Paulie Malignaggi: The Clown Prince Of Boxing

Joe OneillCorrespondent IIMay 12, 2010

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 22:  Paulie Malignaggi looks on during the news conference after losing to Ricky Hatton of England by 11th round TKO in their light-welterweight fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena November 22, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)
John Gichigi/Getty Images

Either you love Paulie Malignaggi or you hate him.

Chances probably hate him.

He's brash and obnoxious and talks with a thick Brooklyn accent dat makes yah dink he ma be kin duh retahded.

I happen to like Paulie Malignaggi.

He dresses like a combination of one of the Beastie Boys and a Spanish Matador.

In fact, boxing needs more characters like 'The Magic Man.'

You've just got to love a guy whose boxing trunks were so loose, the referee had to repeatedly pull them up, during a fight, so they wouldn't fall to his ankles.

You've got to love a guy who wore braid extensions that were so long they kept getting into his eyes, causing him to get hit repeatedly. Finally, his corner had to cut the braids.

Malignaggi is probably best known for saying there was "something suspicious" about Manny Pacquiao.

Perhaps Floyd Mayweather Jr. can get away with that innuendo, but not a soft hitting light welterweight with three losses in his last nine fights.

Saturday on HBO, Paulie is facing off against Amir "I can't get no respect in the UK so I came to America" Khan.

It should be a very, very good fight. These two guys don't seem to like each other very much. Khan is trained by none other than Freddie Roach, who didn't take too kindly to Malignaggi's comments about Pacquiao. Both guys don't hit very hard, but they're long and athletic and active.

There should be more action than in a Die Hard movie.

It's a wonder Paulie made it this far.

Back in December of 2008, he was knocked out by Ricky Hatton, who had been exposed by Floyd Mayweather Jr just eight months prior.

It was Malignaggi's second loss in six fights, his other a unanimous decision loss to Miguel Cotto in June of 2006.

Worse, Malignaggi looked horrible against Hatton. He stood in front of him, wasn't his usual active self, and just looked lost.

It was thought Malignaggi would fall by the wayside with the other 'coulda beens'.

Flash forward to August, 2009.

Juan "The Baby Bull" Diaz is an up and comer and thought to be the next darling of the sport. He needs a gimmee match against an easy opponent. Something to get his confidence back and give his hometown fans in Houston something to get excited about.

Enter Malignaggi—the proverbial sacrificial lamb.

Nobody thought he could win. I don't even think his trainer thought he had a snowflake's chance in hell of beating Diaz in Houston.

Well, he didn't get the decision, but he controlled and dominated the fight. In fact, truthfully, he was completely robbed.

And he let everyone know it at the post-fight interview.

In what could only be described as hilarious, Paulie is screaming into the microphone to f-ck Golden Boy and he knew he could never get a decision in Houston and the corrupt nature of boxing.

It went on for, like, five minutes.

So, Diaz agrees to a rematch, only this time in Chicago, in December of 2009.

And Paulie dominates him again.

Suddenly, he's back on top of the game and even being mentioned as a possible opponent for Floyd Mayweather Jr.

He doesn't get Mayweather, but he does get Amir Khan.

Amir is looked at as a comer in the light welterweight and welterweight divisions. He has a respectable 22-1 record. His lone loss coming in a freak 1st round knockout against journeyman Breidis Prescott back in September of 2008.

His signature win came in a fifth round knockout of Marco Antonio Barrerra in March of 2009. Most of his other opponents are no-name British pugs that nobody outside of Bolton has heard of.

This will be Khan's first time fighting out of the UK. Oddly enough, it will be at Madison Square Garden—Malignaggi's stomping grounds.

Apparently none of that scares Freddie Roach.

Roach, who wouldn't allow Khan to get into the ring with Marcos Maidana, happily agreed to the Malignaggi fight.

That should scare Malignaggi. Roach is notorious for sizing up fighters, figuring out their weaknesses, and lining up fights he's sure his guys can win.

Still, I can't count out Paulie. He has a big heart and he'll be playing to his hometown. I think Khan has more power, but I think Malignaggi can go the distance and take a decision.

Should be a great fight.


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