DiBella: If Paulie beats N'dou, he beats Hatton

By G. Leon

13/06/2007

DiBella: If Paulie beats N'dou, he beats Hatton

GL: You've got a big night of boxing coming up on Saturday night with Lovemore N'dou-Paul Malignaggi and Curtis Stevens-Andre Dirrell. Can you give us some thoughts on the card? "I think it's a terrific card and I'm expecting a really nice crowd at Mohegan Sun. I think the opening bout with Dirrell and Stevens is what the opening bouts of Boxing After Dark are all about. Two young guys on the rise, a Olympic medallist  and a kid that's been developed in New York and is a tremendous knockout puncher. The winner of that fight is going to take a tremendous step up into the ranks of contenders at 168 and the guy that loses takes a big step back. It's an important fight between two young guys. In the main event you got two of the guys who gave Cotto his toughest fights.

"You saw on Saturday night how dominant Cotto is at 147 and he said some very nice things about Paulie and what a rough fight Paulie had given him, and N'dou went the distance with him and gave him a rough fight also. N'dou is an extremley strong guy and in many ways N'dou-Paulie is like Cotto-Malignaggi lite because he puts a lot of pressure on and he's a very strong warrior. He's never been an easy fight anybody and it's no accident that he got a world title even though he sort of stepped into it. I expect N'dou to bring a helluva fight and this is Paulie's opportunity. If Paulie fights the fight he did against Miguel Cotto, I think there will be a new champion, but it's going to be a rough and tumble kind of fight.

GL: With his charasmatic peronality and a world title, you could have a star on your hands with Malignaggi. How carefully would you move him if he were to become champion?

LD: "It wouldn't be a matter of so carefully. To be honest with you I love the Hatton fight somewhere down the line. It's because of his style. Let's put it like this, if he can beat N'dou he can beat Hatton. Some people may think I'm crazy, but I believe if he can beat N'dou he can beat Hatton. With that being said if Paulie wins the title, Paulie versus Dmitriy Salita in New York is an enormous fight. And it's a good style match-up because all Salita does is come forward. I'd have to be all over trying to make that fight if Paulie gets past N'dou. I think the winner of the fight will be in line for some big things."

GL: Would guys like Gatti and Chavez Jr also be on his short list?

LD: "Hugely. Right at the top of the short list. If Paulie wins this title there will be no shortage of big fights for Malignaggi. He's got the mouth and he knows how to help sell tickets. If he gets past N'dou the sky is the limit, but everyone involved with Paulie knows how difficult a fight this is."

GL: How big of a step up is Dirrell from Stevens previous opposition?

LD: "A huge step up, but I think Curtis might be a bigger step up for Dirrell than Dirrell is for Curtis. Neither guy has a faced a guy as good as the other as a pro, but Curtis has probably had a bit more experience. It's a classic match-up of the puncher and the boxer. I think there's no question Dirrell brings more movement and boxing and Curtis brings explosiveness. From Curt's perspective, he's got to believe that Dirrell's chin is at least suspect and he's going to be going after that the entire night."

GL: Tell us about Jermain Taylor-Kelly Pavlik.

LD: "We're making progress and moving ahead. It's a big fight and you don't make big fights in one day but I'm very optimisitc that fight will happen and my fighter wants the fight."

GL: Sechew Powell is currently a free agent...

LD: (cutting in) "He has an agreement with DiBella Entertainment. I have agreed with his father, who is his manager, that if they come to the table with someone else and bring me a check that I would let Sechew go his own way. I like Sechew and I will always like Sechew, he's a good kid and his old man and I are very friendly, but I think he doesn't quite understand that even though he beat Ishe, that fight didn't advance him because it wasn't particularly pleasing to the network or to the fans. I think he's got great ability and I think he has what it takes to win a world title with me or with somebody else, but if it's with somebody else and they take care of me economically to get out their obligations to me, then I'm fine with him going elsewhere. We'll work through that I'm sure because his father and I are cool and talk regularly."