Can ‘Magic Man’ Paulie Malignaggi pull rabbit out of hat vs. Shawn Porter?
Paulie Malignaggi plans to concentrate on training for his April 19 bout with IBF 147-pound beltholder Shawn Porter after working as a ringside commentator for tonight's "Golden Boy Live!" event headined by unbeaten middleweight Julian Williams against Freddy Hernandez on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes from the House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts.
A 33-year-old two-division titleholder, Malignaggi (33-5, 7 knockouts) worked his latest Showtime gig on Saturday in advance of facing Porter (23-0-1, 14 KOs), calling the action during RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia's majority decision over Mauricio Herrera in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
Malignaggi, a Showtime and Fox Sports ringside boxing analyst, will be honored as the Boxing Writers Association of America's Sam Taub Award winner for "Excellence in Broadcast Journalism" at its annual dinner in May.
"I'm going to be in Boston and, in fact, I'm up here now. Tomorrow night is the last one before the fight," said Malignaggi during a Sunday interview with RingTV.com.
"After that, I'll start focusing only on training. I've been training already, so I'm not in bad shape but I want to give myself a good five weeks to get into higher gear."
Promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, Malignaggi will meet Porter in a Showtime-televised support of a 175-pound title unification main event between the IBF's Bernard Hopkins and the WBA's Beibut Shumenov at the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C. The card will also include Peter Quillin's third defense of his WBO middleweight title against Lukas Konecny.
"I'll be in New York, starting on Tuesday. [Trainer] Eric Brown has been there with me for about a week-and-a-half," said Malignaggi. "He's also training Peter Quillin, who will also be in New York."
Malignaggi rose from a second-round knockdown in his last fight to score a unanimous decision over ex-beltholder Zab Judah. In the victory over Judah, Malignaggi restored his “Magic Man” nickname while rebounding from a split-decision loss last June to Adrien Broner, who dethroned Malignaggi as WBA 147-pound titlist.
"I haven't fought there as a pro but I fought in D.C. in the summer of 2000 as an amateur in the Mayors' Cup. It was an invites-only tournament where they invited the top people from New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, places like that. It was at Howard University," said Malignaggi.
"I don't know what the odds are but I think that there are a lot of people who think that Porter's going to win the fight. So nothing would feel greater than winning the world title as the underdog. But I was the underdog in my last fight as well against Zab, so I kind of relish the role."
Malignaggi's loss to Broner was his first loss since falling by 11th-round TKO to Amir Khan as a junior welterweight at Madison Square Garden in May of 2010.
Malignaggi had won the WBA belt in April of 2012 with a ninth-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko, who represented Malignaggi’s fifth straight victory as a welterweight during a run including two knockout wins.
Prior to facing Broner, Malignaggi had earned a split-decision victory over Mexico City’s Pablo Cesar Cano at Barclays Center in October of 2012.
Porter, 26, is coming off a unanimous decision, dethroning southpaw Devon Alexander during which he dictated a physical fight that left both men bleeding from cuts above their eyes. Porter ended Alexander’s winning streak at four consecutive bouts since falling to Tim Bradley, the current WBO 147-pound beltholder.
A former junior middleweight managed and trained by his father, Kenny, Porter’s defeat of Alexander followed last September’s unanimous decision over ex-beltholder Julio Diaz that made up for their December 2012 draw.
"Winning would rank right up there. I think that winning this fight against Porter would just be another example of me pulling a rabbit out of a hat because people keep counting me out," said Malignaggi.
"So this would be big. It would feel good. I can't say that I wouldn't have a great feeling. Winning my third world title would really feel good. I like the challenge. I like the feeling of being in the position of having to prove people wrong."
Tickets are priced at $25, $50, $75, $200 and $300 and are on sale now and available online at http://www.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling (800) 745-3000. The D.C. Armory Box Office will be open on fight night only from 3 p.m.-10 p.m., ET.