Who’s Next For Paulie Malignaggi?
Just a few weeks ago, Paulie Malignaggi claimed a unanimous points victory over Zab Judah in the ‘Battle of Brooklyn’ at the Barclays Center. The ‘Magic Man’s speed and output, which included 122 landed jabs, was too much for veteran ‘Super’ Judah. So who’s next for Malignaggi?
Paulie, himself, has targeted the winner of WBA welterweight title contest between champion Adrien Broner and challenger Marcos Maidana, and immediately post fight made it clear he wanted Maidana next. Malignaggi lost his WBA title to Broner in a close points loss back in June and is keen to avenge the loss and get back the belt he calls “his.”
Many fans on social media said Shawn Porter would be a good opponent for Paulie, however, this fight can seemingly be ruled out for the time being, as the newly crowned champion has mandatory obligations against Britain’s Kell Brook.
Paulie would be an ideal opponent for the winner of that bout, although if Brook comes through, I’d expect him to go onto face Amir Khan, if Khan does indeed go on to fight and lose to WBC champion Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather in May 2014.
Fallen champion Devon Alexander might well end up in the mix if the more lucrative fights for Malignaggi don’t come to fruition, but I don’t see that one as a highly marketable fight.
Keith Thurman winning the WBA interim strap could pose as an option for Malignaggi, though it can be a difficult one to match since that fight may not make too much sense since Thurman is a KO artist and Paulie not so much. Not that Malignaggi has ever shirked from a challenge. I just don’t see this fight being a major draw since Thurman has many other options from Broner, Maidana, to Matthysse to name a few.
Robert Guerrero, an almost forgotten man at the moment, is after an opponent having apparently turned down a bout with the aforementioned Thurman. Guerrero would certainly provide a stern test to Malignaggi’s record of having never lost to a southpaw as a professional or an amateur.
Welterweight stars such as WBO champion Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez can all be ruled out due to the ‘cold war’ as all three fighters are under the Top Rank banner and HBO.
But the one name that stands out to me is Philadelphia’s unified light welterweight champion Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia. Garcia is looking to make the step up to 147lbs and I think Malignaggi would provide the perfect platform for his welterweight debut. Garcia and, particularly, his father and trainer Angel are big talkers and characters, as is Malignaggi, which would make for an entertaining prelude in terms of press conferences and the weigh in. Now that Malignaggi is signed to Al Haymon, I can see this fight being a likely option for both Paulie and Danny.
It’s a fight that is made for the Barclays Center, highly marketable and, stylistically, I think it would make for a decent fight; both are decent technical boxers, Garcia has great power, but on the other hand, Malignaggi has a great chin.
Whatever the case, Paulie’s big win has left him with quite a number of options, revitalising the 33-year-old’s career, which he thought might be over after his loss to Broner in June 2013. It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out and I’m sure at the start of the year, we’ll begin to hear a lot more on what the New Year will hold for our favourite fighters.
– Martin Perry / @MartinPez
Contributor for www.BehindTheGloves.com