Paul Malignaggi is smart. Not smart for a boxer, to use a patronizing term, but smart, period. I told him so a couple days ago, as we chatted about his Saturday scrap against Zab Judah at Barclays Center.
"You like to think a few steps ahead, and you got some Machiavelli in you," I told him, as he offered a Cheshire grin in return, and didn't even bother to half-refute my assertions. "Thanks," he said.
"So, I have to think you'd really like to get a fight with Floyd Mayweather. Beat Zab, and then Floyd, is that the plan?"
"If I said I never thought about that, I'd be lying," the 33-year-old former Bensonhurst resident, who was living in LA but is now moving back to NY, told me. "I have given myself a kind of 'road to Mayweather,' if that was to happen. I need to win this fight, I want the winner of the Dec. 14 Broner-Maidana fight, win that fight and then I can be legitimately talking about a Floyd Mayweather fight. Coming off a win over Zab Judah, it's a nice win, but people wouldn't want to see me and Floyd Mayweather. Win this one and the winner of Broner-Maidana, that would give me the momentum to really push for a promotion with Floyd Mayweather."
The boxer nodded when I stated that he is "unofficially-officially" signed on with mega-advisor Al Haymon, who does the same for Floyd Mayweather and most of the top talent which fights under the Golden Boy promotional umbrella. Folks like to joke that God and Al Haymon are 1-2 (or is it 2-1?) when it comes to being thanked after big bouts.
Malignaggi didn't disagree when I noted that could allegiance, which shocked many folks when word of it dribbled out in October, could make the push to craft a Mayweather-Malignaggi promotion a reality more viable than if he was still outside the Haymon sphere.
The competition to get a dance with "Money" is of course intense, as a Mayweather date means a career best payday for most all the contenders. Devon Alexander, who fights on the Saturday Brooklyn card, holds the IBF welter crown. His trainer-manager, Kevin Cunningham, told me he's love his kid to get that opportunity, but he didn't seem all that hopeful that the dream could reach reality. "I don't think Floyd will pick an athletic, black boxer (for his next fight)," the St. Louis based tutor, an ex cop, told me. "He doesn't want to fight a guy with quick hands, quick feet." The three previous Floyd foes share some characteristics, Cunningham noted. None are African-American, but beyond that egregiously simplistic difference, Canelo Alvarez, Robert Guerrero and Miguel Cotto don't possess speed and hand and foot to give Mayweather problems. Let me be clear when I say that Cunningham didn't imply, and I sure as hell don't wish to even hint that I believe that athletes, or boxers, or people, can be lumped into categories by race, and that all black fighters possess certain characteristics that fighters of other races or ethnicities do not. Only a buffoon believes that...
In addition, there exists market research that shows that Hispanic fans are a strong marketing base for promoters when they're trying to sell product, and show their loyalty with their willingness, many times, to pay handsomely for the privilege of seeing their favorite pugilist at work.
Readers, you know me. I like, oftentimes, to report, and let you decide. Have at it in our Forum!
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