EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: PAUL MALIGNAGGI
By G. Leon
GL: Congrats on landing a fight with Sugar Shane Mosley. Can you tell us how this deal got done? "We have an agreement in principle. Nothing has been signed yet because we still have a couple of things we need to iron out. I am confident that it will be handled and the fight will happen."
GL: How do you feel about fighting Shane Mosley? I imagine this is an opportunity that came out of left field for you.
Paul Malignaggi: "He's a guy who I grew up watching, he's a first ballot hall of famer. He's a guy who has only lost to the best. He might be past his prime, but he's still sort of a guy who needs to be reckoned with so to speak. He hasn't done well recently, but he's also fought some of the top pound for pound fighters in the world recently and he's definitely a guy who I look forward to testing myself against."
GL: Knowing that he's past his prime, does it put more pressure on you to deliver?
PM: "I don't look at it like that anymore. I used to really worry about the critics would think, but now all I'm concerned about is getting W's and giving people of Brooklyn entertainment. It's a situation where I'm not looking it as any pressure, I'm looking at it as a great chance for me to put on a good show in the main event, in Brooklyn."
GL: At this stage of his career should you be able to easily outbox him?
PM: "I feel like I should beat him and outbox him. He's been a durable guy, but I feel I have enough in the tank to beat him."
GL: I imagine he's not somebody you ever pictured yourself fighting.
PM: "Nah. I don't think anybody imagined it, but now it's here."
GL: When should it be signed sealed and delivered?
PM: "I think it should be soon. Right now Richard Schaefer is out of the country, but probably when he gets back we'll iron out the last details."
GL: Would prefer to fight Mosley at this point of his career as opposed to a younger fresher body with less name recognition?
PM: "That's a hard question to answer because I don't know if a younger fresher fighter wouldn't have name recognition. A younger, fresher fighter like say Marcos Maidana has name recognition, but for whatever reason we couldn't get a deal done. I don't know the ins and outs of why it didn't get done, but I do feel like me and Maidana will fight at the end of the year. If not Maidana, somebody like him and I will fight before the end of the year after I get by Mosley."
GL: Shane Mosley has been doing business with Golden Boy promotions a lot longer than you have. Do you have any concerns over their dual interest in this fight?
PM: "I don't think a promoter ever goes into a fight without trying to protect his own interests. I think promoters always try to put themselves in win-win situations. If I win this fight or is Shane Mosley wins this fight, either way I think Golden Boy will be ok. It's up to me to handle my side of it to make sure that Paulie Malignaggi is ok."
GL: What are you hoping a victory over Mosley leads to?
PM: "I'm hoping it leads to me getting into the ring in better and bigger fights. The welterweight division is stacked with talent and I want to keep myself in the welterweight picture. One step at a time though. I'm not going to overlook Mosley and I'm not going to overlook the fact that the fight isn't done yet. I don't think finding big fights will be difficult in this welterweight division."
GL: Closing thoughts?
PM: "I'm looking forward to main eventing at the Barclays. I'm looking forward to defending my title in my hometown. Again, Shane Mosley is past his prime, but he's still a hungry guy and he's got a lot to fight for because of some of his personal situations."
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