Malignaggi mapping out future

Updated: July 25, 2007, 1:31 PM ET
By Dan Rafael
Paulie Malignaggi, the stylish New York boxer who claimed a junior welterweight belt with a lopsided decision against Lovemore N'Dou on June 16, is enjoying his newfound status.

"It feels great," he said. "This is what I've been working so hard for. I'm being treated much differently. My friends always respected me, but, in general, I'm getting more respect in the street and boxing."

Although Malignaggi (24-1, 5 KOs) would like to someday defend his belt in Italy, he'd like his first defense to be in America against recognized world champion Ricky Hatton, who vacated the belt Malignaggi eventually won in order to fight higher profile opponent Jose Luis Castillo on June 23 instead of making a mandatory defense against N'Dou.