BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The increased intensity in the trash talk by Zab Judah’s for tonight’s friendly clash with fellow two-division titlewinner Paulie Malignaggi includes Judah’s assertion that he is a more authentic Brooklynite than Malignaggi, whom he will face at Barclays Center on Showtime.
Judah (42-8, 29 knockouts), 36, is an African American from the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, and Malignaggi (32-5, 7 KOs), a 33-year-old Italian-American from Bensonhurst.
“We come from two different sides of Brooklyn, but I am going to be the new ambassador for Bensonhurst, Brownsville and for all of Brooklyn,” said Judah, a Las Vegas resident who has vowed to permanently retire Malignaggi to his other careers as a commentator for Showtime, Fox Sports 1 and England’s Sky Television boxing broadcasts.
“Every part of the situation, I’m the king of the situation. I don’t think that Paulie was even born here. He came over here when he was six months old, I mean, you’ve got to be authentic, and he don’t have that authenticity. So when you go to his birth certificate, it don’t say nothing about Brooklyn on there. I’ve never seen his birth certificate, but mine says ‘Brownsville, Brooklyn.’”
Malignaggi said he was born in Brooklyn before moving with his mother back to Siracusa, Sicily, when he was six months old.
“I’m born in Brooklyn, but I have lived in Italy. I lived in New Jersey for some years. I was born in Brooklyn, and I moved back to Italy when I was six months old, and I came back to Brooklyn when I was 6 years old,” said Malignaggi, who didn’t learn to speak English until he was in the first grade, and who currently speaks fluent Italian and Spanish.
“I stayed in Brooklyn until I was 10. From the age of 10-to-15, I lived in New Jersey, and from the age of 15-to-25, I was in Brooklyn. I moved to Florida for a little while and then I lived in Los Angeles, and now, I’m back in Brooklyn. So I’m Brooklyn, and I was born down the street at the [University Hospital of Brooklyn at] Long Island College Hospital. But now, Zab lives in Las Vegas, and I’m in New York, so at I’m at least in the state.”
Malignaggi will be at Barclays for his third straight fight, the last, being June’s split-decision loss to Adrien Broner, who dethroned Malignaggi as WBA welterweight titleholder.
Malignaggi said that Judah’s talk is not affecting his determination to win.
“Regardless of all of that, I’m not at all surprised that Zab turned up the rhetoric. At days end, I know that I’m prepared for Saturday night and that I’m prepared to win on Saturday night. So when the bell rings, all I see across from me is a body. It’s not about, ‘oh, I hate this guy,’ or, ‘I love this guy,’ or ‘I respect this guy,’ or, ‘I don’t respect this guy,’” said of Judah, who has vowed to retire him permanently to his other careers as a commentator for Showtime, Fox Sports 1 and England’s Sky Television boxing broadcasts.
“This stuff that he’s saying right here hypes the fight, and sometimes you get mad, sometimes, you’re respectful. But when I’m in the ring, and that bells about to ring, and I look across the ring, and I’m hopping up and down, that’s a body across the ring. I don’t see a name, I don’t see a person, I don’t see a color. I see a body, and I have to perform against that body. You can’t go into a fight like this without that edge, without that mean streak, and without that focus 100 percent in your mind. You can’t waste that two, three months of training and then s–t the bed on fight night.”
Judah was last at Barclays Center in April, when he rose from an eighth-round knockdown during a close unanimous-decision loss to RING, WBA and WBC 140-pound champion Danny Garcia.
The winner of Judah-Malignaggi will be awarded an official City Championship of Brooklyn belt.
“I’m happy to be here. This is my home. This my office. This is where I want to campaign at,” said Judah. “I mean, it’s almost like when [President Barack] Obama went in, and he had his inauguration, and he raised his hands up. Well, on Saturday night, that’s going to be my inauguration as the new King of Brooklyn.”
Photo / Maddie Meyer-Golden Boy Promotions/Getty Images