Dominant Garcia stops Malignaggi

Danny Garcia made a winning start on his step up to the welterweight division, battering Paulie Malignaggi in a ninth-round knockout victory on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

In a fight that was a terrible mismatch, it was at times painful to watch how little Malignaggi could do to keep Garcia at bay, with the former two-division titleholder possibly battered into retirement.

"I'm probably not fighting again. You hate to make an emotional decision. My career started in Brooklyn 14 years ago," Malignaggi told ESPN.

"If it ends in Brooklyn tonight, then at least I ended it at home, where I'm from, and in front of the greatest fans in the world.

Garcia had won all eight rounds comfortably before referee Arthur Mercante Jr stopped the fight with 2:22 on the clock in the ninth round, after a Garcia found the target with a punch that left Malignaggi staggering. 

The 34-year-old said that he had no objection to the stoppage, as Garcia had "broken him down" over the previous eight rounds.

"He was walking me down fairly well behind the jab. He cut me in the (third), and I think that upped his confidence," Malignaggi said.

“I never could get control of the pace, though. In spots, I felt I was giving up less ground, and I had him missing. He got back on his groove though.

"I felt like if I couldn't put up a great performance tonight, then it would be my last," he said. "I was trying to hang tough as much as I could.

"I remember when I was taking big shots, I just kept thinking, 'Don't give in. This is your last night if you give in.

"'Don't show that you're going to give in. If you can show that you're still hungry for it, then you'll convince yourself that this isn't the end'."

Garcia could face former IBF Welterweight Champion Shawn Porter, who knocked out Malignaggi in 2014, or current WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman in his next bout.