The loss represented Malignaggi’s failed bid to earn the WBA’s 140-pound belt, and it took place in May of 2010 in the Theatre at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Since then, however, Malignaggi has risen to welterweight, where his four-bout winning streak was capped by a ninth-round knockout which dethroned Vyacheslav Senchenko for the WBA’s 147-pound belt in April.
Meanwhile, Khan was dethroned this past Saturday in Las Vegas by Danny Garcia, whose triumph added Khan’s WBA junior welterweight belt as well as the division’s RING championship to the WBC crown he already wore.
Although Khan’s loss scuttled his plans to rise into the welterweight division for a potential matchup with eight-belt, five-division titlewinner, Floyd Mayweather Jr., why not go for a rematch with Khan.
The return bout could take place, yet again, in the Big Apple, where Malignaggi longs to be the headliner at the state-of-the-art Barclay’s Arena in his native Brooklyn on Oct. 20?
“To answer your question, why not? Yeah, why not? That would be fine,” said Steve Bash, Malignaggi’s attorney. “We talked about it the night of the Garcia-Khan fight, Paulie and I. I mean, Paulie would definitely take that fight.”
Malignaggi (31-4, 7 knockouts) partially blamed extreme weight loss for his problems against Khan (26-3, 18 KOs), who was able to land repeately against the defensive specialist throughout their bout.
But since rising to 147 pounds, Malignaggi has revitalized his career, if not, improved what was considered to be a lack of punching power.
For among Malignaggi’s four straight wins, two have been by knockout, including his welterweight debut — a sixth-round knockout of Michael Lozada in December of 2010.
The run culminated in April, when Malignaggi completely dominated the physically bigger, taller, harder-punching Senchenko (32-1, 21 KOs).
In front of his hometown fans at Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine, the 5-foot-10 Senchenko’s left eye was beaten bloody and swollen shut, and his nose appeared to be broken by the 5-8 Malignaggi.
Could Khan win a 147-pound rematch with Malignaggi and restore his legacy, or would Malignaggi gain redemption against the guy who knocked him out in his hometown?
“I don’t know, but my guess is that they’re going to try to rehabilitate Khan in England, maybe get his confidence up back at home where he can sell some tickets rather than bring him right back here to the U.S.,” said Bash.
“Khan might be saying, ‘well how much am I going to gain by beating a guy that I’ve already beat?’ But speaking for Paulie Malignaggi, because I want the best for him, I would love for Paulie to take that fight. Because, right now, maybe it’s the time to take Khan. Maybe right now is the right time to fight him.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org