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Malignaggi: U.S. unlikely to embrace Ward

1/3/2012

Our NYFightBlog NYC P4P No. 1 to end 2011, Paulie Malignaggi, lives full time in L.A. now. But he's Bensonhurst-bred, and he has an all-candor, all-the-time persona, so we will likely think of him as a New Yorker in perpetuity. I asked Malignaggi if he had any New Year's resolutions he wanted to share, and he said, "Nothing too complicated, just have a positive and productive 2012."

You notice he said nothing about dialing it back in interviews, about being more filtered, less shoot-from-the-lip. Thank the lord.

While he awaits word from Golden Boy on what the promoter has cooking for him in 2012, Malignaggi was asked his take on the guy many have tapped as 2011 fighter of the year, Andre Ward. I wondered if Paulie thought Ward would ever become a superstar fighter who gains both critical acclaim and massive fan appeal, if people will ever truly appreciate his whole package.

Paulie didn't pull any punches in offering his take on Ward's chances for an all-encompassing breakthrough in 2012.

"As much as he deserves it, it's going to be very difficult for him to break through all the way," Paulie said. "Americans don't have enough culture; we're like the wind. If a foreign fighter comes with a lot of fanfare, it's 'Oh, I like him, were going to go with him.' We don't build stars, don't get behind our our own guys."

Malignaggi pointed out that the braggy, blingy persona of Floyd Mayweather Jr. gets that fighter ink and pay-per-view buys, while the humble Christian Ward has trouble drawing anywhere but his hometown of Oakland, and even there doesn't do crazy business.

"People get mad at Mayweather for being a degenerate in how he acts, but doesn't he generate more attention than any fighter in America? Obviously, he's a phenomenal fighter as well -- that helps -- but so is Andre Ward."

Check back for more unfiltered Malignaggi, the only variety available, thank the lord. ...