Paulie Malignaggi carried a lifetime of boxing experience into the BKFC ring on Saturday night when he took on the former UFC fighter Artem Lobov, but another thing he brought with him ultimately proved his downfall – his arogancy.
Malignaggi believed his extensive experience and skills in "sweet science" would be enough to claim an easy win. But, even though he was competing in a sport with the word "boxing" in his name, he was out of his comfort zone and competed in a totally different sport
READ MORE: Lobov stunned Malignaggi, outpoints rival to win ill- tempered bare-knuckle grudge match
His disrespect for Lobov heading into the contest was embarrassing at times. The bitterness was still lingered from THAT Conor McGregor's sparring session and a couple of years back, and his attitude towards Lobov was at times disgraceful (most notably his press-conference spitting) and reflected badly on both himself and the promotion he had signed to fight
That's not to say the promoters were that upset about it, mind you. Malignaggi's histrionics, spitting or otherwise, helped crank up the tension and undeniably raised interest for the fight.
But the mission that really counts took place on Saturday night, and he was ultimately found wanting. A fight for him to be a winner, but he has not been able to make it, but Lobov has earned 48-47 scores on all the judges' scorecards
One thing this fight demonstrates was the snobbery that still exists between boxing and MMA. Malignaggi ridiculed the MMA fanbase for their "stupidity" ahead of the matchup, mocking them for believing Lobov had any sort of chance in the fight.
Well, they're not looking that stupid now. boxing fraternity have always looked down their noses at mixed martial arts, and some have mocked MMA fighters for their striking compared to the tighter, at times more technical traditional boxing style
But the truth is those people just do not understand – or do not want to understand – mixed martial arts, and do not have an appreciation for the sport, the range of skills and qualities required. That was certainly the case with Malignaggi, and while Lobov was unable to finish the American, he made more than enough to rip "The Magic Man's" pre-fight mockery down his throat
The bare-knuckle fight between Malignaggi and Lobov did not prove MMA was better than boxing, or vice versa. Had it been under the Queensberry Rules, Malignaggi would have cruised to a decision win or a late stoppage. Under the Unified Rules of MMA, a lop-sided result would have gone Lobov's way. But this fight was not a boxing nor MMA, and last night's result simply proved that Lobov was better equipped than Malignaggi to win under BKFC's bare-knuckle rules
READ MORE: Paulie Malignaggi 'does not have the chin' for bareknuckle boxing , says world champion Jimmy Sweeney
At the pre-fight press conference promoter David Feldman boldly declared that the fight was "boxing versus MMA." Well, it was not. It was a boxer versus a mixed martial artist, but it was not sport versus sport. The whole boxing versus the MMA argument surely sells, but it's always been a huge red herring.
Boxing and MMA are two distinctly different sports – distant cousins that share certain qualities – but are completely different. the MMA fighter will struggle to do the same in boxing because of the required level of fine-tuned specialism in one specific striking art
Both sports require an incredible level of commitment, technique and toughness to reach the top. But it's in the technique that the two sports differ so wildly. One is not "better" than the other.
After the contest, Malignaggi shook his hand and bowed towards the former UFC star. Hopefully, after the last night's fight in Tampa, "The Magic Man" has a little more respect for Lobov. "The Russian Hammer" surely deserves it