Exclusive Interview With ďThe Magic Man,Ē Paulie Malignaggi - ďBoth The Morales And The Maidana Fights Interest MeĒ

By James Slater: Reading todayís boxing website headlines, I came across the possibility of Paulie Malignaggi facing a soon-to-move-up-to 147 Marcos Maidana. With whispers also suggesting ďThe Magic ManĒ - now 3-0 in his 147-pound campaign - could face Erik Morales next, I called up the New Yorker to see what he had to say on matters.

Iím pleased to be able to say how 30-year-old Paulie, 30-4(6) overall, was kind enough to take the time to speak with me:

James Slater: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me, Paulie - itís always great to be able to speak with you. There is quite a lot of news about you on the internet: with talk of you maybe fighting Erik Morales or Marcos Maidana next. Whatís your take on this, Champ? I read you called out Maidana?

Paulie Malignaggi: Iím excited about the possibilities, I really am. Iím so happy I signed with Golden Boy. Because of them Iíve been able to rebuild and get back in title position again with those three wins. Morales, heís rejuvenated his own career just lately, and heís won the WBC [140-pound] belt. And I thought, in L.A, where the weather is warmer, maybe I could get back down to 140 again and not have to kill myself to do it. And Marcos Maidana, he said he was looking for a February opponent and I made it clear Iím available. You know, I like to test myself with fights like this. I want to fight the best. And Golden Boy can make these fights, because they always bring the best together. Maidana always brings it and I want to be in that kind of a test. So either fight; Iím interested in one or the other.

J.S: I read initially that you may be facing Morales in December, but then I read about you and Maidana possibly for February. How soon would you like to fight again? You just fought in October.

P.M: We spoke with Golden Boy, my team and I, and the Morales fight was never going to be in December; it was going to be the fight after that - Morales was going to have a fight in Mexico, and Iíd fight him after that. I read how Maidana needed a February fight, and I said I was available. Like I say, both fights interest me.

J.S: If you could click your fingers and make one fight of the two happen, which would it be?

P.M: Iíd maybe lean towards the Morales fight, seeing how he has the WBC title. Iím not that crazy about going back down to 140, because when I fought Khan, I was so weak after making the weight. My energy levels were so low in that fight; I was drained. But that WBC belt could tempt me, and in the warm weather in L.A - and I would also hire a nutritionist - Iíd maybe take it. But to make weight the way I used to; Iíll never do that ever again! I guess I got away with it for a while, but at age 30, I have to have my strength after having made weight. There was a time when I would make weight and then just have to go back to the hotel room to sleep. And I need my legs, my stamina in a fight.

J.S: Do you feel stronger up at welterweight? It sure looks like youíve kept your speed.

P.M: I wouldnít say I feel stronger; but I have more energy. I used to burn out making weight. Now, I do feel more energetic in a fight.

J.S: Speaking theoretically, how would you approach either fight? Morales first.

P.M: Well, you always have a game-plan. Against a guy like Morales, the obvious thing would be to box. But my heart gets in the way at times and I can end up getting in a war. But I can also adjust to whatís in front of me; by what I see [on the night]. And both fighters make a lot of adjustments during a fight - you know, 12-rounds is a long time.

J.S: And Maidana? Is it fair to say he would be the biggest puncher youíve ever faced?

P.M: Well, on that I guess Iíll only find out when weíre in the ring. Miguel Cotto hit very, very hard - Iím talking crazy hard! But Cotto had more skills, more technique - Maidana seems to be a more ruthless guy. He likes to out-man you in the fight. I donít like being out-manned and itís not so easy to out-man me. I take it as a personal challenge in a fight - to see who the better man is. And I think it would be a case of being mentally strong in there with Maidana. Heís awkward, but that does make him dangerous.

J.S: Both guys would struggle with your speed. Would speed be the key in your opinion?

P.M: My speed keeps me relevant; that and my chin. Guys know they have to worry about me because of my speed and my chin. The thing is, I donít want to have regrets over my career. Iíve fought some of the top guys of my time and Iíve tested myself against them; but I feel I have more to offer. I want more of the big, big fights. Iíve had fun in my career and I want more. I want to be able to look back on a lot of highlights.

J.S: Well, it sure would be a highlight, seeing you in there with Morales or Maidana! Where do you think either fight would take place? In the U.S or in Mexico or Argentina?

P.M: With the Morales fight, they talked about maybe Las Vegas. For Maidana, I think that fight would be big on the east coast [of America]. I have lots of fans there, and with Sergio Martinez and other Argentine fighters boxing there, there is a pretty big Argentine following there.

J.S: Itís been great speaking with you, Champ. Best wishes in getting either fight and for your next victory. Youíre heading off to the gym now?

P.M: Thanks a lot. Iím going to do a light run right now. Iíll be in Europe for three weeks, and then when I get back, I hope to have solid news on my next fight.

Article posted on 03.11.2011

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