Paulie Malignaggi is wary of any offers that might pull him back into fighting, even if it’s a matchup with a former UFC fighter.
“Magic Man” revealed in an interview with Dylan Bowker that he recently turned down an offer to box former UFC welterweight Dan Hardy.
“I was offered recently an exhibition boxing bout against Dan Hardy in England. Former UFC fighter Dan Hardy,” Malignaggi said. “Which was kind of interesting, but at the end of the day, I just felt like it would take away from my schedule that I had with my commentary gigs. My commentary is sort of what I’m trying to stay focused on right now.”
The 41-year-old most recently competed in 2019 when he faced off with Artem Lobov in the main event of BKFC 6. Malignaggi lost via decision to Lobov in his only bare-knuckle boxing appearance, but he’s remained in the sport by moving into a commentary role with BYB Extreme Fighting Series.
Even though he turned down the opportunity to fight Hardy, “Magic Man” admits that he was tempted by the details of the matchup.
“They gave me a decent offer actually (for Hardy). Honestly, it was a cool scenario all around. It was less risk and would have been with 16-ounce gloves. It was definitely less risk. I come from a life where I had to pay people to spar in 16-ounce gloves…So to be able to be paid to do a 16-ounce glove sparring match would have been interesting. I was offered it with no headgear. Listen, I can’t say it didn’t get my attention. But what I figured to myself was if I take this, I’m going to keep getting other offers and I’m going to keep getting sucked back into this.”
Malignaggi has floated in and out of MMA headlines since his controversial sparring session with Conor McGregor in the lead up to McGregor’s fight with Floyd Mayweather. He blamed his 2019 BKFC loss to Lobov on “MMA judges” and criticized Ben Askren’s boxing performance against Jake Paul. Earlier this year, he threw his own name into the mix as a possible opponent for Paul.
Dan Hardy is set to appear in an exhibition boxing match on July 2 against Diego Sanchez. Malignaggi previously claimed to have been offered a fight with Sanchez for BKFC in 2021.
What do you think of Pauli Malignaggi’s explanation for why he turned down a fight with Dan Hardy?