He’s an ace ring general and has elevated his rep in the game by winning the BWAA Taub Award, as best broadcaster, in his first full year on the job.
But no, Paul Malignaggi isn’t in transition mode, winding down the ring campaigns and focusing more on the less bruising side of the sport.
The 33-year-old New Yorker will glove up against yet another young gun, a hitter who will likely have a power edge and freshness advantage on him come fight night. But Malignaggi would like to snag the IBF 147 pound crown currently wrapped around the waist of Ohioan Shawn Porter, who yanked the strap off Devon Alexander on Dec, 7 in Brooklyn. On that night, Malignaggi won “The Battle of Brooklyn,” a bragging rights showdown in which he showed his tank was a great deal fuller than Zab Judahs.
So, Paulie, how do you propose to beat Porter? “I’m too good,” Malignaggi replied. “No fancy answers, I’m too good for Shawn Porter, it’s as simple as that.”
Is there anything that Porter can do to have his hand raised in DC? “He can’t,” the Brooklyn-bred hitter said.
“We are very excited that this fight got done,” Malignaggi (33-5) advisor Anthony Catanzaro told me. “We know we have a tough, young, physical fighter in Porter and he will try to do to us what he did to Devon. However, I feel Paulie is a lot to deal with on fight night and his hand and foot speed along with his big fight experience will make us victorious.”
The Porter tussle, promoted by Golden Boy, will run on Showtime, underneath a main event of Bernard Hopkins-Beibut Shumenov.
Porter owns a 23-0 record and surprised to the upside many who dismissed him as an ESPN level fighter. He rose to the occasion vs. Alexander, who may have had something of an off night, or may have been surprised by the physicality of Porter, who’s no bomber but punches sharply enough to do more than annoy.
This would be a third bigtime title take for Malignaggi, who held belts at 140 and 147 after that. He dropped the WBA welter crown to Adrien Broner in 2013 after beating Vyacheslav Senchenko for the trinket in 2012.
Thoughts, readers? Can Paulie use his angles, punch placement and ring IQ to take Porters’ title? Weigh in!
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