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What we learned from BKFC 6: Malignaggi v. Lobov

In the end, the fight was nothing compared to the hype surrounding it.

It is strange when a grudge match that had a lot of momentum leading up to it doesn’t have any juice to hold itself together. Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship 6 had that when Paulie Malignaggi, a retired boxer, took on MMA fighter Artem Lobov. The latter won via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-37) in a seemingly one-sided affair. All eyes were on the bare-knuckle contest, which regardless of the outcome is what everyone wanted.

Now that we have had more than a week to reflect on it, we can finally ask: what did we just watch? It wasn’t a bloodbath as Paulie predicted it would be. Neither men’s skills were really utilized, minus Paulie’s ability to move away when sensing danger. This is not the first time something like this has happened and it won’t be the last. There are quite a few takeaways from this bout that will (try to) give us a better understanding of the entire situation.

Malignaggi Better Off Retired

Coming into this fight, Paulie Malignaggi (36-8 boxing, 0-1 BKFC) was two+ years removed from competitive boxing. His body wasn’t the same, as evidenced by his lack of hand movement in the fight. This was a fight out of his element, and it showed. While his face only has a few scars (there was more than one shot that landed), his hands will never be the same thanks to in an unfamiliar environment. That is not to say he didn’t stand a chance, but when you have three different sports mix together, there is bound to be some type of unfortunate clash.

Credit to Paulie for being able to get eyes on the fight, which was his job. He did much better at that job than the job he was hyping up.

Bare-Knuckle Boxing Isn’t For Everyone

One of the biggest debates heading into the fight was how legitimate bare-knuckle boxing was. While BKFC 6 saw some entertaining fights, there were obvious complaints by MMA and boxing fans alike. Paulie even talked down MMA fans and singled them out to being savage BKFC fans.

The sport of bare-knuckle boxing may have elements of both MMA and boxing, but it is its own entity. In the end, the style may not be for everyone, which is fine. If at least a certain percentage found the night entertaining (even for negative reasons), it was deemed a success. In the off chance those same fans who watched BKFC 6 never tune in again, the fact that eyes were on it helped spread the word.

It will be fascinating to see how much momentum the organization can hold onto following this one and done deal.

The “Fight” Didn’t Need To Happen

Lobov (13-5-1, 1NC MMA, 2-0 BKFC) is not a true household name. One of Conor McGregor’s teammates, this “feud” really stemmed from a McGregor/Malignaggi training session. Malignaggi ended his boxing career with a loss and to be fair, wasn’t even close to his prime.

The hype leading up to the fight ended up being just that. One of the only aspects of the fight that was remotely entertaining was Paulie’s post-fight speech.

“I am not sure what the judges were looking at, but I felt like he walked into a lot of my jabs and check left hooks,” said Malignaggi. “Maybe it’s beneath me, but I thought I would give it a shot, give him a shot. Maybe I was wrong. I am 38 years old so I am not interested in campaigning or competing in Bare Knuckle against this loss. I kind of liked the adrenaline rush and it was different, but I am done.”

This is the kind of content that drives the internet. Of course, there are those that will be taking advantage of the situation, and rightfully so. That is what this specific fight was all about. BKFC were wise enough to strike while the iron was still hot. Some may not say it was a success, but when you have viewers, whether online, true buyers or an in-house audience, the organization will go to bed smiling knowing they did something right.

In Conclusion

We can add this to the basement collection that includes Conor McGregor v. Floyd Mayweather. If we were to never talk about this fight again the world would be a better place. However, it is archived just like Mayweather v. McGregor to show future generations just how wild this age of combat sports was. Promotions, fighters and everyone within the industry can learn a lot about this fight, even if the results weren’t as satisfying as expected.

In the end, this is the entertainment business. Whatever moves the needle will be done. BKFC 6 can be considered a number of things, but in the end, a successful is one of them.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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