08-18-2007, 08:20 PM
Join Date: May 2006
| | Paul Malignaggi interview
- You guys should check out this site, it's pretty cool and it covers boxing and mma and a lot of other things. It's just starting up.
Love him or hate him, you can't deny the "Magic Man" his time, and right now he's enjoying all of it. |
Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi first started his act back in July of 2001, going through 21 straight opponents and making them disappear back to their locker room with a loss in tow. Unfortunately, while doing his levitation up the ranks, he ran into Miguel Cotto, then 26-0, and had his rise sawed in half. Now Malignaggi is making a reappearing act of his own, nearly shutting out both Edner Cherry and veteran Lovemore N'Dou, the latter earning him the IBF Light Welterweight Title. We at HACNews.com got to speak with the 23-1 champion and learn a little more about whom he really is, and what the next rabbit might be that he will pull from his hat.
HACNews.com: Paulie, how does it feel to finally grab a hold of a major title?
PAULIE MALIGNAGGI: It feels like a lot of hard work finally paying off. It feels good. It's like a dream come true, you know? People start boxing with the mindset to be champion, and now I'm here. It's a great thing.
HACNews.com: Let's go back to the title fight for a moment. N’Dou had been in there with the likes of Sharmba Mitchell, Miguel Cotto, and Junior Witter, all one time elitists at 140lbs. While he lost all those meetings and was even beat down by some, none of them took a decision by as wide of a margin as you did. What do you think that says about the “Magic Man”?
MALIGNAGGI: I think it showed people that I have more power than a lot of people thought. No one could do that to him, but I did. You see I'm a master boxer in the ring. If you look back on my career, other than Cotto, I barely lost any rounds. Actually, I feel I took more rounds from Cotto than most people say I did. I'm a difficult style, you know? I'm an athletic fighter, I got speed, and I use my brains in the ring.
HACNews.com: What made that fight so easy for you?
MALIGNAGGI: It wasn't easy but at the same time, I had a game plan, and I executed that game plan. I knew he came in with heavy-duty pressure, and I expected it. I trained for it, and I dealt with it, I never panicked. He came at me exactly like I expected.
HACNews.com: You also about pitched a shutout in your previous fight before that against the tough Edner Cherry. Have you changed anything in your training that’s attributed to you being a better boxer since the Cotto fight?
MALIGNAGGI: Well, one thing was that I changed my trainer to Buddy McGirt, who's an excellent trainer, probably one of the best trainers out there. The fact that I did that helped my career. Number two, I went back and looked at some of my old fights before I injured my right hand and saw that I had picked up some bad habits. Even though my right hand had healed 100%, I still had gotten away from some things I used to do, so I went back to basics and corrected those mistakes. Those two things combined brought me to where I am. I realized it more really after the Cherry fight, that's when I went and looked at myself back in the day, and worked to perfect myself. I established perfection against N'Dou.
HACNews.com: We gotta talk about Cotto for a minute. Now, you called him out for a rematch a little while back. Do you think he’s a stronger fighter at 147lbs than he was at 140lbs? And how do you feel you would fare against him if you fought at 147?
MALIGNAGGI: I think he's the same fighter. He's a very strong fighter, he was at 140, and he is at 147. I definitely want my second shot at him. It won't be right now, since he moved up, it’d probably be in a couple of years. I won more rounds against Cotto than anyone else did. I think it was a lack of experience that definitely cost me on the scorecards, you know. I think with a little more experience it would have been different. It's a tough atmosphere, you know, fighting Cotto in the Garden on that particular night. In the future, I wouldn't be so panicky in the early rounds.
HACNews.com: I remember you calling out Ricky Hatton at one point. Why are you interested in fighting him and how much of a problem do you think his rugged style would give you?
MALIGNAGGI: I don't think it would be difficult at all. I wanted Ricky Hatton because everyone thinks he's the greatest Junior Welterweight in the world right now, and I don't believe he is. He's got a very physical style, sometimes dirty, but I wanted to show the world that I'm the best. I won this title belt for a reason; I wanted to leave no doubt that I'm the best Junior Welterweight. But now Floyd's got him, and I think he's going to embarrass the guy, so I got to go in another direction.
HACNews.com: Who do you feel would be a tougher fight, Cotto at 147 or Hatton at 140?
MALIGNAGGI: I'd say Cotto at 147. That loss will always be left in my career, it'll be a spot on my career until I avenge that loss, and right now the way to get to Cotto is through Hatton.
HACNews.com: How do you see the Mayweather/Hatton fight playing out and the Cotto/Mosley fight? Got any predictions?
MALIGNAGGI: Cotto/Mosley is a hard to pick fight, hard to call. At first I was leaning toward Mosley, but then I thought back to the first fight with Fernando Vargas... before the stoppage because of the eye swelling, when Vargas stepped up the pressure Mosley was being broken down. I don't know what Mosley still has but that pressure from Cotto may break him. If not then Mosley takes the fight. I'm leaning toward Cotto but I wouldn't be shocked if Mosley takes it. As for Mayweather/Hatton, that's going to be an embarrassment. That's going to be Mayweather beating Gatti all over again.
HACNews.com: Recently, you have come out and made it known that you want Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. He threw some smack talk out there, and you threw it back. Why did you call him out and how do you see this panning out?
MALIGNAGGI: I see it as easy money for Paulie Malignaggi. Chavez Jr. doesn't have what it takes to be an upper echelon fighter, he doesn't even have what it takes to be talking about upper echelon fighters right now and I'm an upper echelon fighter. He's an embarrassment to himself and to the sport of boxing, and the people who believe he can beat me are embarrassments too. He's not a high level fighter at all. If I were his people I would keep babying him and keep his mouth shut, instead he opened up his mouth and called out my name. I'm not one of these midwestern bums he's been fighting. I'll knock him out. That fight won't go the distance.
HACNews.com: So how close are we to seeing this happen?
MALIGNAGGI: I know they're talking very seriously about making it for December 1st on Showtime, but that's not a set date yet. We have to see if he's bluffing or not. I really hope they're not. Let's see him put his money where his mouth is. Maybe they're not bluffing, but at this point, I'm really leaning toward them bluffing.
HACNews.com: How much do you want to try and unify the titles at 140? Do you see yourself moving up to 147lbs, or staying at 140?
MALIGNAGGI: There are lots of possibilities for me, and I'm going to fight the fights that the fans want, whatever's most in demand. If it's a unification, that's what I'll do, if it's Bojado or Cotto or Hatton, you know, I'll do it. I'll fight the fights that the fans want. I want to be seen as a legitimate champion and a fighter. It's not a matter of getting belts anymore; I've done that. I want to make my career skyrocket.
HACNews.com: Really? Francisco "Panchito" Bojado, I'm surprised to hear you mention his name. Why would you want him?
MALIGNAGGI: We had an argument a few years back and there were talks of a prospective match-up being made, but then he got beat. Now he's made some comeback fights. He's made some comeback fights and he has the potential to be popular again, and I hope he does because I'll break his face. You know, he used to be the hot prospect, and he was dropping my name, well now the tables have turned and I'm the big name. You said you were surprised that I mentioned Bojado, and really you should be. Francisco Bojado and Paulie Malignaggi don't belong in the same sentence. I'll fight him just for a chance to break his face. There's legitimate bad blood there, not just some smack talk.
HACNews.com: What can we expect from the “Magic Man” in the future?
MALIGNAGGI: You can expect to see big fights. I'm going to be remembered as a fighter that took on the best and no less. You're either going to know if I am or am not a Hall of Fame fighter. There'll be no doubt, I either will be or won't be, no undecided. I'm going to fight everyone and beat everyone.
HACNews.com: Now, as you might know, HACnews.com also covers MMA news. Just really quickly, what are your thoughts on the sport of mixed martial arts?
MALIGNAGGI: I know a lot of MMA people are saying that their sport is better than our sport, but it's hard to compare really. I know a lot of boxers and I know a lot of MMA fighters. I have respect for their sport, and they should have respect for our sport. What aggravate me are the MMA fighters who are badmouthing boxing for one reason or another. In the end, we're all fighters, we all bleed for our money, and I have respect for that. I also hear that their fighters are underpaid, and that one person in charge is monopolizing the system, you know, I just think, why would you want to be a part of that? I'm not saying there's not a lot of crookedness in boxing, because there is, but I don't see why fighters would be so underpaid for something so dangerous, which all fighting is. They should be compensated the right way for it. And the fighters and fans should want it to be brought out instead of saying that "oh our sport's better" or whatever. I think the truth will come out and when it does they'll wind up falling on their face.
What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear these names?
PM- Hard puncher.
PM- Very underrated.
PM- Strong boxer-puncher, also underrated.
PM- Little bit overrated and class act.
PM- Top Welterweight.
PM- Future pound for pound.
Get2Know: Outside the ring with Paulie Malignaggi
If you weren’t boxing, what would you be doing?
I got to think about that one... I started boxing as a teenager, wasn't with the right crowd... if I hadn't started boxing, I'd probably be in a real big mess. I wouldn't be in a good place. But what would I want to do if I wasn't boxing? (Pause) You know, I always wanted to be a pro athlete, I love soccer and all that, I guess I just had the athletic genes and boxing was just the direction it took. But I'd say a soccer player in Europe.
Outside of Boxing what’s the most important thing in life for you?
Stability. If you had asked me that three or four years ago, it would have been different. I probably would have said fame and glory, but now I'm starting to learn what's important in life in general, and I want stability, I never had that growing up.
Tell us something most people wouldn’t guess about you?
Well, you know I come off very talkative, very yappy, but really I almost never talk about my career in public, and unless I'm introduced as a fighter, I will never bring it up in a conversation. A lot of people see me as cocky and talking about how great I am, but a lot of it is in the ring and hyping fights and interviews.
What’s your ideal day without anything boxing or training involved?
When I'm not training, my day is based on having fun. You know, I have a steady girl, but I like to party a lot. You know, I'm 26 years old, and I have a lot of free time between fights, so if I'm not running errands or making appearances or going to a meeting, I'm planning for the night, what club to go to, and friends to go with. I like to go out. Not that I go crazy with the drinking or dancing on the tables or anything. I just like hanging out, having a good time, get my mind off things.
Where's the best place to go in NY for authentic Italian food?
My uncle's restaurant on the Upper East Side (Vinci) got to give him a shout out, and also Portobello's on Murray Street in lower Manhattan. I got to hook my people up you know! There are plenty of good authentic places in little Italy and in Brooklyn. If you're looking for pizza, then it's Spumoni Gardens.
HACNews.com: What do you want to say to your fans out there?
MALIGNAGGI: I'm actually very approachable, you know, I want them to know that. A lot of fans are tentative about coming up to me because they think I'm very arrogant and cocky, but those are just mind games. In the ring you have to get every advantage you can. I'm always learning about the fighters. I think my fans should approach me; I'm very fan friendly.
HACNews.com: Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to talk to us, Paulie.
MALIGNAGGI: No problem, any time.
At only 26, Paulie Malignaggi seems like he only has greatness ahead of him. And if he has it his way, it won't be just an illusion.
Fans can check out more from the "Magic Man" by visiting his website, www.paulmalignaggi.com or by visiting his official MySpace page at www.myspace.com/malignaggi.
8/9/2008 WAIT FOR IT!
Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests) |
All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:08 PM.
Quick Member Login
Top 5 Latest Threads
Latest MMA News