BROOKLYN — If Paulie Malignaggi falls to fellow Brooklyn native Zab Judah in Saturday’s Showtime-televised welterweight bout, the 33-year-old said that it will be the first time that he will have lost to a left-handed fighter.
Malignaggi (32-5, 7 knockouts) hopes to keep that mark alive against the 36-year-old Judah (42-8, 29 KOs) at Barclays Center, where the winner will be awarded an official City Championship of Brooklyn belt.
“I have yet to lose to a southpaw,” said Malignaggi, whose career has included winning titles in the 140- and 147-pound divisions. “Even in the amateurs, I have never lost to a southpaw.”
Malignaggi was 21-0 with five knockouts following his 10-round decision over southpaw Donald Camarena in February of 2006 before suffering his first loss to Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision in June of 2006.
“The last time I fought a left-handed guy was Donald Camarena seven years ago in the fight before Cotto. There are some tactical changes that I make against southpaws,” said Malignaggi.
“It’s something that I’Il get into more after the fight. It’s nothing major, but just it’s a small adjustment that I make against southpaws that seems to work. We’ll see how it works against Zab Judah.”
Promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, Judah represents Malignaggi’s third consecutive bout at Barclays Center.
Malignaggi was last in the ring for June’s split-decision loss to Adrien Broner, which dethroned him as WBA welterweight titleholder.
Malignaggi had won the belt in April of 2012 with a ninth-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Vyacheslav Senchenko on Ukrainian soil, representing Malignaggi’s fifth straight victory as a welterweight during a run that had included two knockout wins.
Before falling to Broner, Malignaggi had earned a split-decision victory over Mexico City’s Pablo Cesar Cano at Barclays Center in October of 2012.
“It’s almost like they built this place for me. I fought on the first show and every time I’ve fought since, I’ve fought here,” said Malignaggi. “So this is my third fight in a row here, and it’s meant a lot for me. This has sort of become my home. We’ll be like two dogs pissing on a tree on Saturday night trying to claim our territory.”
Malignaggi was critical of the judges following each of the bouts against Broner and Cano.
In the bout with Cano, judges Nelson Vazquez and Tom Miller each scored it for Malignaggi, with Glenn Feldman having it for Cano, 118-109.
Miller also scored it for Malignaggi, 115-113, against Broner, who was awarded scores of 115-113 and 117-111 by Miller and Tom Schreck, respectively.
Judges for Saturday’s bout are Adalaide Byrd, Max De Luca and Michael Pernick.
Following a unanimous decision by junior middleweight Austin Trout over Cotto in December of last year, Byrd scored it for Trout, 119-109, at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Deluca, of California, is considered to be a quality official, as is Pernick, of Florida, who scored, 118-110, in favor of Manny Pacquiao during the latter’s unanimous decision over welterweight rival Brandon Rios last month.
“I’m not worried about it. I can’t worry about the judges or the decision. Listen, it’s part of the game to have that in the back of your mind. But I’m training for a fight, and I’m training to win, and the judges decisions are out of my hands,” said Malignaggi.
“Honestly, I’m 33 years old, and I’ve been doing this so long that I’m sick of worrying about judges. I just want to fight. I would be lying to you if I said I don’t sometimes give it some thought. But at the end of the day, I’m just sick of worrying about so many things that I have to focus on fighting and that’s it.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com