Paulie Malignaggi’s loss to Artem Lobov was something of a surprise on Saturday, but BKFC will move forward either way.
That was not the desired result, that was not what the unpublished script had for an ending. So apparently, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship is also the theater of the unexpected.
Here’s how the script, I think, was supposed to go: Paul Malignaggi was going to come out of boxing retirement, beat Conor McGregor’s buddy Artem Lobov at BKFC 6 in Tampa on Saturday night, then lobby to get a BK fight with the charismatic Irishman, which would explode the bare knuckle scene to massive heights.
But it didn’t go that way.
Here are top takeaways from the Saturday event:
38 IS 38
Aging is a bitch. You can Botox it, try to will it away, seek super supplements, eat clean 24/7 — and still, Father Time spanks you. Paulie didn’t look bad, I thought he “boxed” well, but still, you don’t have the energy you did, the volume isn’t what it was, skin thins and you cut easier. Aging is a bitch.
ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER
Yep, it is a combat sport. Nope, it isn’t so easy to jump from the square ring, to the BK ring. Me, I saw Paulie winning 3-1-1, but those judges didn’t see the same. We’d have to ask the three separately, but by and large, the thinking is this: pure aggression is going to be rewarded more so in bare knuckle than in pugilism, and judges saw the Russian-born Lobov look to be the aggressor more and rewarded him via a UD-5.
PRAISE BE, NO PEE PEE
The trash talk at the big presser was beyond profane, with Paulie priomising to urinate in the mouth of the loser. Looks like Lobov understood that chatter was for effect and would help earn them both money, because he remained composed in this lead-up, even after being slapped by the Showtime analyst and then abused verbally. But the fighters showed mutual respect after rumbling, which is always gratifying to take in.
PROPS TO PROMOTER
David Feldman showed admirable cool after the decision was announced. Props to the Pennsylvania man, because yes, it would have, I think, been better for Paulie, the “name” guy, to get the nod. Hey, did Feldman think the Brooklyner won?
“I think boxing people picked Paulie, MMA picked Artem. I thought it was close. It was mixed at ringside,” Feldman told me Sunday.
So what were those judges seeing and thinking?
“I think it’s a little more for aggression,” Feldman said. “Don’t forget it’s not a boxing match. It’s effectiveness, aggression, and punches landed. All in one. It was a tough call.”
He was purely positive Sunday.
“People are going to have to start listening, because BKFC is talking, Mike. We are growing, brother. 436 days from the announcement of our first show, and we just promoted one of the most talked about combat sporting events of the summer.”
THE END, FOR REAL FOR PAULIE
You never say never, but one would think this is truly the end of the fighting line for Paulie. He drew slings and arrows from anti-fans on social media for losing to “McGregor’s sparring partner,” but you won’t catch me throwing that shade. Fighters are born different, their constitution is drawn up differently. They don’t read signals like we do, they dare greater, they run into burning buildings. They test themselves even when signals are sent to tell them to stand down.
But one would think that after suffering a few cuts, maybe a busted hand, after getting bleeding on the brain versus Shawn Porter — this, finally, will be what Paulie needed to get fighting out of his system. (Or enough so that he won’t be lured into just one more.)
Those are my main takeways, friends. What did you think about BKFC6? If this was your first time, thoughts? Will you tune in again?