Exclusive Interview With Paulie Malignaggi - “I Can Win Rounds Against Any Fighter In The World”
By James Slater: “Magic Man” Paulie Malignaggi fully rejuvenated his boxing career with that superb, upset stoppage win over Vyachesav Senchenko this past Sunday in Ukraine, and the 31-year-old is now a two-weight world champ.
Article posted on 01.05.2012
The new WBA 147-pound king kindly took the time to speak with ESB earlier today.
Always a great interview, here is what Paulie, 31-4(7) had to say:
James Slater: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with Eastside Boxing, Champ! Belated congratulations on the excellent win on Sunday. Would you go as far as to rate the win over Senchenko as THE best win of your career?
Paulie Malignaggi: Thank you. I don’t know if I would rate it as the best win, but it’s definitely right up there. I think my win over Lovemore Ndou, the first fight, was better. People tend to forget it, but I dominated him at a time when no-one else ever had. People have dominated him since, but not before the fight when I beat him. I think that’s still my best performance. But as I say, this one is up there because there was a lot of pressure in this fight: going to another country and the possibility of getting robbed, and I overcame that.
J.S: A commentator quoted you before the fight as saying it would be sweet if you could become a two-time, two-weight world champ. Was the Senchenko win sweeter than the Ndou win?
P.M: I don’t think I truly appreciated it when I first became a world champion. I fully expected to do it, I was young then, and I kind of took it for granted when I did become world champion. Also, I didn’t really enjoy it. I felt empty when I lost the title and I yearned for another belt ever since. So now, with the right team around me and with a great trainer, it’s so much better. I can really enjoy it this time.
J.S: I wrote in my fight report that you destroyed Senchenko, and one guy posted how he never thought he’d read “destroyed” and “Malignaggi” in the same line; obviously having a go at your lack of devastating power. Yet you did destroy the guy………
P.M: You know, you’ve got to understand - and I’m not sure how many of the people who leave comments like that have actually boxed or had any kind of physical altercation at all - that ALL punches hurt. When you’re a concussive puncher you get called a hard puncher, but no punches tickle. When I hit you, I will hurt you, I will cut you and I will bruise you. In terms of destroying Senchenko, I think I beat him mentally. He was nervous at the press conference and I sensed no confidence from him. I broke him down mentally and physically. The body shots I landed really took a lot out of him. You can see, right before the stoppage, Senchenko looks at (ref) Steve Smoger, as if to say, ‘stop the fight already.’ I broke him down in every way.
J.S: Do you feel better than ever as a welterweight?
P.M: Well, the last two years at 140, it was brutal making weight. It was hell on earth for the Juan Diaz and Amir Khan fights. At 147, it’s still hard but I feel so much better. I’m not the biggest welterweight around, but I’m still a very good boxer at the weight. Skills pay the bills and I can win rounds against any fighter in the world. And, like I say, I may not get actual KO’s, but I can get TKO’s. I feel I’d have got more stoppages at 140, similar to the two I’ve had at welterweight, if not for my bad hands.
J.S: You’re right back at elite level, and in a great, great weight class. Is it too soon for you to have an idea of what you may do next?
P.M: It is really too soon. On Twitter, all kinds of fighters have been calling me out, and the media have put a lot of names out there. I want to let this win settle in first - and also they haven’t sent me my belt yet (laughs). I’m going to the big fight this weekend in Las Vegas, and I’m going to enjoy that and the possibilities that are out there for me. I’m excited and I want to continue to fight the best fighters in the world. I’m a much more well-known entity now: everyone knows Paulie Malignaggi and now I have another world title. I’m excited about the future.
J.S: In the U.K, Kell Brook and his promoter have called you out. Have you any interest at all in that fight?
P.M: I’m not going to shoot down any names. I know what it’s like to be a young up-and-comer like Brook, who wants to become a world champion. I know what it’s like to be in his shoes. I could definitely make a defence against Kell. He’s a great fighter and I think Great Britain should be proud of having him.
J.S: You looked as good as ever against Senchenko. At age 31, how many more fights do you plan on having?
P.M: I’m excited however long the ride lasts. The plan is still to go no longer than another two, maybe three years. This is all kind of like bonus time right now, as so many people never thought I’d become world champion again. I’m going to make the most if it.
J.S: Thanks so much for you time, Paulie. Just finally, you mentioned the big fight this Saturday in Vegas - and I’m going so maybe I’ll see you there! - what is your pick?
P.M: Yeah, maybe I’ll run into you. I think Cotto has a good chance. I have to favour Floyd Mayweather of course, but I think this fight might be the last fight where Mayweather could lose. If he doesn’t lose to Cotto, I don’t think Mayweather will ever lose - not even to Pacquiao who I think he easily defeats. But Cotto is a live underdog.
J.S: Thanks again. You’ll probably be spending a lot of time signing autographs in Vegas, and well deserved too!
P.M: Okay, cheers.
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