Malignaggi might defend title vs. Salita

June, 16, 2012
6/16/12
12:38
AM ET
The grapevine has featured talk about a Paulie Malignaggi-Dmitriy Salita scrap at the Barclays Center in October.

I wasn't quite sure if this wasn't a case of Salita -- who has been sort of off radar after getting blasted out by Amir Khan on Dec. 5, 2009, a little more than a minute into their fight -- trying to stir the pot, draw some heat. He has beaten three journeymen types since the Khan loss, and hasn't fought since April 2011.

So, what about it, Paulie? Would you give Salita -- 33-1-1 with 17 KOs; born in Ukraine, runs a boxing academy in the neighborhood where Malignaggi grew up, Bensonhurst -- a crack at your WBA welterweight crown?

"It's being discussed seriously," the 31 year-old Malignaggi (31-4 with 7 KOs) told us. "A battle of Brooklyn in the newest state-of-the-art arena in the world. And it just happens to be in Brooklyn."

Salita is pumped if it comes to fruition.

"Paulie is a very good boxer," the 30-year-old hitter said. "He has better power then people give him credit for. He uses his legs to get in and out and his jab is his main weapon. Paulie just won the title, his confidence is high, so I expect him to be aggressive and engage in a fight with me.

"I am hungry to win my first world title. It will be a very exciting fight. Paulie and I sparred as amateurs and when we first turned pro, so I am familiar with his style. It will be guns blazing."
Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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