WBA welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi shared his thoughts on what it was like working this past Saturday’s Showtime card as a ringside commentator in the days following Floyd Mayweather’s ground-breaking, multi-fight deal with the network.
Mayweather (43-0, 26 knockouts) will face WBC interim beltholder Robert Guerrero on May 4 as part of a potential $250 million six-fight Pay Per View deal with Showtime.
On Saturday night, Mayweather worked as both a promoter and a corner man.
Mayweather was the chief second in the corner of Detroit middleweight prospect J’Leon Love (15-0, 8 KOs), who earned a unanimous decision over Derek Findley (20-9, 13 KOs), and also watched Ishe Smith (25-5, 11 KOs) score a split-decision over Cornelius Bundrage (32-5, 19 KOs) to win the IBF junior middleweight belt.
Love and Smith are promoted by Mayweather Promotions.
Coming off October’s split-decision victory over Pablo Cesar Cano in defense of his belt, Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs) addressed the atmosphere brought on by the presence of Mayweather at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, as well as what he believes will be the impact of Mayweather’s historic shift from HBO to Showtime.
Paulie Malignaggi on last weekend’s show involving Mayweather:
“It was exciting, just knowing that I’m going to get to call Floyd’s fights on Pay Per View. That was the first thing that I thought of when he signed with Showtime. I was like, ‘Oh, man, this is going to be cool.’
“Sometimes, I forget that I’m doing broadcasting, so when they brought it up and the deal was announced, I was like, ‘Oh, man, this is going to be pretty cool.
“I saw Floyd over the weekend, and he is always chill, and he’s always cool and enjoys life. He was very pleasant and seemed genuinely happy and excited.
“Everybody really is excited. It’s an exciting time and an unprecedented move. You haven’t seen a move like this since Mike Tyson came over to Showtime from HBO in the early 1990s.
“So it’s that kind of a move, and it’s that kind of excitement. Everybody was really having fun with that. I think there is a lot more of that in store for the future.”
On how he believes it will affect younger fighters:
“I think not just the fighters, but the fans, in general, that they’re going to want to order Showtime. Floyd Mayweather’s putting Showtime on the map.
“When it comes to something like this, and you want to watch big-time boxing, then it’s clearly visible, based on the last 12-to-14 months, that Showtime is making a big move.
“This was basically the cherry on top. So I think that from a fighter’s perspective, that they’re going to want to come to Showtime.
“Also, from a viewer’s perspective, I think that a lot of viewers might be changing their subscriptions from HBO to Showtime if they can’t afford both.”
On whether he has a fighter deal with Showtime:
“No, I don’t. I have a commentator’s deal, but I don’t have a fighter’s deal. But I’m not really worried about myself. I feel that I’ll always have an opportunity one way or another.
“I’m close to the end of my boxing career, so I don’t get caught up in all of that stuff. I think that if I was younger, then I probably would.
“But I’m just glad to be working with the network and to have the opportunity that it affords me to be able to do that.”
On the prospect of fighting on a Mayweather undercard:
“Yes, of course, that would be an exciting thing, you know? Not only to be able to say that you worked with or were on the same show with possibly the best fighter to ever put on a pair of boxing gloves — which I think that he is — but to also have that opportunity, I’ve always wanted to be on a big card like that.
“I still, as a fighter, look at boxing from a fan’s perspective, so things like that will always excite me. Even from the perspective of now, where I’m a two-time world champion, I still look at things from a fan’s perspective, so the possibility still excites me.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Alex Trautwig, Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com