BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Prior to the post-fight press conference following Saturday night’s unanimous decision at Barclays Center over fellow Brooklynite and two-division titlewinner Zab Judah, Paulie Malignaggi received a call from boxing advisor Al Haymon, with whom he informed RingTV.com that he planned to sign with in October.
“I spoke to Al on the phone after the fight and he said, ‘big things for you. That’s what he told me,” said Malignaggi, who is not yet signed with Haymon. “I’ll know more in the next couple of weeks. But we’re going to talk.”
Signing with Haymon would add Malignaggi (33-5, 7 knockouts) to a seemingly endless list of talented fighters in and around the 147-pound division, including Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Devon Alexander, Lucas Matthysse, Keith Thurman, Marcos Maidana, Austin Trout, Andre Berto, Peter Quillin, Erislandy Lara, and Deontay Wilder.
“Back in the day, you would always hear that fighters were thanking Don King when they would win fights. They were always thanking Don King,” said Malignaggi. “But then, they were always talking s__t behind his back. I know Al’s fighters. Nobody ever complains about being with Al Haymon. They’re all happy, publicly, and privately.”
Malignaggi had last been in the ring for a split-decision loss to Broner, who dethroned Malignaggi as WBA welterweight beltholder in June. Judah was coming off a unanimous decision loss to RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion Garcia.
Malignaggi said that he was so disappointed following the loss to Broner that he considered retirement until hearing from Haymon afterward.
“So that’s something that, when I had decided after the last fight that I don’t need this in my life, and I don’t need the frustration, and you get a call for an opportunity to work with a guy like that, and to eliminate those headaches and to make things happen and to get those big fights, listen, I was frustrated, because, I thought that I won the fight,” said Malignaggi.
“But if I can eliminate some of the headaches and focus on my training, that makes fighting a little bit more enjoyable. It was kind of a no-brainer. I went from not wanting to fight again to ‘Okay, let’s give it a shot.’ With this win tonight, I’m glad that I did it, and I’ve got to thank Al and Sam [Watson] for that. If I didn’t get that call, I don’t think that I would have fought here tonight.”
Malignaggi had won the belt in April of 2012 with a ninth-round stoppage of Vyacheslav Senchenko, who represented Malignaggi’s fifth straight victory as a welterweight after moving up from the 140-pound division. The victory over Judah was Malignaggi’s best performance since he beat the previously unbeaten Ukrainian.
“We wanted to take [Judah] to school,” said Malignaggi’s Los Angeles-based trainer Eric Brown. “We wanted to make him fight when he didn’t want to fight. Our mission was to make him fight our fight, and not necessarily to go for the knockout.
“As long as we controlled the tempo and the way that the fight was working out, we knew that he we could beat him. I think this is way up there with the Senchenko fight, but the Senchenko fight was for the title, and we went into his back yard and we took it.”
Malignaggi desires a rematch with Broner (27-0, 22 KOs), and will be ringside as a Showtime commentator on Dec. 14 in San Antonio, Texas, when the 24-year-old makes the first defense of his belt against Maidana (34-3, 31 KOs), a 30-year-old puncher from Argentina.
“I would love to fight the winner. They’re fighting for the belt that belongs to me. It shouldn’t have been me and Zab Judah fighting tonight, it should have been me and Marcos Maidana,” said Malignaggi.
“Because he was the mandatory for the WBA title, and I should still be the champion, so I should be fighting Maidana. But they’ve given the title to Broner, so he gets to fight in my place. The title shouldn’t even be involved in that fight. That belt belongs to me, so I want a chance to win it back.”
Another bout Maliganggi would consider is one opposite Garcia (27-0, 16 KOs), a 25-year-old Philadelphia resident who unanimously decision Matthysse in September.
“Danny’s a solid world class fighter who has done a lot of great things in his career, and he’s a big 140-pounder, so I anticipated that Danny would be moving up to the welterweight division,” said Malignaggi.
“If the money is there, I have a lot of respect for Danny and his [outspoken] father [and trainer, Angel Garcia,] and I’m not going to argue with his father. Don’t expect that. I’m not going to get into that. It’s an interesting fight, as are a lot of other fights in the welterweight division.”
Video / Bill Emes
Photo / Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org