Friday, March 24, 2023  |



Paul Malignaggi’s hometown comeback fight

He is an immensely proud man, stubborn as all heck, as many top-tier prizefighters are and Paulie Malignaggi will not exit the stage willingly, not without – you guessed it – a fight.
The Brooklyn native got whacked around in his last effort, against Shawn Porter, and despite the onset of a bit of graying around the temples and the realization that each birthday comes with it a bit of a bewildering and potentially distressing number attached to it (the last one was “34”), he ain’t done.

Paulie needs to know what he has left, needs to prove he still has the skills and will to compete; thus, the New Yorker, who has a cushy seat calling fights on Showtime and doesn’t “need” to fight, will glove up May 29, against Danny O’Connor, at Barclays Center.

Is he nervous to get back in there?

“I’m excited; it’s been awhile,” said the hitter, who last fought – and lost – in April of last year to Porter. “I feel confident; I’ve been in the gym when I’m in New York. I’ve helped Luis Collazo and Sadam Ali get ready for their fights with some sparring.”

So, the skills are there, the reflexes, etc.?

“Yeah, I feel like I shouldn’t waste what I have left,” he said.

What about the Massachusetts-based O’Connor; is he a threat?

“He can box, has some decent skills, had a good amateur career, but hasn’t been able to turn a corner in the pros. He will be motivated, this is a chance he’s waited for.”

You can attend the scraps or watch them on Spike TV; the card is topped by an Amir Khan-Chris Algieri clash.

Hey, is there an added element that old promoter Lou DiBella will promote the show? (Those two parted ways a few years back and have clashed some in the media but, as of late, have buried the hatchet and are more than cordial when they see each other.)

“True, I hadn’t thought about that,” said Malignaggi, noting that O’Connor had been promoted by DiBella but is now helmed by Murphy Boxing, out of Boston. “It’s just an opponent in front of me. I need to win and look good for me, not anyone else.”

DiBella too said past stuff is water unda da Brooklyn Bridge. “A long time ago, I learned that you don’t forget but you get over it,” he told me. “We see each other; we’re cool. It’s a good fight; there’s a New York-Boston thing, the Italian versus Irish thing. It’s promotable. It’s a fun fight!”

DiBella likes the value a fan can get watching this card and contrasts that with some other local cards with higher sticker prices. “It’s another good card in Brooklyn!”

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