Paul Malignaggi beat Juan Diaz by unanimous decision on Saturday night, a clear outcome after a controversial fight in August between the two junior welterweights.
The 29-year-old Malignaggi came out more aggressive than normal and consistently landed his jab while Diaz waited to counter. The Brooklyn-based fighter always seemed to have the fight under control, even when Diaz managed to steal a few rounds with quick flurries.
All three judges scored it 116-111 for Malignaggi, who improved to 27-3.
The common scorecards were in stark contrast to the wild difference of scores in their first fight, when Diaz won by unanimous decision in his hometown of Houston.
Two judges had that bout 115-113 and 116-112, but it was the 118-110 scorecard turned in by a Texas judge that prompted calls for an immediate rematch.
Malignaggi refused to back up through the fight, using his jab to keep distance while the smaller Diaz (34-3) tried to bull his way inside. As the fight progressed, Malignaggi was able to coast in the latter rounds, making it more difficult for Diaz to land his combinations.
The "Baby Bull" was cut under his left eye during the second round by a punch, though it was never a major factor in the outcome. The 26-year old Diaz was most successful in the fifth round with Malignaggi on the ropes, but struggled to take over the fight.
The flamboyant Malignaggi toyed with Diaz at times, playing to the crowd by putting his hands behind his back and making winding motions as he was readying to punch.
Malignaggi didn't appear significantly marked throughout the fight, proving how tough he was when he stood up to Diaz in the 12th round and exchanged punches in the middle of the ring.
Malignaggi said afterward that he's willing to fight anybody in the loaded 140-pound class, including WBO champion Timothy Bradley, who looked impressive in beating Lamont Peterson on Saturday night in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
He also called out WBA titleholder Amir Khan and WBC champion Devon Alexander.
In the co-main event, Victor Ortiz (25-2, 20 KOs) rebounded from an embarrassing loss to Marcos Maidana to stop veteran Antonio Diaz one second into the seventh round.
Ortiz is a prized prospect for Golden Boy Promotions and had been on the rise until he was knocked down in the first and sixth rounds by Maidana in June. Ortiz quit after the second knockdown, and needed a dominant performance against Diaz (46-6) to get back on track.
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