Paulie Malignaggi has been soaking in the sun, figuratively, after snagging the WBA welterweight crown from Vyacheslav Senchenko on April 29.
He's a full-on veteran now at age 31, and he knows better how to modulate his mood and build excitement, along with his brand. The trash-talking Brooklyner has -- yes -- become a bit of a serene sage.
I asked the newly sagacious pug who he likes in Saturday's showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr..
The Bradley bandwagon has been filling up with folks who think Pacman's best days are behind him. At 33, Pacaquiao is coming off two so-so outings, against Shane Mosley last May and Juan Manuel Marquez in November. Many expect the 28-0 Bradley to hand Manny his first loss since he fell to Erik Morales in 2005.
"Tough fight to call, both are coming in with a lot to prove," Malignaggi said. "Bradley as the underdog and Pacquiao due to recent poor form. I pick Manny, though. I think Manny's speed might be a slight factor. Plus, if it goes to the cards, I don't think Bradley can get a decision. I think it will be a good fight because Bradley will be trying the whole way."
Having always been a fan of Malignaggi's pluck and skills, as well as his ability to build a fight -- might he look for "next" with Pacquiao?
"Who knows? But I think being with Golden Boy Promotions that I'm more in the [Floyd] Mayweather sweepstakes."