RingTV.com: If Senchenko doesn’t happen, what are your thoughts on fighting guys like Brook?
PM: I think that Kell Brook is a solid fighter. I thought that he looked really good on the Dec. 17 Ward-Froch undercard. I think that he’s solid.
So, yeah, I’m interested in anything that’s going to be a good, big fight for me. I’m interested in fights that test me and fights that will generate fan interest and peak fan interest, you know?
I’m interested in all of those aspects. But again, they all have to be the right situations for me, you know? They have to make sense and be the right situation for me.
It’s not going to be one of those things where a guy is good and I just want to test myself against him. I used to want to always test myself against the best fighters.
But I’m 31 years old, man, and I’ve got to be a business man too. So, I’m willing to fight everyone and I’ll never back down from anyone.
But it has to be the right situation for me. In the past, I was in situations where I kind of had to do that. But I’m not in those situations anymore.
RingTV.com: When you say that, are you referring to your new gig with the BBC?
PM: No, not really. The BBC radio thing is just a once-in-a-while thing. They’re not really in the United States that often. So I’m not really talking about that.
I’ve got investments. I’ve got my money in businesses. It’s always nice to make money from all sorts of different avenues, and, obviously, boxing has made me some money, which is nice.
But I’m not going to put my head on a platter just to get to people for the sake of making everybody happy. I don’t need the money that badly. I’m still well off, regardless.
It would be nice to make more money, and that’s nice, but again, I’m not going to do that at the expense of myself by sacrificing myself on a platter like I’ve done in situations in the past.
Where it was like, ‘you know, I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do because I’ve got to make money here.’ It’s not like that anymore. I like the extra money, sure, if it’s there.
If it’s the right situation for me, I love to compete, and I still get the goose bumps and the chills every time that I get to compete, especially in the bigger fights, you know?
But I’m not going to get those goose bumps and those chills and the rush of fighting and then get screwed over in the end.
And I’m not being screwed over in terms of anybody stealing from me, I’m just saying that it’s got to be a situation where it’s the correct situation for me, financially.
It’s got to make sense for me, man. I’ve fought everybody already, man. I’m not just going to be taking punches to the head for no reason.
RingTV.com: So, basically, you’re saying you’re not going to put yourself in a situation where you’re an opponent?
PM: You know, even if I’m an opponent, then it’s got to be the right situation for me. That can only be figured out by negotiating and discussing different fights.
If it’s not right, then I don’t have to fight another day in my life. I would like to continue competing, and I feel like I’m in shape, and I feel like I still have a lot to give.
I don’t feel like I’m shot and I feel like I’ve been coming into my own these past few fights, with the help of Golden Boy getting me the right fights.
RingTV.com: Could the current Paulie Malignaggi beat the younger Paulie Malignaggi in his prime?
PM: This Paulie Malignaggi could compete with any Paulie Malignaggi of the past. So, whether or not he would beat him, that would depend.
But, I think that I am definitely more intelligent than in the past. I relied a lot on natural ability in the past and a lot on natural skills. Natural gifts and God-given talent.
I still have a lot of that. But I think that now, I have also learned a lot more in the past year. I’ve been working with [Roach’s assistant] Eric Brown the last year.
He’s also teaching me beyond my talent how to use it in the right way and making smarter decisions in the ring. Me and Eric have a good relationship and I think that the results have shown up.
I’ve won my last three fights, and and I’ve been winning most of the rounds. It’s a situation where I could be getting better, especially at my boxing IQ, that’s definitely gotten better.
I still have enough of my God-given talent that when I mix it with the IQ that I’m acquiring, it poses a danger for anybody I’m in the ring with, I feel.
RingTV.com: What is your Christmas wishlist for 2012 in terms of who you would fight next?
PM: My main objective is to win the WBA title. I would bring Senchenko here to the U.S. if I had my way, you know if the chips fell into the right place, you know?
I would bring him here and beat him for the WBA title in the United States. That would be a good start. It could be any venue in the U.S. But I would even fight him in England.
I would fight him in a neutral place. I get tweeted by a lot of English fans. I would fight him in England. But, otherwise, after that, it doesn’t matter.
I’ve fought in Las Vegas, New York, anywhere. I just don’t want to go to the Ukraine if I can help it. If the money is right, then I’ll go.
But if I had my crystal ball, I would take Senchenko’s title and probably move into a situation where I would defend against maybe the winner of Berto-Ortiz II, or the winner of Marcos Maidana-Alexander.
Possibly Kell Brook. All of those are good names. All of those guys can fight. I’m interested in fighting them. The situation just has to make sense for Paulie Malignaggi and not just for the guy fighting Paulie Malignaggi.
That’s the way that it’s been in my career in the past. The situation’s been there, but they’ve always made more sense for my opponents than they have for me. But if it’s not right for me, then it’s not going to happen.
Photos by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Tim Snow, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org