Paulie Malignaggi has not competed inside a boxing ring since April of last year when he suffered a fourth-round TKO loss to Shawn Porter.
Since then, Malignaggi has barely been mentioned alongside active fighters looking for opponents, with the exception of a canceled fight with Danny O’Conner last month, which was supposed to the televised co-feature on the undercard of Khan-Algieri on “PBC” on Spike.
Malignaggi pulled out after suffering a gash above his right eye during training, although news of a fight with Danny Garcia surfaced soon after the fight was scratched with O’Conner, leading some to suspect that he just wanted a bigger payday.
Dan Rafael of ESPN first reported the potential showdown between Garcia and Malignaggi, which would end up being at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on August 1st when Garcia is scheduled to headline a “PBC” on ESPN card.
While the date and venue are set for Garcia, Malignaggi as an opponent is not. He told ThaBoxingVoice.com’s Nestor Gibbs that while he is aware of the rumors, he has not settled on anything and can’t say that Garcia will be next up for him.
“This is a rumor that’s going around right now (Garcia on August 1st), and I can’t confirm it or deny it at the moment. But we are in talks for some big names. I need big names. I’m cool with any big name,” Malignaggi told Thaboxingvoice’s Gibbs.
Garcia is a tough fight for anyone, especially a fighter Malignaggi’s age who is dealing with a substantial layoff, but he insists that he wants the biggest fights out there for him and will be ready.
“I’ve actually come off back to back training camps where I wasn’t fully in training camp because I’ve got my jobs to work on, but I helped Sadam Ali get ready for his fight and then I was getting ready for my own fight. I’ve been in shape. I’ve been training. Even if it’s been a long layoff, it hasn’t been a layoff to where I’m starting from scratch. I think I’m ready for a bigger name.”
The way Malignaggi tells it, you’d believe that the layoff will actually work for him. He says that the time off has helped him to recuperate, which is important for older athletes. Malignaggi has a point because he is a fighter that uses his boxing IQ as opposed to his physicality.
Garcia isn’t the only name being mentioned for Malignaggi. Names like Pacquiao and Mosley have surfaced recently.
It is somewhat of an oddity for a fighter in Malignaggi’s position to still have his pick of the litter. Usually, it is the older fighter desperately trying to convince anyone that will listen that he’s still got it, but Malignaggi could realistically land any of the aforementioned fighters.
I think this has to do with the fact that Malignaggi has always been an outspoken character, and with his many commentating gigs, he is constantly in the spotlight even in a non-competitive role.
Regardless of a Pacquiao fight, Malignaggi knows that he is in a solid position and can dictate terms in ways that most fighters can’t.
“It’s the right time for Paulie Malignaggi to get into a fight and just be back at center stage in a big main event in Brooklyn.”
As for Mosley, Malignaggi says he’s a realistic option, although he wouldn’t offer up a frontrunner.
Nestor Gibbs said it best when he said Mosley needs a fight right now where Paulie is a fight right now. However, Malignaggi made it clear that because Mosley, who made his career on the West Coast, could end up fighting on the East Coast, it will make the fight interesting for those fans, even if “Sugar” Shane seems far past his prime.
“I’m not sure (about Shane as an opponent). I think Shane is always a big name. I saw him last month at the Mayweather fight, and he looked to be in good shape, he looked lighter than me. I think Mosley’s name will always represent a certain amount of status, he’s a commodity no matter where he is.”
The welterweight division is one of the deepest and most talented pools in all of boxing, but it is interesting because of fighters like Paulie that add to its depth. Malignaggi makes for some interesting matchups across the board, let’s just hope he doesn’t take too long deciding his next option because time is not a luxury he has over the younger welterweights.