pic Mr Will/Hogan Photos
By Clive Bernath: In more than 20 years of being involved in professional boxing I like to think I have pretty much seen it all. Remember the now infamous ’Fan Man’ attempting to parachute into the ring during the rematch between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe at Caesars Palace in 1993? Or how about Oliver McCall crying uncontrollably whilst on the way to the ring for his WBC heavyweight clash with Frank Bruno in 1995?
Well, Saturday(May 24) night bore witness to yet another bizarre incident when charismatic New Yorker Paulie Malignaggi decided to have his hair cut in the interval of his IBF junior-welterweight title clash with Lovemore Ndou. In his infinite wisdom, the flash 27 year-old decided hair extensions would be an impressive fashion accessory in his attempt to impress the 56, 000 pro Ricky Hatton fans at the Eastlands soccer ground in Manchester,England. Unfortunately,though,all the fashion conscious Malignaggi succeeded in doing was putting himself in a position of disadvantage.
As soon as the bell sounded for the start of round one it became apparent what was about to happen as Malignaggi’s ’hair’ swept uncontrollably around his face, obscured his vision and distracted him from concentrating. When the ’Magic Man’ came out for the second round his cornermen had tied the hair back with tape but by this time the damage was done as Malignaggi’s focus and concentration had all but disappeared. As the rounds went by the hair was still becoming a problem as Ndou, being the wily old pro he is, did a pretty good job of breaking the tape and exposing the free flowing locks once more. Finally, the penny dropped! At the end of the eighth round Malignaggi’s cornermen went to works with a pair of scissors and proceeded to hack off the hair extensions, at last leaving Malignaggi the opportunity to fight on equal terms.
We can all be wise after the event but surely there must be some serious questions that need to be asked. 1/ why did Malignaggi’s team allow him to enter the ring with hair extensions in the first place? And 2/ Why did neither the British Boxing Board of Control, whose jurisdiction the bout was fought, or the IBF,whose title was on the line- allow him to fight with such long hair?
All the aforementioned have years of experience supervising the noble art and we often hear about beards and dreadlocks having to be trimmed and cut before bouts so why not long hair?
Aside from the obvious safety aspect Malignaggi’s ill advised new hairstyle very nearly cost him his title and a potential junior-welterweight ’super fight’ with the world’s greatest crowd puller Ricky Hatton.
Instead of producing a Magical display of ring craftmanship, unfortunately the only trick the ’Magic Man’ succeeded in pulling off Saturday night was making his hair disappear!
May 25, 2008