Boxing: Paulie Malignaggi

Malignaggi weighs in on Broner's flaws

December, 16, 2013
He's been telling us, and not in subtle fashion, not resorting to hints or implications. No, Paul Malignaggi has told us for a long spell that Adrien Broner is not the heir apparent, not the new Floyd Mayweather, definitely not the future of boxing, as the fighter himself has been stating for the last couple of years.

Judging by what fight fans saw of Broner on Saturday night, in a welterweight clash against rugged rumbler Marcos Maidana of Argentina, it is clear that all should have been paying more heed to Malignaggi.

The Bensonhurst-bred boxer -- who had his hand raised in his last scrap, on Dec. 7 against Zab Judah at Barclays Center -- was a Broner doubter even before he faced off with the Ohio-based 25-year-old who lost via UD to Maidana in San Antonio. The doubts for Malignaggi, who worked an analyst chair for Showtime and saw Broner floundering on Saturday, increased last June when he clashed with Broner at Barclays. The cocksure Broner beat Malignaggi and exited with the New Yorker's WBA welterweight title via split decision, but Malignaggi's certainty that Broner had more flaws than his backers acknowledged grew immensely. Those flaws -- his lack of calmness when in trouble, his inability or unwillingness to adapt to a game plan that isn't working, his disdain for using his feet to get better angles or remove himself from being exposed to punches, his desire to manipulate the circumstances to gain an edge from an official instead of fighting his way out of trouble, the immaturity he has demonstrated both personally and professionally -- became apparent to all the folks who swallowed the hype.

"Broner can fight," Malignaggi told me, "and there's nothing wrong with being a very good fighter, which he is, he just isn't and was never going to be this generation's best fighter. He can be one of this generation's high-level fighters, but to crown him what the media tried to crown him is just ridiculous."

To strike a note of solidarity with my media brethren, I will say oftentimes we do simply act in a "we report, you decide" manner. Broner himself pushed the idea that the Mayweather era was passing and he was taking over the mantle, and yes, perhaps some of us could have examined his bona fides more judiciously. But ultimately, I think the magnifying glass and critiques are best aimed at the boxer, rather than the promoters who hyped him and the media which reported the hype chatter. And indeed, you see in the days after the Broner loss that fans agree; the level of contempt for the fighter is considerable and cringeworthy. You had some folks saying they don't need Santa to slither down the chimney, that Broner losing is all they need to make their holidays merry ones.

Check back for more from Malignaggi about what if anything Broner can do to rebound, and who he wants to target next.

The happiest man in Brooklyn

December, 9, 2013
Maybe the happiest man in Brooklyn on Saturday night was at the Barclays Center, and no, it wasn’t one of the fighters. It was advisor to fighters, Anthony Catanzaro, who was finally able to exhale and allow himself a deep grin when Paul Malignaggi made it 3-for-3. Malignaggi won the Battle of Brooklyn, proving Bensonhurst had the goods over Brownsville, as his ring generalship and zippy jab confounded Zab Judah, and gave Malignaggi a UD12 win.

NYFightblog chatted with Catanzaro on Monday and asked him to offer insights into Paulie’s win, as well as those of his other two scrappers, Matthew Macklin (who beat Lamar Russ via UD10 in Atlantic City) and Sadam Ali (who stopped Jesus Selig in Round 2 at Barclays).

Catanzaro wanted to first and foremost emphasize that Malignaggi deserves full credit for the win, and he doesn’t want critics to overplay what role age might have played in Judah’s timid effort. “Paulie had the perfect distance and timed Zab to perfection,” the advisor said. “He painted a masterpiece and he needed to because Zab has KO power in both hands coming forward. I don’t want to hear that Zab was flat, simply because in his last fight, against Danny Garcia, he came on late. This was about what a world-class athlete, Paulie, did in taking away Zab’s arsenal.”

Macklin got a B+ from his advisor.

“It’s hard to look good against a guy (Russ) who’s trying to survive,” he said. A rematch with Felix Sturm is a no-brainer, considering they fought a few years ago, and many thought Macklin deserved the nod that was given to Sturm, who just gained the WBA middleweight crown Saturday with a win over Darren Barker. “Also, a fight against WBO middleweight champ Peter Quillin makes sense,” he said. “Both will sell well, will be TV friendly and will give Matt an opportunity at a title ... and this time he’ll win. Also, Sadam put on a clinic, shook off the rust and got a KO.”

As for Malignaggi’s next, he has his sights set on Adrien Broner in a rematch of their June clash, a clash taken by the mouthy Mayweather act-a-like. Scouting that is a given, as Malignaggi will be ringside, working the analyst chair for Showtime Saturday as Broner tangles with Marcos Maidana, a heavy-handed but slow-footed challenger, in San Antonio.

“But, we’ll listen to all offers,” said Catanzaro, taking off his promoter hat in exchange for his advisor cap.

Readers, play matchmaker; who'd you like to see Malignaggi fight? One name that popped up late Saturday was 140 pound champ Danny Garcia, coming up to 147, to see if he can handle the tactics and smarts of the Brooklyner. Weigh in!

Old pros Malignaggi, Judah look to Dec. 7

November, 26, 2013
Paulie Malignaggi and Zab JudahGetty ImagesPaulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah will go at it in 'The Battle of Brooklyn' on Dec. 7.
Both men can be combustible, and often are.

Paul Malignaggi showed his zest for trash talk not long ago at the presser to announce his Dec. 7 clash, "The Battle of Brooklyn," against Zab Judah, when he laced into the media for being know-nothings more interested in parading their ignorance and delving into National Enquirer-level material than being respectable journalists.

And Zab Judah showed a wide range of his personality the week of his April 27 clash against Danny Garcia, when he was up in arms at the prefight presser for that Barclays Center bout, because, he said, he'd been cooped up in a room, for hours, without water, because event planners didn't want him and Garcia to fight before the fight.

Those two gents, though, were nowhere to be found on a Tuesday conference call to hype their showdown on a Golden Boy card, which will determine if rooters from Judah's Brownsville or Malignaggi's Bensonhurst will be more merry that evening. The 36-year-old Judah and the just-turned-33 Malignaggi were the height of professionalism, and had basically nothing but kind words for each other.

Both made sure to mention while they had mutual respect, this wouldn't be a sparring match, a pugilistic "friendly," and all involved made it clear the two vets are both still in the mix with the elite.

"This is nowhere near my last fight," said Judah, who noted that Floyd Mayweather, Juan Manuel Marquez and Bernard Hopkins are all still competing on a high level, though they are up in years. "I am the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world," declared Judah, 1-2 in his past three bouts.

"This fight has the potential to be the greatest fight the Barclays Center has seen," said Malignaggi, a skilled seller who was labeled the best color commentator working today by promoter Richard Schaefer. He surprised to the upside, in the eyes of many, in a loss in his last outing to Adrien Broner.

These are two slick, smart pugilists, and the fight will likely not be a slobberknocker special, one to appeal to the masses who aren't as keen on the sweetly scientific elements of the sport. But even if the scrap isn't a Fight of the Year candidate, the card is pretty packed, and tickets start at $25, so it should be a good night of fights.

Bracero wants Garcia, or Zab-Paulie winner

November, 20, 2013
Sunset Park, Brooklyn, product Gabriel Bracero is pulsing with desire. The welterweight is coming off his career best win, and it is quite clear he feels he is in a preordained position, his time has come and the spoils of his toil and combat are soon to be his.

It remains to be seen, however, who he can fight to claim that pot of gold he desires so fiercely, the one that will make the pain of being a pugilist, and the sacrifice and the 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls to do roadwork, and the time spent away from family pursuing the belts and compensation worth it.

But the 32-year-old with a 24-1 record who beat ex-title challenger Dmitriy Salita (via UD10) in a "Best of Brooklyn" showdown Nov. 9 at the Aviator Complex in Marine Park, has some ideas.

"Danny Garcia or the winner of Malignaggi-Judah, those are the two that I am looking at," said the Puerto-Rican born Bracero, who fights for promoter Lou DiBella and is trained by Tommy Gallagher.

"I have no problem fighting at 140 where I am world-rated or at 147 where my last fight took place and I am also world-rated. I feel great at either weight, I just want my shot. I want the biggest fights out there, and at 140, that is Danny Garcia. He is the best in the division right now in my eyes, and to be the best, you have to beat the best. I have nothing but respect for him and it would be an honor to fight him."

Bracero talked more about Garcia, the 25-year-old Philly-Rican with a 27-0 mark. "He has been putting on great performances, two of which recently took place in my hometown of Brooklyn. We both have similar aggressive styles. We are both Puerto Rican. We each have a huge fan base. Hands down, this is a great fight. It wasn't long ago that Danny was in the same position that I am in now, waiting for his big shot. I am hungry and I am ready to go."

Garcia is on a short list of viable foes to fight Floyd Mayweather, though, so if the story line arcs in that direction, Bracero has a Plan B, as any smart pugilist does.

"If the bout with Danny can't be made, why not fight the winner of Paulie versus Zab?" he said. "We are all Brooklynites. We all have big fan bases. It would be a perfect fight for Brooklyn and a perfect fight for the Barclays Center. I just want my shot. I want to prove to the world that I am one of the best fighters in my division and if given the opportunity, I know that I will not disappoint."

Bid on Super Bowl tix at 'Teddy' dinner

November, 20, 2013
Teddy Atlas remembers one night he stayed up past his bedtime.

It was 1966 or so. He sat at the kitchen table of his family's home on Staten Island, waiting up for his dad. Young Teddy had fallen asleep, head down on the table, and woke up when his father Theodore walked through the door, after midnight. The boy asked his dad what he'd been doing, and the physician told him he was seeing a patient in the hospital. "Oh, well, that person's going to get better, because you're taking care of him," the boy told his dad. "No, actually, he's not," Dr. Atlas answered, giving his son a gentle dose of of vicious and inevitable reality. "So, why do you stay up so late and see the patient if he's not going to make it?" the boy said. "Because you don't give up on life," Theodore Atlas responded.

Adult Teddy Atlas took that lesson to heart, and fight fans see it in action when he puts himself at risk for an aneurysm as he gets into a ballistic fury after another judge offers up another grotesque scorecard on "Friday Night Fights."

Every two weeks or so, Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao's trainer, calls for a national commission to be formed, to clean up the quagmire in the sport. And Theodore Atlas' stubborn devotion to caring, and continuing to soldier on to boost up the fallen, and dispense care and material goods to folks who have been cheated by the inadequate safety net in a society gripped by a hypercapitalistic fervor, is on display annually at the "Teddy" dinner, which unfolds Thursday on Staten Island.

At the dinner, Roach convenes an all-star crew of celebrities, and sells tickets to the gala, which always features a stellar auction. I asked the analyst-trainer the highlight to be from this years' dinner.

Former NBAer Dikembe Motumbo -- "he's very tall," Atlas cracked -- will be present, as will MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who has graciously spotlighted the works of the foundation on his show "Hardball." Former New York Giant Harry Carson is slated to be on the packed dais, as is boxing legend Micky Ward and current pugilists Paul Malignaggi, Marcus Browne, Yuri Foreman and Sadam Ali.

One auction standout Atlas plugged is tickets to this years' Super Bowl, which takes place in our neck of the woods. Giant David Diehl has kindly offered up tix to the forthcoming Giants-Cowboys game, and that will include field passes. Those in the market for a new car might want to pony up $20 for a raffle ticket, or 20, to win a new Ford Mustang donated by Dana Ford Lincoln of Staten Island. Go here to get tickets to the dinner.

Atlas asked that I give props to his ESPN colleagues and former colleagues who will make the drive down from Bristol, including FNF producer Matt Sandulli, anchor Jonathan Coachman, and studio host Todd Grisham. Also, Howie Schwab will be in the house, presumably stumping a person or two.

So, I asked Atlas, what will be the takeaway message on Thursday night? "That room will be about all those people being together and me saying thank you," he said.

Sorry Teddy, I have to correct you. I will be present, and for me it will be about you being a role model of service and providing literally immeasurable aid and comfort to souls most in need of it.

Thank you, and for all those folks who have lost hope and don't know where to turn when insurance companies stomp on their heart, or who get slammed by a natural disaster and don't have the saving to keep them afloat while they rebuild their homes and lives, please, keep up your great work.

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Area kids meet and greet Malignaggi

November, 15, 2013
Paul Malignaggi is getting closer to that point when his gameface is affixed on his visage 24/7. He meets fellow Brooklyn native Zab Judah on Dec. 7 at Barclays Center, in a welterweight tussle dubbed "The Battle of Brooklyn."

But on Thursday evening, Malignaggi (32-5 with 7 KOs), the 32-year-old from Bensonhurst who stands on the short list of improbable two-time titleists, being that he needs to rely hugely on finesse and guile to get his W's, because tender hands leave his power supply on the low side, broke into grins frequently.

Adam PantozziPaul Malignaggi with his newest fans.
The boxer interacted with young fans, and made a bunch of new ones, as he spoke to 70 kids in the 40/40 Club & Restaurant at Barclays Center in Prospect Heights during the second annual Thanksgiving celebration for Brooklyn students and their parents, guardians and mentors.

The kids chowed on a solid spread, including turkey and copious sides, and ate up Malignaggi's call to let it soak in that they can achieve their desires in life. "You can do what you want, believe me, I'm living proof," he told the kids. "Don't make excuses when those road-bumps come. Get over those humps. You guys can achieve what you want to achieve."

"It was good to get away from the gym," the fighter told me later, "and talk to the kids, with a positive message, where they can see for themselves someone who has excelled." Paulie's message: Be stubborn and keep on hustling even when reality smacks you upside the head.

Malignaggi earned a new hardcore fan in eight-year-old Hannah Hawkins, a fourth grader who attends Cultural Arts Academy in East New York. "He's nice," she told me, and I suspect the pugilist may have overtaken WWE's John Cena as her favorite sports entertainer. Nine-year-old Sydney Godfrey, who attends PS 73 in Brownsville, told me she knows who Malignaggi is because she watches boxing with her dad. She deftly shortstopped my query when I asked her if she'd be rooting for Brownsville's Judah on Dec. 7.

Some of the Brooklynettes strolled around the room, and said hi to the kids, who also seemed to dig the presence of the Brooklyn Nets Super Hero BrooklKnight, and the LIU Brooklyn Blackbird. I joked with Nets communication manager Mandy Gutmann that I'd leave the event super pleased as long as she didn't request that I dress up in a Santa suit...

Everyone grooved on a performance from the song-dance troupe Regime, and then the partygoers, which included reps from the Project Mentor Development Council and the Put Down the Guns Foundation (P.S. 161 chapter), filed into the arena to check out a performance of Disney on Ice.

And indeed, I left happy, seeing the kids, many of whom live in neighborhoods that don't get the coddling that a Park Slope, say, does, getting the royal treatment, and also because nobody asked me to dress up as Santa.

Could Malignaggi-Judah lead to 'Money'?

October, 15, 2013
Floyd Mayweather has emerged as the face of boxing this year. His Sept. 14 bout against Canelo Alvarez vaulted him to another level of awareness in the minds of folks outside the hardcore fight crowd, including casual viewers of boxing. After last month's win, he was booked on “The Colbert Report,” and even MSNBC, if you need proof that “Money” has transcended the narrow channel of boxing stardom to something a bit beyond that.

[+] EnlargePaulie Malignaggi
Nick Laham/Golden Boy/Getty ImagesCould Paulie Malignaggi be in line for a big payday?
Paul Malignaggi and Zab Judah -- talented pugilists who have toiled as professionals since 1996 and 2001, respectively -- face off, in a battle of Brooklyn, at Barclays Center, on Dec. 7.

No title will be at stake, but “bragging rights” will be on the line, as Barclays (and Nets) CEO Brett Yormark noted during Tuesday's news conference to hype the Golden Boy promoted clash, which will run on Showtime. And maybe more than bragging rights will be at stake.

The bout will take place at 147 pounds, which is Mayweather's territory. Do not be surprised, boxing fans, if the winner of this bout gets kicked up a notch higher in the Floyd-stakes, that short list of boxers who could be Floyd’s opponent in the near future (Floyd has had two fights in his six-fight deal with Showtime, and is booked to fight next May, and September).

Judah said he’d be keen to tangle again with Mayweather. They battled in 2006, and fought some tight rounds before the bout dissolved in disarray (Mayweather won a unanimous decision after 12 rounds, but the flow was interrupted when a fracas, involving both corners, broke out in round ten).

“That sounds great, where the check at?,” Judah said when I asked him about that prospect. “I’d like some of that Mayweather money. They call him 'Money May,' check it out, let’s work,” he said.

As for Malignaggi, he’s proven himself to be one of the best self-managers in the game. He has the incredible ability to mix severe candor -- when he excoriated the boxing press, or portions of it, at Tuesday's news conference for being “fanboys” instead of real-deal journalists -- and activist trash-talking (a couple times, he publicly chided promoter Golden Boy for low-ball monetary offers), yet he retains a seat as a Showtime analyst and secures himself high-profile bouts. I have zero doubt that he’d love to finish out his professional run with a clash against Mayweather, the desired IRA bout for practically every world-class boxer from 140 to 160 pounds.

Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza agreed that this bout could in fact be something of a Mayweather eliminator.

“If the winner gets some solid wins, why not?” he told me.

Mellow Zab, fiery Paulie hype Dec. 7 bout

October, 15, 2013
Paulie Malignaggi will battle Zab Judah at Barclays Center on Dec. 7.Nick Laham/Golden BoyGetty ImagesPaulie Malignaggi will battle Zab Judah at Barclays Center on Dec. 7.
Both boxers are coming off clashes they lost at Barclays Center, scraps which featured heated trash talking. But Zab Judah and Paul Malignaggi were on their best behavior Tuesday afternoon as they hyped their Battle of Brooklyn, which will unfold at Barclays Center on Dec. 7, on a Golden Boy card which will run on Showtime.

That isn't to say the presser at Barclays Center didn't feature some verbal bomb-dropping. But it was the Bensonhurst-bred Malignaggi (32-5 with seven KOs; age 32) who put that forth, with a scathing takedown of the boxing media, which he slammed for being too keen on printing gossip. He was riffing off resentments which bubbled up in the leadup to his last outing, against Adrien Broner on June 22. Malignaggi said the boxing media too often acted like "The National Enquirer," because material was printed about a relationship he had with a woman who later became involved with Broner.

Also, he said, boxing writers are often too busy crafting pound-for-pound lists, instead of reporting on substantive issues, like performance-enhancing drugs. He took a slap at "experts" who didn't think he was neck-and-neck with Broner, who won a split decision in their bout. He took the stance that writers who don't take serious stands on deep issues have no right to opine on a boxer, for example, coasting to a decision win instead of gunning for a stoppage.

Brownsville native Judah (42-8 with 29 KOs; age 35), who looked solid in dropping a UD12 to Danny Garcia on April 27, was comparatively mellow. There was zero hint of danger, or premature violence, as there was during the first Judah-Garcia presser, which nearly devolved into a full-scale brawl.

Judah said that he had an edge over Malignaggi in "hand speed and power," and predicted Malignaggi doesn't have the pop to rebuff him at all. "Paulie has fast hands, too," he allowed. "But he doesn't have what it takes to hold Zab Judah back."

Showtime, HBO both have boxing Dec. 7

October, 8, 2013
Fight fans, fire up the DVRs, because we have a dueling dates situation emerging, on Dec. 7.

Showtime will present fights taking place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn that evening, and HBO will also put on a show, topped by a Guillermo Rigondeaux title defense against Ghana-born Bronx resident Joseph Agbeko. Top Rank will lead the Atlantic City promotion, which will unfold most likely at Boardwalk Hall's intimate theater.

The Barclays card is still in a state of flux, though it is getting close to being fully firmed up. Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza told me that it is looking like an NYC duel between Bensonhurt's Paul Malignaggi and Brownsville's Zab Judah in a welterweight clash will be the main event, while a title defense by WBA interim welterweight champion Keith Thurman against journeyman-turned-contender Jesus Soto Karass will be chief support.

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Catanzaro has 'great problem' on Dec. 7

October, 8, 2013
On the night of December 7, Brooklyn's Anthony Catanzaro will be the slightest bit frazzled, but in a good way.

A boxer he advises, welterweight Paul Malignaggi, will be fighting at Barclays Center against Zab Judah, on Showtime.

At around the same time, another fighter he advises, middleweight Matthew Macklin, will be fighting in Atlantic City, on HBO, against Willie Nelson. Top Rank will be the lead promoter of that card, to be topped by Cuban artiste Guillermo Rigondeaux defending his bantamweight titles against Joseph Agbeko of the Bronx.

"My stomach will be in shambles," Catanzaro told me, "but it's a great problem." Another Catanzaro boxer, Sadam Ali, might be fighting on TV as well, on Showtime Extreme, on the Brooklyn card, which will be put together by Golden Boy. "Maybe three of my fighters on primetime? At the end of a day, it's great problem to have," he said.

Catanzaro said it's still up in the air whether Malignaggi-Judah will be the feature bout at Barclays.

My take: that absolutely is a compelling and appropriate feature for Brooklyn. It has been rumored that the super skilled Devon Alexander might snag the main event. But I must show my bias here, being a Brooklyn guy, no diss on Devon, I'd be more amped to see the New Yorkers get the brightest spotlight in Brooklyn, for what it's worth.

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Malignaggi, Judah ready for 'turf war'

October, 5, 2013
UPDATE: Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza just informed me that the Alexander-Collazo bout is an inaccurate rumor and is "not being considered."


Paul Malignaggi will meet Zab Judah in a battle for Brooklyn bragging rights, on Dec. 7 at Barclays Center. That date has been set in stone, but all the participants haven't been, as a proposed Devon Alexander-Amir Khan scrap was on, off, on and off again. As of today, Malignaggi will fight Judah in a welterweight scrap. "It's a go, I'm not sure if it's the main event or co-main, though," he said.

Malignaggi grew up in Bensonhurst and is living in Los Angeles now, though he's moving back to New York in the next couple months. Judah comes from the fertile fighting hood of Brownsville and currently makes his home in Las Vegas. "This is a battle of Brooklyn, it's a turf war," Malignaggi said.

The grapevine is saying that Alexander, the IBF welter champ, will defend against Queens' Luis Collazo, but that is news to Alexander trainer-manager Kevin Cunningham. "I don't know anything about a Collazo fight," he told me. "I woke up to all kinds of texts. I haven't heard anything. No one has come to me about that fight. We are training, but don't have an opponent," he said.

In fact, Cunningham isn't assuming Devon will fight Dec. 7, though he did leave the door wide open for an Alexander-Collazo tussle. "It's something I would definitely entertain, something like that, a former world champ," Cunningham said. "I thought he beat Ricky Hatton. I think it'd be good for Barclays."

He was conclusive in saying that an Alexander-Amir Khan bout is off the table for that date, however. "Khan is definitely out," he told me.

Stay tuned for more developments on this ever-shifting Golden Boy card.

Meet Golden Boy boxers today

September, 29, 2013
Attention Brooklynites, and fight fans beyond the five boroughs: Pugilists Paul Malignaggi, the former junior welter and welterweight titlist, and current Showtime analyst, and contender-on-the-cusp of a title shot, Danny Jacobs of Park Slope, will be shaking hands and greeting the common folk at the street fair "Atlantic Antic" at 2:30 p.m.

You can see the Golden Boy promotions crew, which also will include Brooklyn's Sadam Ali, who headlines at Barclays tomorrow night against Jay Krupp, as well as Newark's Michael Perez, Brooklyner Emmanuel Gonzalez and Claude Staten of Staten Island, at the Barclays Center Mobile Unit, on the corner of 625 Atlantic Ave. and 4th Ave., in front of Dunkin' Donuts.

Malignaggi thinks a Floyd-Khan fight works

September, 27, 2013
Paul Malignaggi and I played the what-if game Thursday at Gleason's, and I asked what he thought about a matchup between a man he fought, Amir Khan, and Floyd "Money" Mayweather.

Team Mayweather announced at a Wednesday media lunch in New York that it would be making a popularity and relevance push for Mayweather in the U.K. to widen the scope of his brand. That would correlate with a faceoff against the Brit Khan, who is a transcendent celebrity in his nation.

Malignaggi said he's hearing that the powers that be like the idea of a Mayweather-Khan scrap in May.

"And what about me in the co-feature in England? I'm big in England," Malignaggi said, harkening to his 2008 appearance on a Ricky Hatton undercard in Manchester and a fight with Hatton in Vegas six months later. "I'd need a win to get into that."

He wouldn't go there, and call Khan chinny, but Malignaggi didn't disagree that punishment absorbed in a December 2010 bout against Marcos Maidana didn't do Khan's chin a bit of good. "He does get hit with left hooks," Malignaggi allowed.

We also talked about his recent assertion that Mayweather is the best ever -- the top of the pugilistic pyramid, bar none. I wondered what he thought of the blowback on social media, with a majority of those weighing in labeling that call absurd.

"That kind of talk makes boxing fun," he said. "But let's remember, I do this for a living. I feel I know more than 99.9 percent of the people out there. I see what Floyd does in there. I see how he adapts."

And sorry Angelenos, Malignaggi is preparing to move back to New York. He purchased a home and will be here full-time within a few months. Back to Brooklyn?

"Nah," he said, grinning, "I like my privacy."

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Malignaggi not keen to share spotlight

September, 26, 2013
Paul Malignaggi, the Bensonhurst-bred former junior welter and welterweight champion who doubles as a Showtime analyst, is between fights. He seems to be enjoying the downtime; the boxer relished bites of a cupcake at Gleason's in Brooklyn on Thursday, during a workout session to hype the Monday Golden Boy card at Barclays.

The frosted treat had been purchased by publicist Kelly Swanson for the Monday headliner, Sadam Ali, a birthday boy on Thursday, as he makes his Golden Boy debut against Jay Krupp.

As Malignaggi licked the last bit of frosting from his fingers, he got NYFightblog up to speed with his current status as a boxer. We'd heard that a fight with Zab Judah was imminent and asked him where that all-Brooklyn mash-up stood.

"You get one shot to make me and Zab," he said, explaining that he sees that scrap as a main event in Barclays, not as a support bout with other principals topping a Dec. 7 Barclays card. "It's not a co-main event with Zab."

Common sense says the budget for the main support bout isn't in the same ballpark as a main event, and, he implied, he's not keen at this stage of his career to accept lesser-light status and the paycheck haircut that would result.

Malignaggi said that a match with Shawn Porter, an ascending welter, had been brought up to him, but he didn't seem enthused. He also had gotten wind of a theoretical scrap against interim WBA welter champ Keith Thurman, but Thurman is locked in with a date against Mexican rumbler Jesus Soto Karass on Dec. 14 in Vegas. An Adrien Broner-Marcos Maidana tussle tops that Vegas promotion, and Malignaggi would be pumped to face the winner. He acquitted himself more than adequately against Broner, losing a split decision to the cocky Cinci stylist on June 22 in Brooklyn. But he's pretty pragmatic, and knows he'll likely not be handed that honor. "I've got to come back with something," he said. "I do feel I shouldn't have to tap-dance for a shot but I think I will have to stay busy."

Ali, Browne ready for Barclays bouts

September, 26, 2013
Barclays Center will stage its fifth fight night on Monday, with a card unfolding in the Cushman & Wakefield Theater, topped by a Sadam Ali-Jay Krupp main event.

[+] EnlargeSadam Ali
AP Photo/Gregory PayanSadam Ali
Ali and others on the bill, including Staten Island's Marcus Browne, showed up at Gleason's in DUMBO on Thursday to hype the Golden Boy event.

Ali, a Brooklyn resident who had a place on the 2008 U.S. Olympic squad, has taken his time to get to this place. He staged his own cards and stayed independent until he and his father/manager, Mahmoud, who stood next to the 25-year-old hitter while he chatted with NYFightblog, found the right terms. I asked Sadam if he had ever gotten impatient, to the point of severe frustration, since turning pro in March 2010 and seeing some other folks who arguably might not be as skilled as he is get signed to promotional deals.

"No," he said, "not at all. I knew this day would come."

And what about the father?

"Of course I did," the father admitted with a tiny grin. "I'm just always wanting what's best for my son."

The 16-0 welterweight takes on the 17-5 Krupp, who features a Mike Tyson-style peek-a-boo look he honed under ex-Tyson trainer Kevin Rooney. Ali didn't seem phased by the Tyson talk. "He can't peek-a-boo me if he can't see me," Ali said.

The 22-year-old Browne finished skipping rope, and I approached him for a quick chat. What if, I said, you upstage your pal Sadam, I asked. Will you feel bad?

"Of course not," the 6-0 light heavy said. "That's what you're supposed to do! Boxing isn't a team sport." Browne takes on 5-1-1 Lamont Williams, who is a half-step up from anyone he has tangled with before as a pro.

All the fighters seemed to be on message, and Ali, for one, was tested. Thursday was his birthday, and publicist Kelly Swanson presented him with a cupcake.

"I can't eat it," Ali said. "I'll eat it after the fight."