Paulie Malignaggi: ďI think Jose Miguel is sort of like a poor manís Miguel CottoĒ

by Geoffrey Ciani (Interviewed by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This weekís 119th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio (brought to you by CWH Promotions) featured an exclusive interview with former junior welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (28-4, 6 KOs) who is scheduled to face Jose Miguel Cotto (32-2-1, 24 KOs) this Saturday, April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Malignaggi who now trains at the Wild Card Gym spoke about his upcoming fight, his career, and also touched on various aspects of the current boxing landscape. Here are some excerpts from that interview:

How he feels about his upcoming matchup this Saturday against Jose Miguel Cotto:

ďI think itís cool, man. Itís a logical next step in getting me up the latter getting back me back towards my climb up to the top of basically the boxing rankings so to speak. I think it gets me closer to a welterweight title shot which is obviously the eventual goal here being in the welterweight division.Ē

On scoring his first knockout in more than 7 years against Michael Lozada in his first fight at welterweight back in December:

ďIt was cool, it was a cool. It was mostly the opponent I think more than anything else. I felt good, though. I felt all the work in the Wild Card paid off. I feel good with my trainer Eric Brown, but it was also a situation where I fought the weakest opponent Iíve fought in years. I mean for the most part Iíve been fighting world class fighters the past five years and when I hadnít been fighting world class fighters earlier in my career I was basically one-handed. So there was a reason I wasnít stopping those kinds of guys. If youíre not on my level Iím going to stop you. Even if I donít get you out of there with one shot, I mean if you just donít belong in the ring with me youíre going to be stopped unless I have an injury. I was healthy. I felt good and I sort of just overwhelmed my opponent really more than anything else. Once I got going, it took a couple of rounds and stuff to get acclimated and warmed up. I hadnít fought in seven months and I also had been out of the gym at first after the Khan fight for a few months. So it just felt good being back in the ring and getting a few rounds in and getting the stoppage.Ē

On whether he feels stronger and more comfortable now that he has moved up from 140 to 147:

ďYou know I just think itís a case of when you get to a certain age you canít punish your body the way you want to, the way you used to when you were younger. You just wonít recover in time. I was always able to do what I had to do to make weight no matter what I did, and to make the weight and still recover and be strong the next day come fight night. I just think as age came up, and I also think making the lighter weights for the Juan Diaz fights. I donít know what it did man, but I think it just punished my body so much that it almost like shocked my body because for the Khan I had just all kinds of trouble making 140 pounds. I just felt like I didnít recover the way that I wanted to. Not that Iím taking anything away from Khan. Heís a good fighter and he would have always been a difficult fight, but I just noticed that I just didnít recover after the weigh-in the way that I wanted to. Also I knew that it was going to be my last fight at 140 whether I won or lost. I had already told me team that even if I had beaten Amir, before the fight I said if I win this fight Iím not fighting at this weight anymore, I couldnít do it anymore to myself. So making 147 pounds I keep more energy. I feel good in the gym and I end up fighting at a lighter weight. When I was making 140 I was to the point where I was just taking all the good things I was doing in the gym away from myself because making weight was taking it away. Having said that, I think at 147 pounds I keep more of my energy up including having more spring and bounce in my legs which is what I need obviously. So in that way I feel good and I feel better fighting at 147 pounds.Ē

His views on Jose Miguel Cottoís fighting style:

ďJose Miguel is also not a big welterweight so itís kind of a logical next move after the Mike Lozada fight. I think Jose Miguel is sort of like a poor manís Miguel Cotto. You know they have very similar styles. Obviously they came up together because theyíre brothers, but I just feel like maybe heís not as strong. Heís a little rougher around the edges than his brother. Heís not as polished so to speak. Obviously his brother is a three division world champion. Heís not a world champion at all, so obviously thereís a reason for that. Miguelís probably a bit more polished and stuff, but you know I guess Iíll find out Saturday night. Like I said if Paulie Malignaggi is on any kind of level where I belong and where he belongs, Jose Miguel Cotto has to be disposed of and thatís the plan. Although I think heís going to be ready, I donít anticipate having any trouble with him.Ē

On what he is most looking forward to in this newest chapter of his career at welterweight:

ďJust basically I think just enjoying it more. You know itís been kind of stressing the last few years. I want to enjoy the last part of my career and I want to win a world title because I really, really didnít enjoy being a world champion last time. There was so many issues going on and I didnít look good the entire time. Iíve gone into it before, but I want to win a world title and actually be able to enjoy it because thatís supposed to be the best time of your career and I didnít get to enjoy it. I was stressed as to why I wasnít looking good and why I just could not put it together during those fights when I had the world title. I was to the point where I actually lost the Hatton fight. I think obviously Iíve gone into those things before as to why I believe that happened. I just wish I would have realized it sooner in my title run. So if I could have something out of the late part of my career, if I could really take something out of it, I would want to win a world title and enjoy the reign I had as a world champion for however long it lasted. Being world champion, besides the money, was probably the least enjoyable part of my career.Ē

On whether Amir Khan was better than he expected he would be:

ďHe wasnít better than I expected. He was exactly what I thought he was. Heís a quick, sharp boxer who I knew I was going to have trouble controlling range with because he fights in that way as well in terms of him liking to control the range like I do, but he had the height on me. So I donít think he surprised me as far as how good he was. I think I was expecting that kind of fighter. I just couldnít hang at all. I mean I remember going back after round two and looking the round card girl and sheís only on round three and Iím like, ĎGod, I got ten rounds of this to go? Iím dead alreadyí. And I had had a really good camp. I trained really well for the fight and I was looking good in camp. It came down to I got down to making the weight and it totally, totally destroyed me. Iím not going to take anything away from Amir because Amir can still fight. But Iíll tell you one thing the fight would have been a much better fight. Whether I would have won it or lost it, you would have had a much better competitive fight last May between me and Khan had I not had such an issue with the weight. Iím not going to tell you at all I would have won it. Iím not going to tell you I would have lost it. I donít know, but I did leave the ring feeling Khan was quality. There have been fights when Iíve left the ring that even if Iíve lost I didnít think that was a quality opponent, but Amir wasnít one of them. With Amir I left the ring still thinking he was quality, but just feeling like I didnít give myself the best chance to win you know?Ē

Regarding whom he views as the best of the bunch in the 140 pound weight class:

ďI think itís between Bradley and Khan. I think Bradley and Khan is a fight everybody wants to see and I think they both do a lot of things well, and itís just a matter of whoís going to be able to pull off their fight on fight night if they do get it on in the ring. I noticed Bradley is talented. Heís not the most talented guy, but he is talented but he also has this certain grit and determination to where he will not let a fight slip away. He will not let you beat him. So youíre going to also have to not let him outhustle you and be just as hungry as he is to win the fight. I noticed with Bradley a lot of the fights he wins, he wins them because he is hungrier than his opponent and he is willing to do more with his opponent. So I believe Amir is actually more talented than him, but is Amir going to match the hunger and tenacity that Bradley has? And thatís what makes the fight interesting in my eyes and Iím curious to see if thatís the case myself. As far as Zab and Alexander, theyíre stolid fighters. Theyíre solid fighters. Zab is a New York guy so Iíve known him for a long time and itís good to see a guy like that get himself back on top after a lot of people had written him off. He always possesses some kind of threat, some kind of danger because he has that veteran experience, and Alexander for the lack of heart that he showed he still has a lot of talent. So 140 pounds is still fun to watch, Iím just watching it as a fan now that Iím not involved.Ē

His views on the upcoming fight between Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz:

ďVictor may beat Andre. Thatís the kind of fight that sticks in my mind. I saw Andre was a 4 to 1 favorite, but I like that fight a lot. I think itís really a tossup kind of fight. Iím leaning a little bit towards Andre, but I wouldnít be surprised if Victor won the fight.Ē

On whether he believes Sugar Shane Mosley has a chance to beat Manny Pacquiao:

ďI think Shane, people are writing him off a bit too much. Heís coming off of two lackluster performances, but you have to understand who they were up against. Now is Shane in his prime? No! Heís 40 years old. Heís definitely not in his prime, but Shane is a guy whoís still a dangerous threat #1. #2 heís coming off fights where heís not going to look good against the opponents he fought. He fought Floyd Mayweather who is essentially the best at taking away what you do and making you look basically like your hands are tied behind your back which he did to Shane at a certain point. He just took away what Shane did best, but Floyd is a master boxer and thatís what he specializes in. Heís a defensive fighter. He takes away what you do best more than anything else. Sergio Mora is a guy who I donít believe itís possible to look good against one way or another. He has a confusing style, heís very awkward, heís successful at what he does, he knows how to do things his way, and nobody looks good fighting Sergio Mora. You canít tell me one guy who looked good fighting Sergio Mora. I mean Vernon Forrest in the rematch with Sergio beat him just with a jab. He basically kept it simple because he knew this guy was so complicated and so awkward to fight. So I donít blame Shane for that performance either. Now yeah, Shane Iíll admit he is not in his prime, but at the same time Manny Pacquiao is a guy who is successful by running through you or running over you so to speak. You know and I donít believe Shane Mosley is the kind of guy you could just run through that easily. Do you got to favor Pacquiao? Absolutely you got to favor Pacquiao! Heís a favorite in the fight right now and rightfully so based on what heís been doing. But I donít see Pacquiao as the kind of guy who takes anything away from you or scientifically beats you. Pacquiao just gets in there and runs right through you. He throws a lot of punches, he has an intense amount of energy, an intense style, and basically he runs through them. I donít see that happening with Shane that easily. You got to kind of outthink Shane. You canít just run through him. I donít think heís going to let you do that unless age has caught up to him that bad. Still, besides the Mayweather and Mora fights where they have styles that donít make you look good, Shane is not going to let Manny just run right through him. You got top favor Manny but I think itís a good fight. I think itís a better fight than Marquez III. I think Pacquiao-Marquez III is a waste of time! Pacquiao has totally outgrown the weight class and Marquez is not on his level at this point anymore. Heís a talented fighter but at his own weight. I think Mosley is the most dangerous guy outside of Floyd Mayweather that Manny Pacquiao can face right now unless you expect Pacquiao to move up in weight again, which realistically how many weight classes do you want the guy to move up? I mean there are 17 weight classes in boxing and heís been through 10 of them already.Ē

On how he expects his fight against Jose Miguel Cotto to play out:

ďI expect to outbox him and I expect to impose my game plan on him. Weíre working on a lot of good things. Iíve always had a lot of speed. One thing I noticed about the Wild Card Gym is itís a very offensive minded gym and it kind of translates more into your style. Iíve always been a defensive minded fighter but I think the sparring and the work in the Wild Card kind of makes you become more offensive in and of itself. Unless I get a hand injury or something, you can expect to see me throw a lot of good combinations and outboxing Jose Cotto. I feel like I should have trouble with him. I think heís going to come ready and I think heís solid in his own right, but heís not a guy I should have trouble with. I donít expect to have trouble with him and Iím not even saying that disrespectfully. I just feel like Iím at a different level than Jose Cotto.Ē


For those interested in listening to the Paulie Malignaggi interview in its entirety, it begins approximately twelve minutes into the program.



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Article posted on 08.04.2011

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