This Saturday night Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi will climb out of retirement and back into the ring against former undisputed junior-welterweight champ Danny “Swift” Garcia on ESPN.
Malignaggi’s last appearance in the ring was a horrifying loss to Shawn Porter in April 2014. It was a four-round beating that caused some fans to call for the Magic Man’s descent into retirement and embrace his talents as a commentator.
However the 34-year-old Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KO’s), who will near a 15-month layoff come fight night, feels that after some time off and back-to-back training camps, he is ready put an exclamation point on his legacy in the sport with an upset over Garcia (30-0, 17 KO’s).
“This has been one of the best camps I have ever had in my career,” Malignaggi said in a press release before the fight. “We have not only been working really hard, but also really smart. I am coming off back-to-back camps, and I truly feel great.”
Malignaggi had to pull out of a previously scheduled bout against Danny O’Connor citing a cut suffered in training and will now face Garcia instead.
The fight is the Premier Boxing Champions second installment on ESPN, following the Keith Thurman- Luis Collazo card which took place July 11, and will happen at the Barclays Center in Malignaggi’s hometown of Brooklyn. Between the two, Malignaggi and Garcia have fought at the Barclays Center a total of seven times and together are expected to draw a large live audience.
“Barclays Center in my home. Fighting here gives me that extra motivation,” Malignaggi said. “Fighting at Barclays, in front of all my friends and family, it just doesn’t get better than that.”
Garcia is making his debut at welterweight against the light fisted Malignaggi, which some suspect is to ease his transition into the division. While most expect a blowout in Garcia’s favor, Malignaggi’s ring IQ, and boxing ability can present problems for Garcia, as shown in his fights with Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson.
“I have seen strengths and weaknesses all over Danny [Garcia],” Malignaggi said. “When I watch a fight, I see it a lot deeper than most people. So when I watch Danny, I see a lot of different things. I don’t want to get too much into it, but there are definitely things we have seen that we are working on specifically in this camp to implement and capitalize on August 1st.”
There are fans who would rather see Malignaggi hang up his gloves rather than fall in the long line of countless champions who fought past their primes like Meldrick Taylor and Arturo Gatti. However, Malignaggi is doing what comes so naturally to fighters, “I want to live and die by my own decisions, and that is how I have structured this camp. I am listening to my body and listening to myself.”