Press Release: Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi (21-1, 5 KOs)had successful surgery last Saturday to repair the fractured right cheekbone he on suffered June 10, 2006 against WBO light welterweight champion Miguel Cotto (27-0, 22 KOs). The surgery was performed at the Lahey Clinic & Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts. Malignaggi, who gained valuable experience and respect going 12 rounds with Cotto, vows that he will be world champion in 2007.
Paulie's personal physician, Dr. Steven W. Margles, also from the Lahey Clinic, reported that Dr. David J. Bryan, the senior plastic surgeon at the Lahey Clinic, felt that after a completed evaluation surgery was necessary. "Dr. Bryan was Paulie's surgeon," Dr. Margles said. "It took less than two hours and went extremely well. All fractures are back in good position and a very thin plate with four scews was used to stabilize the most structurally important fracture. The plate is totally covered and will in no way interfere with Paulie's ability to box in the future. Although swollen and bloody, respectively, against Cotto, Paulie's jaw was totally fine as was his nose "We're hoping he will be able to train in six weeks, but he will need to avoid sparring for three months. The final recommendation will be made pending x-rays. The cut is healing fine. Neither the incision from surgery nor cut from the head butt in the first round will result in any visible scarring. In the future these injuries will in no way slow down his hands.....or mouth."
Malignaggi has been recovering at the home of his manager, Sal LoNano, in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, but he should return home to Brooklyn later this week after a re-evaluation.
"I was disappointed after the fight," Paulie remarked, "but my spirits have been going up. I look forward to coming back. Right now I'm resting and watching a lot of World Cup soccer. "This hasn't changed me a bit; I'll be the same as before. My goal is to be world champion within 12-18 months. Cotto's a great champion, but I promise you, our paths will cross again, even if it's at 147 pounds. Next time, though, I want to fight him in a ring that's larger than a playpen (like at Madison Square Garden). I have much respect for Cotto and his team. We're both the same age and there's no doubt we'll meet again."
LoNano, who also managed Micky Ward, praised Paulie and Dr. Margles. "I'm very proud to manage a kid like Paulie Malignaggi who has so much heart and character," Sal commented. "He will be world champion. To go 12 rounds against a great fighter like Cotto, especially with those injuries, already makes him a champion in my mind. Paulie was amazing. He couldn't breath from all of the blood in his mouth and nose, and he had trouble seeing out of one eye from the cut. No excuses, though, even with the small size of the ring and cushiness of the canvas. We may have lost the fight, but Paulie won the night. He'll be out of action for a while, but Paulie will return stronger, mentally and physically. We're so lucky to have Dr. Margles as part of our team. He's always there for us, working side by side, and I think that he's the best fight doctor in the business today."
Malignaggi has received hundreds of supportive emails and cards wishing him best wishes, including one from Hall of Fame boxer Barry McGuigan, and phone calls from Arturo Gatti, Ward and Vinny Paz telling him how proud they are of him.
"I've been overwhelmed with all of the fan support," Paulie concluded. "If there's one positive to come out of the fight it's how many fans I won over. They saw how seriously I want to win and that I wasn't all talk. It's not all of the hype or credibility; it's the fan support that counts the most. I'll be back fighting before the end of the year."