- Michael Woods, Boxing
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When the trial balloon of a Paulie Malignaggi-Dmitriy Salita fight at the Barclays Center was floated, much of the response from the masses was in the form of: Salita doesn't deserve a title shot. And, on surface, that is a respectable stance. But, it behooves us all to remember, this is the boxing business. Usually, the primary factor when making a match at this level is: Is there money to be made?
I tend to think promoter Golden Boy can showcase Malignaggi and Salita as a Brooklyn showdown. Both fighters came up in the amateurs at the same time, both grew up in Brooklyn and Salita still calls BK home.
Now, if you want to take a rigid purists' approach, you can find reasons not to like this match. Erik Morales fans, for example, certainly have the ammo to do that.
Primarily, Salita, age 30, hasn't been in with top level competition in the last couple years. In his step-up fight against then WBA junior welter champ Amir Khan in 2009, he got dropped and stopped in Round 1. Folks are saying Salita (33-1-1 with 17 KOs) doesn't "deserve" a crack at the WBA welterweight crown Malignaggi lifted from Vyacheslav Senchenko in April.
So, I put it to Salita, straight up. Do you deserve the Paulie fight?
"I deserve that fight. I absolutely deserve that fight," he told me with confidence in his voice. "We came up at the same time. Since we became pro there was talk of us fighting each other. But the timing didn't work out. I knew when something important was on the line, it would make sense to fight each other. Myself and Paulie want the fight."
Indeed. Malignaggi is down with the plan. He will be in California this weekend, and will meet with promoter Golden Boy to see if they are amenable, as well.
For those that point to the Khan steamrolling, Salita sheds some light on the atmosphere in England at the time. A practicing orthodox Jew whose ring nickname is the "Star of David," Salita entered the ring in England on Dec. 5, 2009 a confident man -- to a point.
Check back to see what was weighing on Salita's mind as he headed to the ring against Khan.
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When the trial balloon of a Paulie Malignaggi-Dmitriy Salita fight at the Barclays Center was floated, much of the response from the masses was in the form of: Salita doesn't deserve a title shot.