Informed that It trainer Freddie Roach thinks his guy Vycheslav Senchenko, the WBA welterweight champ, "has a faster jab than Paulie Malignaggi," you could practically see the gaping yawn on the Bensonhurst-bred boxer's face.
"If he says so," said the 30-4 boxer, living in LA but training in NYC in Italy for his April 29 title shot in the Ukraine against the hometowner Senchenko (32-0; . "In a couple weeks I got a trick for them. Good things come to those who wait, so they only got two weeks left to wait."
Roach also said that the US fighter can and will get a fair shake in the Ukraine. Asked about that, Paulie said, "I'm not worried about fairness and Freddie is a great trainer but he can't fight for Senchenko." Please note, if you are a tad surprised by Malignaggi's even-tempered response, that he trains with Eric Brown out of Roach's Wild Card Gym. I'm not saying that this affects how he speaks about Dedham Freddie, but if it did, that would make sense...
Here's Roach's fuller take on the bout and his guy's chances.
"Senchenko is a very, very good boxer with good technique," Roach said. "He has good height and a good punch. He had a great amateur background. The Ukraine has the No. 1 program in the world this year. It has a very good program and Senchenko is very well schooled. His jab is his best weapon and I think that will be the difference in this fight. He has a faster jab than Malignaggi and it should control the fight.
"I think Senchenko's boxing ability will enable him to out-score Paulie to win a decision. Paulie is very game. He'll bring the fight and make it exciting. Going to the Ukraine is not like going into hostile territory. The promoter (Yuri Ruban, Union Boxing) over there is very fair. One time I had a fighter from there - I thought he won - but he lost a decision at home. There will be neutral judges and the winner will be the real winner."
FYI Malignaggi is today training in Milan. He got there a few days ago, and reports that good sparring is being flown in from Poland and England.