 6th started pretty evenly, with good shots from both. Towards the end of the round, however, we saw Eggington drop his guard almost entirely and get caught by what felt like an endless flurry of flush shots from Malignaggi, though he was still on his feet as the bell rang, it wasn’t good tactics. A nod of respect and a smile from Sam as the round ended confirmed that Malignaggi was still holding his own in this fight as it caught light.
The 7th appeared to be clearly in Eggington’s favour after cleaner and more accurate body shots were landed but, as we went into the 8th, Paulie was in control of the round and it seemed like this could possibly go the distance.
In the last minute of the 8th, Eggington caught Malignaggi with a brutal blow to the body, which had him trying to catch his breath throughout the count. Eggington was almost in disbelief when the Brooklyn man didn’t get up from the canvas.
Once Malignaggi was back on his feet, the two embraced with mutual respect and appreciation for what had been a good battle.
In their interview with Sky Sports at ringside, Malignaggi divulged that, before the fight, he didn’t want to hinder his performance against Eggington by announcing that this would be his last bout. He went on to say how accepted he has been by the British Boxing fans and how much he is looking forward to moving on to be a regular presenter and commentator for Sky Sports. He hinted that he wouldn’t fight again but he will make an official announcement in the week to come.
Malignaggi’s pro career in boxing has spanned almost 16 years and the names on his resume are something to be incredibly proud of. He has been up there with the likes of Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto and Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Zab Judah, to name but a few. He has undeniably held his own with some of the greats. If this is the end of the line for Paulie as a boxer, he will be sorely missed by his fans. They can, however, take comfort in knowing that his knowledge and expertise will be put to good use, at the ringside of future champions in boxing.
Sam Eggington told Sky Sports, “This was the biggest fight of my career, never mind winning”. To be put in the ring with someone of Malignaggi’s calibre means that there are big things to come for this once-journeyman from Birmingham. Eggington is now mandatory for the European title and there are talks of his next fight possibly being against Ceferino Rodriguez (24-1,12KOs). We are hoping to see this take place on May 13th in Birmingham on the Kal Yafai card.
With his exciting style that his fans love to watch, Eggington could well go on to fight for World honours in the not too distant future.