Thursday, February 24, 2011
Malignaggi calling out titlist Zaveck
By Dan Rafael
Former junior welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, now a welterweight, is hungry for another title shot. He follows boxing closely and checked out video on the Internet of welterweight titlist Jan Zaveck's dominant fifth-round knockout of Paul Delgado to retain his belt Friday in Zaveck's native Slovenia.
Malignaggi (28-4, 6 KOs), of course, twice defeated Delgado in the early part of his career and it got him thinking that he would like his own shot at Zaveck (31-1, 18 KOs).
"I definitely would like to fight him," Malignaggi told me the other day. "I've read where Zaveck says he wants to come to the United States after beating Delgado. I beat Paul Delgado when I was a prospect. I fought him twice. The first time I hurt my hand and it was close. I rematched with him with two hands and I whitewashed him. So when I saw Delgado got a world title fight I was like 'What?' He wasn't ready for a world title fight. A lot of guys don't deserve world title fights, and he was one of them."
Malignaggi said he has read comments from Zaveck's team saying he's coming to the U.S. for a shot at the likes of pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr.
"Maybe some people believe that in Slovenia, but he's not coming here to get them. He's not going to get them," Malignaggi said. "If you're going to come here and step up, I'm a former world champion and I moved up to welterweight. I'm a quote-unquote 'big name.' He has faced nothing compared to the level of fighter I am. So it's a big step up for him. Fighting Paul Delgado isn't. The sanctioning bodies aren't to be given a lot of credit, but he made a mockery of it. He defended against Delgado, who's crafty, but not ready for a world title.
"So what I'm trying to say is a lot of guys probably want to get in the ring with him, but I bring a big name. I'm a guy that, if they want a name fighter, they got a name fighter right here. Jan Zaveck is going to come here for the kind of opportunity to solidify himself in America and they are not going to get the Mayweathers and Pacquiaos of the world. But if he can get by me, he will at least elevate himself to another level. He needs this sort of win under his belt to be taken at least remotely seriously. He thinks having a belt will mean people will take him that seriously, but he just fought a joke, which in turn makes him a joke. He needs to come to America and take on Paulie Malignaggi."
The 30-year-old Malignaggi still has a big mouth, doesn't he? That's one of the things he said he was hoping would help him land the fight.
"When I fight, everyone knows it, don't they?" he asked.
In May, Amir Khan stopped Malignaggi in the 11th round of a junior welterweight title defense. Afterward, Malignaggi decided to move up to welterweight and signed with Golden Boy Promotions.
He returned to stop Michael Lozada in the sixth round Dec. 18 on the Jean Pascal-Bernard Hopkins undercard in Quebec City.
Now, Malignaggi has relocated from Brooklyn to train in Los Angeles, where he is working at Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, although Eric Brown trains him, not Roach.
Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer said he has reached out to Zaveck's people about the possible match.
"We understand they are interested," Schaefer said. "What we need to do is see the financial terms and sit down with Paulie and see if we can get it done, but we've started working on it. I can always put Paulie on a card to keep him busy, but he wants to fight for a world title and that's our goal too. Whether it's his next fight or the fight after, we'll see. But it will be this year that he fights for a world title again. That's the plan.
"We hear Zaveck wants to make a name for himself in the U.S. and Paulie is the right step. If he beats Paulie in the United States it would be a big win for Zaveck. And for Paulie to fight Zaveck and win a world title again would be a big thing for Paulie. I think there would be some interest in the fight."