Friday, September 30, 2022

Malignaggi Admits to Not Taking Artem Lobov Fight Lightly

There has been no shortage of trash talk leading up to tonight’s Bare Knuckle FC 6 main event between Paulie Malignaggi and Artem Lobov. Both sides have said enough to make the bout a bonafide grudge match, and tonight the score is settled inside the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida.

One recurring theme throughout the trash talk from the Malignaggi side is the wanton display of disrespect for Lobov, sometimes physical in the form of a slap or a wayward loogie, but also in the rhetoric spewed in interviews, such as Malignaggi equating Artem Lobov to a punching bag. But earlier this week, Paulie Malignaggi finally confessed that he is not taking tonight’s main event lightly:

“No, I’m not,” Malignaggi said during a media scrum when asked if he is taking the fight against Artem Lobov lightly. “Because I do think there’s risk factors in this fight. The risk factors are the unknown. There is the unknown for myself. There’s the clinch and whatnot. And I know he’s overplaying the whole clinch because to get me in the clinch, you actually have to get to me, and so to close the gap on me is not that easy, and he knows that.

“Also, he’s got two left feet, so closing the gap is even harder for a guy like that. He doesn’t have the greatest footwork. But do I not think about it? Of course I think about it. But I don’t think about it as much as he’d like me to think about it, but of course it keeps me from taking a fight lightly because there is the unknown there.”

What it boils down to is that Malignaggi’s conscious decision to not take the fight lightly is about the unpredictability of entering a new sport and stilll has nothing to do with the opponent:

“So of course, there’s reasons to not take anything lightly in this sport, especially when you haven’t taken part in it. And I haven’t taken part in it. So I’ve been fully focused and I’m fully addressing all the possibilities as well, no matter how much trash talk I talk. It’s not out of respect for Artem. For me, it’s out of respect for the sport.”

So what will it take for Malignaggi to give Artem Lobov full, individualized respect? Malignaggi somewhat surprisingly provided an answer:

“If he goes the distance, I’ll give him credit.”

What is your final prediction for tonight’s bare knuckle grudge match between Paulie Malignaggi and Artem Lobov at Bare Knuckle FC 6?

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