Junior Witter Wants Shot At Paulie Malignaggi

By James Slater: You can add Britain’s Junior Witter to the list of fighters who want a shot at newly crowned WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi. 38-year-old Witter made a small piece of boxing history this past Saturday night, in becoming the oldest-ever British welterweight champion. The talented switch-hitter out-pointed Colin Lynes in a what was a must-win fight for the former WBC 140-pound boss.

Witter, one of the most experienced fighters in the world today, has been written off a number of times (most notably after he remained on his stool after the 8th-round of his August 2009 fight with Devon Alexander) yet he keeps on rolling. “The Hitter” is now aiming for another world title shot - this one against new WBA 147-pound king Malignaggi.

“I want to go onwards and upwards,” Witter told The Bradford Telegraph. “The European and Commonwealth titles are realistic, and then I’m looking to go for the world title next year. The fight I want definitely want right now is Malignaggi. That would be perfect for me.

“He’s good and tricky and a counter-puncher as well, but I’d be too strong.”

Though a Malignaggi-Witter clash would be unlikely to produce too many fireworks, an intriguing chess-match type affair that would delight the purists would be almost guaranteed. Both guys have great skills and both men have fast hands and reflexes. As for Witter, 39-5-2(22) being too strong for “The Magic Man,” I’m not so sure about that. Malignaggi sure looked strong, dominant and even powerful against Senchenko last time out.

Realistically, to use Witter’s choice of word when discussing his future, I can’t see this fight happening. Malignaggi simply has too many other, more exciting and more lucrative options. There is talk of the New Yorker making his first defence at the new Barclays Arena in New York, and everyone from Devon Alexander to Kell Brook to Dmitriy Salita has called him out. Why then, would Malignaggi entertain the idea of coming to the U.K to fight Witter (unless Junior is willing to travel to the U.S and even then there would be no clamour to see him fight Paulie)?

Witter has done well to last as long as he has and to have rejuvenated his career with the win over Lynes, and he is deserving of some bigger fights. But while I agree with Witter that the European and Commonwealth belts are realistic options for him, I can’t see a world title shot coming for him unless he becomes some title holder’s mandatory challenger.

Simply put, Malignaggi, and all the other alphabelt champs at 147, have bigger fish to fry.

Article posted on 15.05.2012

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