Paulie Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KO) wants to make a return to prizefighting. The former two-division titleholder from Brooklyn told thaboxingvoice.com in an interview that:
“If I had it my way I’d like to give it another shot, just maybe another year or so.”
Malignaggi hasn’t fought since losing his IBF welterweight title to Shawn Porter (24-1-1, 15 KO) in April of last year. The fight was a four-round beating that convinced many including Malignaggi that he should consider retirement.
He found a calling as a boxing analyst for Showtime and was the recipient of the “Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism” from the Boxing Writers Association of America last year.
Malignaggi, a natural entertainer, has been entertaining the idea of a comeback.
“It depends on the offers that I get. If it’s something good or if it’s something that guarantees me that leads into something good I’ll think about it, right now its just been here say more than anything else.”
At a glance, if you don’t remember “The Magic Man” from his heyday. One may wonder how a man with one fewer losses, than knockouts is so popular in a sport that desperately needs excitement. What Malignaggi brought to the table was a combination of ring swagger and courage, not commonly seen.
Before he fights, while other flamboyant practitioners of the sweet science would stand in their corner with a scowl on their face directed to intimidate their enemies, Malignaggi’s face was more of stone concentration. He was focused on his craft, but when the bell rang he’d be quick to throw you off with his eyes wide and his tongue out.
Malignaggi splashed across the boxing scene as an undefeated light welterweight until 2006 when he met a steam-rolling Miguel Cotto, who won a 12-round decision against him for the WBO light welterweight strap. Malignaggi suffered the first cut of his career in that fight and despite losing to the Puerto Rican powerhouse, Malignaggi showed enough game and talent to hear the final bell.
Since then Malignaggi has twice won titles in both the light welterweight and welterweight divisions. His last dazzling performance was in 2012 when he TKO’d Vyacheslav Senchenko in nine rounds to win the WBA welterweight title.
Malignaggi would lose that belt to the trash talking, brash-walking Adrien “The Problem” Broner in 2013. Malignaggi debunked “The Problem” and made it a closer fight than expected, however, he still came up short with a split-decision loss.
Now that he’s a 34-year-old veteran, Malignaggi still wants to fight but on his terms.
“But if I don’t get what I want or if it doesn’t seem plausible to be done the right way then I have no problem stepping out and just doing this [commentating] because this is a good living and it’s a fun living and it keeps my looks [laughs].”
Malignaggi may not give fans knockouts when he enters the ring but he does give heart, and his mental toughness is something to admire. It takes a special kind of courage to go into a fight knowing your opponent is stronger than you. Still Malignaggi was willing to take the punishment and go the distance, winning over the judges along the way.
While lately Malignaggi has been quoted and criticized by some for his views on the possible Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown, there are those that are still interested to see what he can do inside the ring.
Malignaggi has a loyal following and is managed by the all-powerful Al Haymon, so a comeback fight is certainly doable if the right deal can be made. There may be those who will criticize a Malignaggi return, but he shows up to fight and in boxing, worse things have happened.