By Mark Elezaj
Tampa Florida – Paulie Malignaggi, who was making his bare knuckle debut last night, lost a very close, unanimous decision to MMA veteran Artem Lobov. All three judges saw it 48-47.
The main event between Malignaggi and Lobov was being billed as a hateful match fueled by bad blood and even a murderous intent, via Malignaggi during one of the fights press conferences.
Lobov was the aggressor from the start, looking to land huge haymakers and looking to fight Malignaggi whenever they would clinch.
Malignaggi used his stick-and-move style of offense, looking to outbox and keep Lobov at a distance.
The first round was a slow round, your typical “feel out round” from both fighters. Lobov lunged in behind his punches looking to clinch while Malignaggi attacked the body while moving away from Lobov.
In the second round, Malignaggi came alive, landing crisp jabs and a powerful right hand that definitely got Lobov’s attention.
Round three, Malignaggi was on the defense throughout. Lobov continued to be the aggressor and landed a big left hand that had Malignaggi backpedaling to the ropes.
In the fourth, Lobov came out and rushed Malignaggi, landing a huge combination that left a huge gash above Paulie’s left eye. As Lobov continued to push the action, Malignaggi would respond with counter shots, jabs and head movement.
In the fifth and final round, Lobov attacked the body but was unable to land anything big, as Malignaggi stayed elusive for the most part. The fight concluded, Malignaggi did what he needed to do and survived his debut with a smile on his face.
In what was a close affair, Lobov outscored Malignaggi and won by unanimous decision at Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship 6.
Malignaggi said that he suffered a broken hand in the second round and he felt that he won the fight, and was shocked by the judges decision.
The two men exchange in a hug in the ring and a high five on stage after the fight was finished.
After the fight, Lobov told Ron Kruck that Malignaggi has his respect (via MMAFighting.com):
“It was an emotional fight, As a result, I came in a little bit on the back foot more than usual but I still pressed, I was still stalking him. That’s a nice decision win for me.
“To me, there is many people out there that talk a lot of s—t and then they don’t show up. Paulie he shows up. You can like him or hate him, but in terms of being a fighter, he showed up that time to the spar, both of them, and he showed up tonight to fight. So I always respect the fighter for that.”
When Kruck spoke to Malignaggi, he said he is walking away from combat sports for good:
“Maybe just maybe this wasn’t meant to be. I’m 38 years old. I’m too old to start campaigning off of a loss. I would have done this again. I would have considered coming back. I thought I was winning pretty easily. I’m done.”
Malignaggi then went on to rip the Florida State judges and questioned their experience.
“I pretty much got the worst of everything because I got a shit decision and I made a tic-tac-toe board out of his face with my left hand,” Malignaggi said. “Look at my face, I got hit literally in one clinch. In one clinch, I got hit and that’s it. I took a couple of shots in that one clinch that he got me, I thought I did a pretty good job in clinches other than that, and really nothing else landed. I was very comfortable boxing.
“Luckily, I have experience fighting with one hand from earlier in my career, breaking my right hand so many times, so even when my right hand was gone I thought I boxed very well in three, four, and five. He got me in the clinch in three, but other than that I thought four and five—I mean five he didn’t land at all. I was popping him with jabs and check left hooks constantly. You want to give him four, I don’t think you can, but I guess if they want to give it to him.”
“The only thing I could come up with is a couple of times off the spin-offs I went off-balance and he kind of grazed me with some shots that maybe they thought the punches caused me to go off-balance instead of my legs and my spin-off going off-balance and they thought he was hurting me so that made them give him a round,” Malignaggi said.
“This is also a problem when you have a state that has a fight every 50 years. You have judges that don’t know what the f*ck they’re watching, don’t know what the f*ck they’re doing, and you get this. Everybody and their mothers thought I won this fight, but you know what? I’m also 38 years old and I guess this is sort of a sign to say, ‘Yo, you gotta stop.’ Because I probably would have kept doing this if I won this fight tonight… once I got in there and I got going it was kind of fun. It was like I was in the moment. Sure, it sucks getting hit, of course. But I took that one shot in the clinch and I thought I dealt with the clinch pretty well, I was pretty elusive, and so I was boxing well.”
“Ironically, the judges gave me the first two rounds and then after three they didn’t give me a round. Again, bush league shit, because I got cut in round three. Once the bush league shit came in they literally only scored my blood. The same shit was happening, he was getting out-boxed very easily, but now I was cut.
“And clearly the bush league judges scored the blood and not the actual fight or what was happening, because realistically nothing else happened aside from that clinch where he definitely got me with some good shots.”
“I knew he was a tough guy,” Lobov said about Malignaggi at the BKFC 6 post fight press conference. “He’s experienced, he won 50 fights, I knew this was not going to be easy.”
“I said this before, for me I will always respect the fighter that shows up,” Lobov stated. “Paulie showed up to the spar. If you were to offer the same thing to many other boxers, they probably wouldn’t show up to the spar but he did and he did a full 12 rounds twice and he showed up again today.
“I take my hat off to him. He’s always been a fighter and he still is.”
Unlike traditional boxing rules, the clinch is allowed in bare knuckle boxing, which is why Lobov implemented that as a key to his strategy to beat Malignaggi.
“That was a big part of my game plan,” Lobov explained. “Get him in the clinch and work him there and I really wanted to push him against the ropes. Because the ropes here are really hard, almost like a cage, so I was going to do like we do in MMA.
“Push him against the cage, get good position, get the underhook and then land some shots. But the referee didn’t allow me to do that for some reason. I was a little bit surprised.”
Lobov’s unanimous decision victory moved him to 2-0 in bare knuckle boxing with more fights planned in the future. As for Malignaggi, he said that was it for him, he was done. Only time will tell.
~ The Fighting Voice ~