You’ve got to hand it to Paulie Malignaggi. After 13 years as a prizefighter and having won world titles in two weight divisions he has gotten more out of himself and his career than anyone thought possible. But one thing about the “Magic Man” as he is known, is that he has always believed in himself. That’s the one theme that resonates – no matter what anyone else has to say – Paulie Malignaggi believes in himself.
So as he prepares to challenge IBF welterweight titlist Shawn Porter this Saturday night in Washington, D.C. it’s the same old story for him. Despite coming off a signature win over Zab Judah only four months ago, Malignaggi is the betting underdog. Few give him a chance to defeat the undefeated Porter and it will be considered a major upset if he does. On top of that, the fight was put together at the last minute which really gave Malignaggi little time to prepare and get into championship condition.
“Porter is going to be a tough fight, but I’m very confident in my preparation,” said Malignaggi on Wednesday. “We’re going to be ready and we know he brings a rough and tumble style, a very physically demanding style and a fast pace. I don’t expect an easy night. He brings pressure and he knows how to take you out of your element.”
For Malignaggi, who is becoming as well known for his insightful boxing commentary on the Showtime network and other platforms as he is for being a championship fighter, it’s another chance to prove the critics wrong. He will be awarded the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism at the annual Boxing Writers Association of America dinner being held this year in Las Vegas on May 1. All the years in the fight game have given Malignaggi an up close look at how the business is run and the chance to view fights from ringside has also given him a bird’s eye view of styles and match-ups.
“I think at the end of the day with Porter, boxing-wise, I have more talent,” says Malignaggi. “It’s just a matter of being able to deal with his style. By being rough like he is it takes you out of your rhythm. Porter is a handful to deal with.”
The betting odds are currently 2 ½ - 1 in Porter’s favor. Porter is only 26-years-old with an undefeated record of 23-0-1, 14 KOs so Malignaggi holds a big advantage in experience and slick boxing ability. In his last two bouts the 33-year-old Malignaggi faced Adrien Broner and Zab Judah in impressive performances. He beat Judah easily and dropped a very close split-decision to Broner who was still undefeated at the time.
“We’re going to implement the proper steps and follow the steps,” explains Malignaggi about how he will deal with Porter. “We’re going to implement the game plan to neutralize him. I’ve got my nose to the ground and I’m pushing forward.”