JA: What’s new Paulie?
"Nothing really. Still laying low and trying to see how everything goes. I just don’t want to jump to any conclusions. I’m just taking it one day at a time. I don’t want to rush back into anything. I don’t want to come back and just have a lackadaisical showing and get hurt."
JA: Now you fought on August 25th, how did the hand hold up?
Paul Malignaggi:The hand broke. I’m still in the cast actually and [I'm] supposed to get the cast of next week. Like I said, I am just taking it one day at a time. I can't put my finger on anything that I am going to do. I’m just sitting back and watching what everyone else is about to do.
JA: Now, is this frustrating for you when you get to this point in your career?
Paul Malignaggi: (cutting in) Yeah. I was pretty down for a couple of weeks after the break again. I just came back from breaking it and I come back and break it again. It was really depressing and I was out of it. Years I put in and to have something you can't control blocking you from your dream; I was really frustrated and really down. But I keep telling myself it’s out of my control. It’s not worth getting sick over because I can't change anything.
JA: Did you rush back the second time you broke the hand?
Paul Malignaggi: No. I came back when the doctors told me to come back. When I came back I never felt really comfortable with the hand. It felt weird. But this is something that I have to take one day at a time.
JA: Now is this mostly mental with your hand, knowing that everything is going to be cool and you don’t have to worry about your hand breaking again?
Paul Malignaggi: Yeah I want to feel that everything’s alright. I want to know that everything is going to be alright. All that time in the past I would go in with that confident attitude and then break my hand. Now that I have broken my hand so many times I don’t go in there with that confident attitude. Now I go in there with the attitude [that] I’m going to break it. I don’t want to be feeling like that. After so many times of breaking it you can't fight your style.
JA: So when do you think that we can see you in the ring again? Do you have a timetable where you can get back in the ring?
Paul Malignaggi: Yeah. It’s not really a timetable right now. I’m just taking things one day at a time right now and just lay[ing] back, chill[ing] out. I’m just going to lay back for a little bit and go from there. I’m not going to think about (the hand) too much. I try not to think about it. I try to think about other stuff.
JA: I was going to ask you if your hand was better, would you ever consider trying out for the Contender?
Paul Malignaggi: It’s funny that you mentioned that. They actually called me. I tried out for the show last year and they wanted me real bad. It was basically up to me if I wanted it or not and I turned it down just because the weight class was to high. It sounded really good to me, but the weight class was just to high for me. I didn’t feel like taking a chance jumping up at that much of weight. It’s funny because they kept my cell phone number from last year. I guess I really made a great impression on them and they just recently called me. I will sit down and talk with them. It doesn’t hurt to talk with them. If this is the route that I’m suppose to go that’s the route that I’m suppose to go. Look I’m not jumping the gun on anything. I’m just going to take it one day at a time and weigh my options out.
JA: Hindsight is always 20-20, do you wish that you got on last year's show?
Paul Malignaggi: No I don’t have any regrets. I watched the show and saw what it did for everybody. The show gives you a promotional lane which boxing can't do for you. It broadened our horizons. The boxing industry which I noticed, is very closed minded; it has a one track mind. It’s entertainment and you got to treat entertainment as business. Having said that I don’t regret not being on it last year because my career is still important to me.
JA: Was that something that you were planning on doing, moving up in weight?
Paul Malignaggi: Like I said, no way was I moving up to Middleweight. They called me this time and said that they're going to move the weight class lower and that they're going to talk to me. I knew that they were interested in me last year [and] I knew they were so interested in me [and] that it was up to me to turn it down. One of those 16 guys wouldn’t have been there if I had decided to join that show. Basically, that’s how bad they wanted me on the show. Like I said, I guess they're still interested in me if they're going to keep my cell phone number from a year ago. I’m going to go in there with an open mind and weigh all my options.
JA: From what I hear, the Contender fighters are making pretty good money being on the show?
Paul Malignaggi: It's more money than some of the fighters would have made in their career. Peter, Ishe, Sergio, those type of fighters would have made that high amount of money in their careers. The fact that they can make it earlier in their careers and help them financially is always a plus.
JA: Have you been in the gym working out?
Paul Malignaggi: No I haven’t. I have been doing absolutely nothing. Just chilling, laying low. I’m just trying not to focus on boxing to much because then I get down on myself. I still watch all the fights. I’m just looking at the fights differently than as a fighter.
JA: Does it make it more fun for you watching it from a fans perspective?
Paul Malignaggi: Yeah, I watched Miguel Cotto a couple of weeks ago in Atlantic City. How can I not notice him, with him being in the same weight class as me. It feels different being at a fight as a fan. My popularity as decreased lately because I haven’t been on TV as much. I only had one fight this year. It’s actually funny because I get mistaken more for [being] one of the Gotti kids than I do for [being] Paul Malignaggi. It even happened at the Cotto fight a couple of weeks ago, where a couple of guys came up to me and said, “Hey, you're Carmine Gotti from the show.” You know I laugh about it, but if I was on TV a little bit more often I wouldn’t have to deal with that. I laugh about, but still I would rather be known for [being] Paul Malignggi [and] not looking like Carmine Gotti.
JA: If you didn’t break your hand, where would you have liked to be at this point?
Paul Malignaggi: We had a plan that we were going to be fighting for a World Title in the summer of '06. We were going to be taking some big fights here coming up and [that would have] put us in position to fight for a title next summer. But that’s kind of all out of the window right now. We were going to have the sho-box date and just keep fighting contender after contender right into that World Title fight. Cotto could have been a possibility. Obviously he’s Puerto Rican and we could of made it in the Garden. But obvisouly that is all out of the window.
JA: How does a fight with Paul Malignaggi and Miguel Cotto go?
Paul Malignaggi: (laughing) Come on man. I’m going to tell you right now. I think less and less of Miguel Cotto every time I see him fight. I still think that he is a decent fighter [and] to be in the position he is now you have to have skills and talent. I think less and less of him every time I see him [and] he has no defense, I don’t care how much he keeps his hands up. He has no defense, no chin. He’s made for a fighter like myself. But the trash talking is for another time. It’s not the time to talk trash because I don’t know when I am going to be back.
JA: Now is there anything that you would like to say to your fans out there?
Paul Malignaggi: I’m glad to hear the love from the fans. They tell me to keep my head up and stuff. I appreciate the support and I appreciate the love. Like I said I have been down and when the fans tell me stuff like that it brings my head back up. I just want to tell everybody I appreciate the love. If I can come back and make everybody happy and everybody proud, I will definitely do that.