I have to admit I've always been a fan of Paulie Malignaggi. I never found his confidence annoying. It was likeable and pure entertainment. Keypad warriors will tell you be has no defense and the power of a water pistol,they would be correct,but just watch his loss against Miquel Cotto at Madison Square Garden and it was a win within himself and within the eyes of the public. Sometimes how a fighter handles a loss is more important than a win. Malignaggi suffered a broken jaw at the stone hands of Cotto in Round 2 and still managed to not only dig deep and fight on,but display his skill to the world as the rounds went on despite knowing he was behind in the fight. That takes a strong adaptable mentality. Nobody could say he didn't have minerals. His onscreen British appearance came in a mini video calling out Ricky Hatton. It was just after Hatton had lost to Floyd Mayweather Jnr, Malignaggi saw his chance and took it. He knew how to promote himself and had the perfect partner in Lou DiBella.
Malignaggi was an excellent boxer. One of the few to punch from the hips,hit and not get hit early in his career. He used angles and had a world class jab. He also never quit,and could sell doughnuts to police.
If he wasn't a fighter,he would have been a promotor,or a broadway host.
His style was a stay busy one,mixing step in jabs with body shots,head shots,and making opponents dazzled and dizzy always on the move. It worked,winning his first 21 fights,until the Cotto loss,but that loss after a quite remarkable rise from Brooklyn and Gleason's Gym,was the stepping stone for future opportunities,and nobody took opportunities like Malignaggi.
I used to love going on You Tube to see who Malignaggi was winding up next. He was one of those boxers you knew would probably lose but still bought into his hard sell and somehow became convinced in the hype that he would win. Even his losses became about him. He knew how to stay positive and keep selling his brand (which became Future Legend) but make no mistake he could fight and against the right opponent on a good night could look superb in the ring,making opponents look slow and lacking in creativity.
On a bad night,he tended to take amusing punishment. The funny part was his bravado even when getting tagged frequently due to his lack of defense and low hand stance.
Ever the showman,Malignaggi never got under my skin like some talkers do. I guess it was because he was actually hysterical in interviews and the fights were just the bonus. A stand up boxer. The skills he displayed against Edner Cherry and then Lovemore N'Dou to win his first IBF Light Welterweight Title were great showcases of Malignaggi. After retaining his belt against Herman Ngoudjo and then winning a rematch against Lovemore N'Dou in a fight more remembered for having his hair cut in between rounds,he would lose to Ricky Hatton,and next was Juan 'Babybull' Díaz twice, despite behind brutally robbed in a Houston,Texas hold up at the Toyota Arena in the first meeting, resulting in a rant on corrupt Texas boxing Judges in his post fight interview with Max Kellerman, he got his revenge in a one sided rematch winning by unanimius decision in 2009 in Chicago. Malignaggi’s greatest victory came against Vyacheslav Senchenko in the Ukraine to win the WBA World Welterweight Title in 2012.
This win displayed the quality side of Malignaggi. It was a boxing clinic. People forget Mallignaggi beat the man who retired Ricky Hatton in Senchenko. He also previously beat the man who beat Jorge Linares by TKO in 1 Round,Pablo Cesar Cano. Mallignaggi also beat Zab Judah in The Battle Of Brooklyn.
Unfortunately he lost the massive payday grudge fights. The big ones. Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan, Shawn Porter,a close fight with Adrian Broner,and Danny Garcia. His best days were behind him, subsequently losing to Sam Eggington by body shot in his last fight.
Malignaggi still hasn't let Connor McGregor leave his apartment rent free upstairs in his head,after a leaked video of him being bashed and dropped in sparring went viral. Malignaggi went on a publicity tour of McGregor soundbites,but despite the jibes,he made it entertaining. His most recent outing a year ago saw him losing a decision in a Bare Knuckle Fight against Artem Lobren. I'm glad he didn't take on Chris Leben.
Malignaggi is now known for being the best pound for pound boxing commentator in the game. He talks passionately but vividly and accurately with great analytical insight into the mind and strategy of boxers. Malignaggi understands all aspects of the boxing buisness more than most. Most recently he has been axed by showtime for his comments on racism. Malignaggi is an old school Italian American and despite the flash he does talk common sense,his street wise Brooklyn wit have always made him very to the point and funny,but he could box. When his defense got weaker as his legs were going and he became reliant on one hand to win fights due to his right hand undergoing several operations throughout his career,the show was over, fortunately Sky viewers still get Malignaggi‘s commentary as it is first class in honesty,comedy,and integrity. When people shout "Yo Paulie" in nearly every city or state you step in around the world for comments and opinion,hanging on your every word, you know a Rocky movie is only a casting call away. You've made it.
44 Fights 36 Wins 8 Losses
By Chris Hughes