Exclusive Interview: Paul Malignaggi Part 1

By. Ray O. Campbell Jr.


Exclusive Interview: Paul Malignaggi Part 1

“In 2007 I am going to win a world title!”

Boxingtalk.com recently caught up with Brooklyn based Jr. Welterweight contender Paul “The Magic Man” Malignaggi 21-1(5) to discuss his next bout, tentatively set for February 17th on HBO’s Boxing after Dark series. As this goes to print, no suitable opponents have been solidified. The “Magic Man” does inform us of who HBO turned down, who else was offered the fight, and tells us that former world title challenger Juan Lazcano 37-3-1(27) pulled out of the potential match up because according to Paulie “Didn’t want it with the kid”. Read on as Paulie also speaks on the Arnaoutis-Torres bout, all is part one of this two-part interview.

RC: Happy Belated Birthday (11/23) Paulie, what’s new with you?
PM: Thanks I appreciate that man. I feel like I am getting old man.

RC: Your 26 now right?
PM: Yeah, It feels like yesterday I was only six, now I am 26 years old and cant believe it.

RC: Your back in New York now, tell us what’s the latest with Paul Malignaggi. How did everything go down in Florida with your new trainer Buddy McGirt?
PM: I just came back a few days a go from spending a couple of weeks with Buddy McGirt. It was an excellent time man. I liked the chemistry that I had with Buddy. He has a real expansive knowledge o. I think he has a lot to teach and I feel like I can learn a lot of the things he is teaching me. I feel like we are going to be a good team once we get the ball rolling.

RC: From knowing Buddy as a good trainer to actually working with him now for the last couple of weeks. Other than being a great and highly regarded trainer, what do you feel he bring s to the table for Paul Malignaggi?
PM: I feel he brings a lot of things to the table for Paul Malignaggi, I think what he teaches meshes well with what Paul Malignaggi believes in as a fighter, which is smart boxing, good defensive technique and just overall better technique whether it is defensive or offensively actually. We are just working on a couple of different things, he is not changing my style but he is pretty much fine tuning a lot of things and I like what I see and what I am learning. So I think the results will speak for themselves when I fight. I think there is still a little bit of a ways to go, but we will be there when it counts. 

RC: You’ll be returning on HBO (Boxing after Dark) February 17th correct?
PM: Yeah we have a February 17th date scheduled for HBO, wee had Juan Lazcano pull out, he didn’t want it with the kid. We tried to bait him in but Juan Laszcano doesn’t want this fight. I mean if you are Juan Lazcano’s age I don’t know what else you are waiting for. You got an opportunity to get on HBO and you have the opportunity that if you get yourself a win you can probably get yourself into a title shot and you are turning it down? Juan Lazcano is not going to be fighting until he is sixty years old so he better decide what is it he is going to do. He turned this fight down, but if he still wants it all he has got to do is sign on the dotted line. I don’t know what this guy is… I don’t know what he was thinking when he turned down this fight because he is not going to get very many opportunities like this.

We tried to call up Top Rank to see what’s up with Ricardo Torres (Newly crowned WBO Jr. welterweight champ), and they said that his hand was hurt, which I think they are full of **explicit**. You can look at the tape… when a guy hurts his hands he doesn’t take off his glove so nonchalantly. You can tell when a guy hurts his hands; he cant even takes his gloves off. I think they are just full of **explicit**, Top Rank wants to protect him, but they can only protect that guy so much, that guy is going to be gone real soon all he is, is a club fighter with power. One or two fights he is out of there, he cant fight for **explicit** I don’t even know why they are protecting him.  We are looking and weighing out our options and we are going to see what we can do. As a matter of fact speaking of Ricardo Torres, he didn’t even win the fight., I don’t even know what he is doing with that belt, because he didn’t win that fight man.

RC: So you felt that Arnaoutis did enough to pull it off?
PM: I thought Arnaoutis did more than enough to pull it off, I thought he boxed much better than Torres did, I thought Arnaoutis could have maybe done a little more to make himself look a little better, but I thought he had already did enough to win. He scored a knockdown and he finished stronger, I mean what else do you want somebody to do. But whatever man, like I said he is a protected fighter and some guys are going to be protected more than others and we already understand that the business of boxing sucks and that’s what happens, sometimes things like that happen.

RC: I heard a couple other names mentioned as possible opponents, from what I understand Eleazar Contreras was being mentioned, any truth to that?
PM: Eleazar Contreras was mentioned among them but HBO balked at him, I thought he was a pretty solid candidate but HBO balked at him. We tried to get Lovemore N’dou but he was injured, so we are just weighing our options, we have a few other names we are discussing. My team is working on it and working hard at it, and trying to do the right thing and get the ball rolling. I am just revving to get back it there, I know my fans are waiting and I am really waiting to get back in there. I want to really show everyone that the Cotto fight was not as good as it gets. I felt I made key mistakes in the Cotto fight that we can correct. And not just physical, but mental mistakes also, so thank God. The whole experience of that fight will make me a better fighter in the future.

RC: Any other names of possible opponents that you didn’t mention?
PM: I don’t want to kill any deals so I can’t really throw anything out there.

RC: Well the guys that you just mentioned weren’t exactly club level or journeymen level fighters, but actual legitimate top ranked contenders. Now I know you are a go with the flow kind of fighter, but do you feel any pressure coming off a loss to come back, face a solid contender in your first fight back and look impressive doing so?
PM: Sometimes it can be a little bit more pressure because coming off of a loss you are going to have something to prove. Obviously it wasn’t a BAD loss, and my stock luckily didn’t go down because of the loss. But…. there is still that pressure to prove a lot of the doubters wrong especially with someone like me coming off the first loss of his career. There is going to be a lot of question marks that people are going to have. Natural question marks like “ooh, how is he going to handle the first loss of his career” “How is he going to handle coming off a fight where he was on the canvas for the first time in his career” you know stuff like that, and obviously those are questions marks that people are allowed to have, they are allowed to have those. So there can be some pressure, but you know what man? This is what I do for a living. I was born to do this. I enjoy what I do, I have great fans that really support me and I love doing it for them.

When it comes down to it, I know where I am going to be when it counts; I am still going to be at the top. It doesn’t matter; I am one of the better fighters in the 140lb division, and in 2007 I am going to win a world title, and within a couple of years I am going to get Miguel Cotto again man. Even if I have to chase him to welterweight, believe me there is a lot of unfinished business to take care of in my career. Believe me there is not one day that passes by that I don’t think about that Miguel Cotto fight. June 10th, 2006 is a day that is going to stay in my head for a long time, I don’t think I am ever going to forget it man. Hell or high water man, I am going to get my rematch with Miguel Cotto. I know we are going in opposite directions right now, but my man we are the same age, down the line I will get that.

RC: How many the current fans you have do you feel only became believers after your gutsy performance against Miguel Cotto?
PM: I think I have turned a lot of people’s opinion because there was just a pretty basic opinion of me that thought I was just a pretty face, and they didn’t think I would throw down if he had to. Its kind of like Sugar Ray Leonard when he fought Roberto Duran, people thought he was just a pretty face. He fought the wrong fight the first time he fought Duran and he wound up loosing for it, but he changed a lot of peoples opinion of him because they said “You know what? This guy would throw down if he had to” This guy is not afraid to get down in the trenches if he has to. So I think in a similar way I did the same thing where people thought I was jus a product of a commercial, and they thought that when it came down to it I wasn’t going to want to get my hands dirty pretty much. So to speak, so I showed that I am willing to do anything it takes to try to get that win when it comes down to it and I think that a lot of peoples opinion changed because of that. Whoever opinion didn’t change because of that, you know obviously they are going to be haters they can suck my **explicit**, and I still live better than them so they can suck my **explicit** for that too.


Check out Part two tomorrow as Paulie Discuss a possible match up with good friend and current NABO Jr. Welterweight champ Kendall Holt, his thoughts on the possible co-feature match up between rising New York Jr. Welterweights Dmitriy Salita and Edgar Santana and much more…


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