Malignaggi Wants Khan, Then Hatton Rematch - Could "The Magic Man" Pull Off Both Wins?

by James Slater - All set to face Britain's WBA light-welterweight champion Amir Khan on May 15th in his hometown of New York in what will be Khan's U.S debut, "Magic Man" Paulie Malignaggi has made no secret of the fact he intends to use a win over Khan to get to the man he really wants - another Brit in Ricky Hatton!

Hatton, intending to fight again in the summer, beat the former IBF 140-pound ruler on an 11th-round retirement win back in November of 2008, and the skilled New Yorker told The Daily Star how that loss has bothered him ever since.. Claiming his then trainer, Buddy McGirt, was the real reason for the loss, due to how McGirt had drastically changed his style of fighting, the 29-year-old who is 27-3(5) admits he's been unable to "swallow" the loss; the only stoppage loss of his pro career.

"My ultimate goal is to get Ricky [Hatton]," Malignaggi told The Daily Star. "The competitor in me will not allow me to swallow that loss. I feel after 30 fights that I have only lost to one fighter who is better than me, Miguel Cotto. Even though Ricky beat me I knew it wasn't me.

"After I lost to Ricky they should have been looking at my corner and saying, 'What a destruction trainer Buddy McGirt has done to Paulie Malignaggi in the two years he has had with him.' Ricky should send a Christmas card to Buddy every year blessing him for the fact that he got to fight Manny Pacquiao and make that last payday."

If it wasn't for the fact that Malignaggi bounced back so impressively in those two fights with the tough Juan Diaz (winning both fights, yet, thanks to an acknowledged bad decision, only the return fight in December of last year officially) his complaints about the Hatton fight could be well and truly dismissed. But there WAS a major alteration in the slickster's ring approach under the guide of McGirt. Maybe, just maybe, Malignaggi, having re-found his old style and approach, is on the verge of beating Khan and then landing and winning a return with Hatton. Sure, that would be some success story, but it could happen!

Although Malignaggi admits he very much has "The Hitman" on his mind, he is also not overlooking 23-year-old Khan in any way.

"I don't want to overlook Amir, though," he continued. "He has a lot of weapons at his disposal. Amir has a lot more talent and quality than Ricky, but I don't see him beating me. Amir is fighting a much better Paulie Malignaggi than Ricky did in November 2008."

Though Khan, the more powerful fighter of the two by a long way, will likely start favourite in May, Malignaggi, with his own speed along with his greater experience at top level, cannot be written off in any way. If "The Magic Man" can find a way to avoid and/or nullify Khan's punching power and get into a groove that allows him to win the boxing match we almost certainly have in store for us on May 15th, the importance of the win could maybe make the returning Hatton want to risk a second fight with him.

Of course, all bets are off if he loses to Khan, but something tells me today's version of Paul Malignaggi beats today's version of Ricky Hatton.

Article posted on 05.03.2010

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