One on One with Paul “The Magic Man” Malignaggi

By. Ray O. Campbell Jr.


One on One with Paul “The Magic Man” Malignaggi

Malignaggi: Cherry has never EVER been in the ring with someone like me! recently caught up with Jr. Welterweight contender Paul “The Magic Man” Malignaggi at his training camp down in Vero Beach Florida, where he is preparing for his highly anticipated return to the ring, since coming up short against undefeated two time world champion Miguel Cotto in June 2006. Malignaggi, 21-1, now under the tutelage of world renowned trainer Buddy McGirt, will headline a talent packed HBO boxing after dark triple-header card in which he is set to square off against lightweight contender Edner “Cherry Bomb” Cherry, 21-4-2. Read on as Malignaggi speaks about his upcoming bout, his preparation for it and of course his favorite topic of them all…himself…Paul Malignaggi.

RC: You have been quiet lately, why don’t you tell us how training and preparation for your bout against Edner Cherry on HBO is going?
PM: Camp is going great man. Preparation is going great. We have been getting some good boxing down here in Florida. I am just looking forward to getting it on February 17th; it has been a long time coming. I have been waiting for a long time to get a date, I got the date now, it is a big show, and I am looking forward to getting it on with Edner Cherry.

RC: Who have you been working with as far as sparring goes down there in Florida?
PM: We have a few different guys. David Estrada is the main sparring partner but we have a few different guys from around here. We are also going to bring in a couple other guys in the next couple of weeks.

RC: I recently spoke with Edner Cherry and he seems to have a lot of respect for you, but made it clear he wants to leave it out of the judges’ hands and wants to win every second of every round. Give us your thoughts.
PM: Edner Cherry knows what he has to do. I mean what else can you say? I don’t know how you can win three minutes of every round against Paulie Malignaggi, I don’t know if you can win any part of three minutes of any round against Paulie Malignaggi being the boxer that I am. But at the same time, I am going to give Edner Cherry a nice warm welcome to the big times. He is fighting on HBO, he is fighting a level of fighter that he has never fought before. He is going to realize that when he gets in the ring and the first bell rings, that he is on a level that he has never been on before, and he is going to find out the hard way.

RC: With the exception of you working with a new trainer in Buddy McGirt, how has this training camp been different from any other camp you have been to, to prepare for a fight?
PM: It is not so much different; we tweaked a lot of things. I am a kind of fighter that likes to be well prepared for every fight. We are working on a lot of different techniques and really mastering a couple of things that maybe I was lacking in the past. And also concentrate on getting sharp because I have been out of the ring for seven-eight months. So it is going good, camp is going great, the weather is great, and that is the main thing about training down in Florida, it is good weather. So I can get the weight down pretty good. Other than that, it has pretty much been the same, just hard work and preparation.

RC: Prior to going down there to camp, you have worked with Buddy during two separate trips, for short periods of time. Now that you have been in camp with him a few weeks straight, what has it been like for you?
PM:  Buddy is a great trainer to work with because is a cool guy and he is a good trainer. He was a fighter in the past, so he knows how to really hang with the fighters and chill. He also knows how to teach you certain things. He has been in a lot of situations that you can ask him about. You can talk to Buddy and say things like this happened, what do you think of this? Or what do you think of that? We kind of bounce ideas off of each other, I can ask Buddy what do you think of this? And he will say well you know what I think, this is better, and maybe we need to work on it like this. So there is a lot of communication with Buddy and I like that. He understands and explains to me when he wants something done a certain way why he wants it done like that, and to me that’s big because I want to know why I am learning certain things, and why I have to do things a certain way. If I gotta make a change, I want to know why I gotta make that change.

RC: Can you give us an idea of some of the weaknesses you see in Edner Cherry that you feel you will be able to take advantage of en route to you getting your hand raised at the end of the night?
PM: Ender Cherry has a lot of weaknesses, man I mean we can do whatever Ender cherry wants, he said he is going to cut me off and make me run when I feel his power. We can dance and we can rumble. We can do it however he wants, it doesn’t matter to me. I proved in the last fight that I can get in there and bang, an obviously in the other 21 fights, I showed that I am a slick boxer as well. I tell you what, like I said before, Edner Cherry is going to go in there with a fighter that is on a level that he has never been on before. He is going to understand that, believe me he is going to understand that. I don’t think he… I can see from his comments he don’t realize what he is getting himself into. He doesn’t seem like a disrespectful person, but his team is. I have heard a lot of comments coming out of the Tampa gyms and stuff like that, because I am only a few hours away in Florida, and I heard a lot of people are telling me they are talking a lot of **explicit** down there in Tampa. I don’t think anybody realizes what is going to happen. I think they all better wake and smell that coffee, because like I said they are fighting the best fighter they have ever been in the ring with in their life, and they are going to know that as soon as the bell rings.

RC: Why don’t you tell us what is going to happen on February 17th?
PM: You are going to see a dominant performance by Paulie Malignaggi, you are going to see a Paulie Malignaggi that you are suppose to see all of the time, you are going to see Paulie Malignaggi do his thing, and what ever Edner brings to the table, you are going to see  Paulie Malignaggi be able to counter that and come up with better answers for everything he does.

RC: On February 17th, you will be headlining HBO’s Boxing After Dark card that turned into a must see triple-header. The other two co-feature televised bouts will the grudge match between Ishe Smith vs. Sechew Powell, and Andre Berto vs. Ben Tackie, two very good fights with extremely good talent. As the headliner, coming off your first professional loss, and returning to your hometown and making you HBO debut, do you feel any extra-added pressure to close the show in spectacular fashion?
PM: Nah man, HBO makes good boxing cards, HBO puts on great fights so I just feel fortunate and I just know hard work pays off. I am glad to be on a card that is so hyped up pretty much… I will put it to you like that. I don’t feel any added pressure to outdo anyone or outdo anything, I just want to get in there and put on the best show possible, and that’s what I do. Paulie Malignaggi always puts on a great show. So it doesn’t matter, I don’t have to put that pressure on myself. I could just be myself, Paulie Malignaggi could be Paulie Malignaggi and he puts on a great show. Whether it outdoes everybody or doesn’t outdo anybody it doesn’t matter because people are going to remember Paulie Malignaggi fought that night. They are always going to remember and they are going to go home talking about him no matter what. Even if my fight isn’t the best fight of the night, even if it is, it doesn’t matter., People are going to go home talking about Paulie Malignaggi regardless because Paulie Malignaggi has that magnetic touch, he makes people talk about him. 

RC: (Laughing at how many times he just mentioned his own name) Does Paul Malignaggi has anything he would like to say in closing?
PM: I put it to you like this, Edner Cherry better be prepared and his people better stop popping off at the mouth. Ender Cherry like I said doesn’t seem like the disrespectful kind, he seems like he is a hard worker, he seems like the kind of person that puts in his work. He does his thing, he is a blue-collar guy, but you know what? He is stepping up to the BIGGEST fight of his career and he is going to know he is in with the best fighter he has EVER been in the ring with, and he better tell his people to shut the **explicit** up, because like I said I heard all of the rumblings coming out of that gym and I don’t like what I am hearing.


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