This Saturday (June 22, 2019), Paulie Malignaggi will take on fan favorite Artem Lobov in the main event of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) 6 from Tampa, Florida.
The bout will rate as the culmination of their bad blood-fueled rivalry. It’s one that has been raging on for the past few months. Much of it, of course, centers around Malignaggi’s long-running beef with Lobov’s good friend and teammate Conor McGregor. The former two-division boxing champion has been campaigning for a fight with ‘The Notorious’ ever since their infamous sparring session controversy in 2017.
Thankful For ‘Stupid’ MMA Fans?
But McGregor hasn’t taken the bait thus far. So Malignaggi is looking to put a beating on Lobov so devastating that the Irish megastar will come seeking revenge. He’s come up with quite the graphic ways to describe it. Of course, he’ll have to badly beat a former UFC fighter who didn’t exactly maintain the most glaring record in the cage to do it. Speaking to MMA Fighting recently, Malignaggi admitted it was a bit of a strange step down for him. After facing many of his generation’s top boxers, Lobov is an unexpected opponent. But he wants the fight, so he said he was thankful MMA fans were so ‘stupid’ that it’s happening:
“I don’t think of it in a bad way. I think of it like, thank god that this fan base in MMA is so f—king stupid that they actually have made this possible. A fight this easy is possible in a main event situation. That’s how I look at it. I look at it in a thankful way. From that perspective I say yeah, I can’t believe I’m here. I’ve been in the ring with top fighters, main events inside stadiums and the biggest arenas in the world. I’ve been announced as a world champion. Believe me, it all goes through my mind.
“And now, I’m fighting this guy, who I don’t think has ever fought a guy who’s been a world champion, let alone fight for a title. So I catch myself and say I can only be thankful. There’s no way realistically possible to have a fight this easy against a bum of this level unless there is a fan base this stupid.”
Malignaggi Wants To Make Lobov Pay
Harsh words from the former WBA welterweight champion to be certain, but they may hold a certain degree of brutal truth. Malignaggi has definitely faced some of the best in the sweet science. While he didn’t always come out on top in those fights, he will forever be a champion. That’s a far cry from the overall resume of Lobov, whose main claim to fame may be his running gag of being the ‘GOAT’ that fans have embraced to the fullest.
Because of that, he’s a frequent target of online vitriol, which is obviously commonplace. He claims it doesn’t get to him. But his young family members see it, so that’s another aspect Lobov will pay for on Saturday:
“As an adult, you shrug that stuff off,” he said, “but I have nieces and nephews less than 10 years old that are exposed to this, and this is one of the things he has to pay for.”
Overall, he’s just not worried about any skills ‘The Russian Hammer’ brings to the fight. In fact, he said it’s not really even boxing necessarily. You need only watch his fights to see that Malignaggi will have an easy win in Tampa – or so he claims:
“Artem’s boxing? What boxing?. His fighting or whatever he does? I don’t really know. I struggle to find something positive about it. He’s a guy who’s tough, but then again, I know club fighters who fight in front of 500 people who are tough, too. I can’t say there’s anything that worries me past that. The thing is, I don’t have to make it up. Literally, everything he says to pump himself up, he has to make it up.
“Me? I’m legitimately telling you the truth when I tell you the guy can’t fight. The guy has no respectable boxing ability, and I have a hard time figuring how this fight’s going to be tough. I can legitimately say that, and if you watch his boxing, you know I’m telling the truth.”