It’s a pretty thin fight schedule fight fans can look forward to this weekend and, aside from a pretty interesting card in Las Vegas on Sunday evening (June 23), that sees Guillermo Rigondeax take on Julio Ceja, as well as Jermell Charlo against Jorge Cota, it could be argued – and it is here – that the bare knuckle event that will go down in Florida is the most interesting and potentially exciting card this weekend.
Paulie Malignaggi will box his bare knuckle debut against former MMA fighter Artem Lobov (who has had just one bare knuckle fight himself; this being a bloody – and wholly entertaining – war of a win over Jason Knight), and fans are pretty split as to who will win. Fight fans are actually intrigued to see just what will happen when these two men, who absolutely, positively do not like each other, finally get it on.
In the build-up to the scheduled five-rounder, we’ve seen plenty of pushing and shoving, we’ve seen one guy (Paulie) crack the other over the head with a microphone, and we’ve seen one guy (Paulie again) spitting on his rival. We’ve also heard some trash-talk of the highest order. Malignaggi threatened to put Lobov in a coma, as well as punch him so much and beat him up so severely that his face “falls off,” while Lobov has vowed to put “the final nail in Malignaggi’s coffin.” Did I mention how these two cannot stand one another?
To add to the spice, MMA star and good friend of Lobov, Conor McGregor is expected to be in attendance for the fight on Saturday. It’s not hard to imagine the fun and games that could so easily ensue if “The Notorious” is in the house (good thing BKFC president David Feldman has assured us all there will be “ample security” on hand on the night).
As for the fight itself, well, anything could happen. Malignaggi says he is expecting an easy win, even going so far as to thank the “f*****g stupid” MMA fans that have allowed him to pick up such a good payday for what is in his mind a mismatch. But will it really be so easy? Lobov is as tough as can be, frighteningly so, and even if he does not have the boxing skills Malignaggi has (or had), this is a bare knuckle fight. How will Malignaggi react if he gets cut up and bruised? Will Paulie’s hands hold up?
There are a few match-ups on the under-card, but of most interest to boxing fans is the Randall Bailey-Daniel Santos fight; Bailey also having his bare knuckle debut.
It should be lively on Saturday, more than likely bloody, and hopefully at least one grudge will be settled.