On December 7th at the Barclays Center fellow Brooklynites Zab “Super” Judah (42-8 29KOs) and Paul “Magic Man” Malignaggi (32-5 7KOs) square up in the ring for the right to be crowned the king of their home borough. At one point in their careers both fighters were considered elite and at the top of their division. As time has passed, both fighters have lost many times and have struggled to get wins. Now they both meet in a crucial must-win crossroads fight, not only for the pride of Brooklyn but the loser could be cast away from the upper echelon never seeing the top again.
Judah and Malignaggi are notorious for their verbose comments heading into their fights. The comments leading up to this fight though have been very cordial but because of their past with each other, and how their careers have evolved together, neither fighter has been willing to turn up the “trash talk” to sell the fight. When approached with the fight, Judah had mixed feelings about getting into the ring with someone he has respected and has befriended for years. “In my preparation for moving forward to do what I do they said Paulie and I said Paulie? Nah, Paulie is my homeboy.” But I was like, ‘Hey, you know this is an opportunity that you’ve got to take for boxing.’ So I guess we’re here now. Like I said, this is a fight where there’s no animosity or anything like that. It’s just us going in there and representing for our city,” stated Judah.
In Judah’s last fight, he lost to the current Junior Welterweight titlist Danny “Swift” Garcia at the Barclays Center. In the fight with Garcia, Judah was a big underdog but he proved his resiliency and his mental toughness by not only lasting the 12 rounds, but he also came on late to push Garcia to his limit. Judah’s career has not been like it was years ago where he would be the favorite in most match-ups. Now the tables have turned Judah has carried his underdog banner into battle with him for motivation. This fight is the first time in the long time that both fighters have been in a real 50/50 fight. Since his underdog banner is not flying high, and both fighters have been respectful towards each other, Judah says the motivation is to stay on top and be crowned the king of Brooklyn.
“My motivation comes from the opportunity. The opportunity of still being here 18 years strong, to be competitive against young fighters like Paulie Malignaggi and Danny Garcia, and to still be competing at a high level of boxing.” He continued “I mean, to be crowned the kings of BK, that’s a very big accomplishment coming from Brooklyn. There’s one thing a lot of people will tell you – there’s a pride about being from Brooklyn. Now we’ve got the opportunity in a sport that I’ve been in for the last 18 years of my life to be called the king of it.”
Early in Malignaggi’s amateur career, Judah coached Paulie, in a fight. Now years later and those memories still lingering, Judah is still in a bit of disbelief that the fight came to fruition, Judah stated, “It’s kind of crazy to be going up against each other but it’s the sport that we chose and, like he said, once the bell rings and the leather starts flying I think that anybody would come to their senses.”