BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Chants of “Paulie” filled the night air as the opening bell tolled to start a welterweight title bout between Danny Garcia (30-0) and Paulie Malignaggi (33-6). Those chants would not be able to propel the hometown favorite to victory as he fell via technical knockout to Garcia in nine rounds.
Early in the fight it was typical feeling-out each other fodder, but by round 2 Garcia was getting closer and landing in spots. Malignaggi was boxing well and landed several precision combos, including a picturesque uppercut inside which he would continue to have success with throughout the fight.
In round 4 a steady shift was occurring and it was becoming clear that Malignaggi, who in his best days could box circles around opponents, could do little to control the action as he once might have. Garcia seemed patient and steady, though unable to land sustained attacks due to Malignaggi’s crafty defense. A gash below Malignaggi’s eye seeped blood for much of the fight.
In round 8 the intensity picked up as Garcia started to fling sweat and blood from Malignaggi as his attack began to hit the mark. Scrappy as ever, Malignaggi continued to fire back and land impressively in spots, but true to form, the light punching pugilist could not seem to deter Garcia no matter how flush the punches landed.
The final stanza would be round 9 as Garcia seemed ready to impose himself. Ripping a series of combinations to Malignaggi’s body and head, he had the savvy veteran in retreat. After a solid connect buzzed him, Malignaggi stumbled back along the ropes off-balance and the referee jumped in to stop the bout at 2:22 of the round.
The 7,237 attendees of the fight were initially displeased by the end of the bout, which may have seemed premature at first blush, but Malignaggi was gracious in defeat and said it was a good stoppage.
An emotional Malignaggi said that this would probably be his last fight and received a warm appreciation from the crowd.
Garcia improves to 31-0 and it remains to be seen if his future is in the 147- or 140-pound weight division.