The Flash & The Craftsman

Malignaggi decisions Camarena, Augustus stops Rangel:

The Flash and the Old Craftsman at Foxwoods

Words and photos by Alex Pierpaoli

originally published 2/14/06 on


Junior welterweight Paul Malignaggi punished Donald Camarena over ten lop-sided rounds at Foxwoods Casino on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights show last week.  The Magic Man, Paul Malignaggi made a successful return to the ring after surgery to repair a broken right hand; the second break and second surgery on the hand in as many fights.  Donald Camarena, a step-up in competition for the unbeaten Malignaggi, was reduced to a purely defensive posture as the Magic Man belted him repeatedly with speedy punches from all angles.


Malignaggi bloodied the nose of Camarena in the very first round with quick, wicked rights and lefts that whipped right past the guard of Camarena.  Camarena was clearly befuddled and frustrated by the Magic Man’s speed.  After four rounds Malignaggi went to his corner smiling while across the ring there was grim seriousness in the faces of Team Camarena.


As the bout wore on, Malignaggi tired from his busy routine of movement and flashy punches.  Using both intimidation and brute force, Malignaggi would drive Camarena to the ropes to hold him there while the Magic Man would catch a breather.  Even while on the ropes Malignaggi showed ring savvy and was able to remain dominant by flurrying whenever Camarena was bold enough to mount an attack.  Any shots Malignaggi landed would lessen the level of resistance from Camarena.  Plain and simple, Malignaggi’s punches were too fast.  Speed coupled with the Magic Man’s consistent mastery of distance rendered Camarena utterly ineffective in the fight.

When the decision was announced Judges Steve Epstein and Clark Sammartino didn’t give Camarena a single round, tabbing Malignaggi the winner by scores of 100-90.  While the third judge Glenn Feldman saw the fight 98-92 for Malignaggi, giving Camarena the final two frames when Malignaggi was most tired and Camarena the most desperate.


Afterward, the Magic Man spoke to the media about exactly the type of fight he had predicted.


“That’s the way it ends up being a lot of times with my opponents.  My speed makes them gun-shy.  They don’t know where it’s coming from.  The punches come from all angles.  I knew it was gonna happen.”  Malignaggi grinned wide.  “I knew that was gonna happen.”


“Mighty Mike! We want Mighty Mike Arnaoutis!” said promoter Lou DiBella.  After watching his young fighter thrill the crowd with dazzling hand speed and flashy bravado, DiBella was all smiles.


With the loss, Donald Camarena dropped to 16-2 (9), while Paul Malignaggi remained undefeated, now 21-0 (5).


In the ESPN2 co-feature pugilist craftsman Emanuel Augustus stopped Columbia’s Jaime Rangel after ten tough competitive rounds.  From the start of the bout, the southpaw, Jaime Rangel was the aggressor and Emanuel Augustus tried slipping as many shots as he could while remaining close enough to Rangel to land his own counters.  This was the serious Augustus; planting his feet more often than side-stepping and staying close enough to keep putting his hands on Rangel.  Never a knockout puncher, Augustus’ kayo wins are usually scored by attrition and by breaking a man down, never with one punch.  On Wednesday before the fight Augustus said he intended to go for the kayo and six minutes into the fight it was clear Augustus planned to do more slugging than clowning.


Through the middle rounds of the bout, Augustus absorbed hard shots to the body from Rangel.  Always one to apply psychological pressure, Augustus shot Rangel a disappointed look as if he had expected oh so much more from the Columbian’s best power punches.  Augustus’ sense of humor sneaked into the fight in spots but more often the crowd watched Augustus bust up Jaime Rangel with chopping uppercuts, hooks and crosses.  The wide power punches of Rangel became slower and sloppier as Augustus remained in front of him throughout the fight, relying on speed of foot and fist to pepper Rangel with left and right straight punches that snapped Rangel’s head back.


After two knockdowns, Ref. Dick Flaherty waved off the bout at 2:27 of round ten just as Ringside Physician Tony Alessi was scrambling up through the ropes and into the ring to check on Rangel.


Augustus is now 32-25-6 (17) while Jaime Rangel falls to 30-9-1 (26).  Later, Emanuel Augustus spoke to the media at ringside.


“I really wanna get my career off on a good note,” Augustus said.  “And this is just the beginning so I gotta take this and learn from it.”


Trainer Robert Campos agreed.


“I want you all to notice that he didn’t dance like he used to.  This time he was keeping a lot more focus out there.”


Augustus hopes for a return bout with Floyd Mayweather if the Pretty Boy ever comes back down to one hundred forty pounds.  If not, Augustus would love to fight Ricky Hatton or Miguel Cotto.  With the clock ticking on his career, Emanuel Augustus hopes to finish up with big fights only.


In other bouts at Foxwoods:


Philip McCants sent Kareem Robinson to the deck three times though only two official knockdowns were held against Robinson, since one was the result of a late shot from McCants thrown after the bell had sounded to end round two.  Robinson was able to clear his head using his own version of the rope-a-dope in round three and finished the fourth and final round on his feet after absorbing quite a pounding in the decision loss.  Robinson staggers off at 2-3 (1) while McCants rises to 6-1-1 (3).


Anthony Russell was put down hard twice by Ray Darden, but try as he might Darden simply couldn’t finish Russell.  After four rounds, Russell takes a majority decision and improves to 12-1-1 (2) while Ray Darden drops to 9-12 (4).


The first fight of the night was a rematch of a November draw which pitted Joe Rosa of the Bronx against Angelo Gustavo Acevedo.  Rosa threw punches in great volleys while Acevedo tried like hell to take control in the fight but to no avail.  Rosa improves to 1-0-1 while Acevedo drops to 0-3-1.


The second fight of the night almost became a most improbable upset when Lowell Massachusetts’s favorite son, Joey “Alpha & Omega” Ortega dropped undefeated Julio Cardenas 8-0 (2) in the second round of their four-rounder.  Joey Ortega, now 2-14, was in deep water at the start of the fight as the skilled Cardenas moved and pecked and hammered away at him from a distance.  Ortega, a pug who is never short on enthusiasm but extremely short on defense, kept right on working and winging shots and getting nailed by Cardenas all the while hoping to land something big of his own.


In round two lightning struck and Ortega cracked Cardenas with an overhand right that wobbled him and put him on the deck.  Ortega had waited and waited for that opening and with less than 10 seconds to go in the second round he got it.


Cardenas beat the count, weathered the last few seconds of the round and fought the rest of the fight to make up for the knockdown.  That meant bad news for Ortega and there were several times when this writer thought the bout should have been stopped.  But after the second round bolt of lightning from Ortega there was a sense that as long as Ortega could throw punches and kept trying; and Ortega certainly was tryingラthen perhaps he’d connect with another bomb.  In the end Ortega did finish on his feet and for a moment at least he certainly gave an undefeated prospect a scare.


Send comments or questions to Alex Pierpaoli at:


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