In his conversation with Betway, Malignaggi made several predictions: he believes Vasiliy Lomachenko will emerge victorious in the Saturday match against Devin Haney; he opines that Haney has not yet faced any top-tier competition; he suggests that Francis Ngannou would be wise to steer clear of Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua; and finally, he expresses the view that Dana White ought to maintain a distance from the boxing world.
‘Lomachenko beats Haney’
Malignaggi: “I pick Lomachenko, I haven’t seen enough of Haney yet against that elite level competition.
He’s got talent but in order to see how much that talent can actually blossom, you need to see it tested against a higher level of fighter in order to see what else is there. We know the talent is there.
“We imagine there’s more behind what we’re seeing because he is so athletic and gifted in so many ways. But we haven’t seen him at that higher level to understand if there’s any more to him, or if it’s just an athletic talent that’s just an illusion. The reason I pick Lomachenko is because I think Haney has had the opportunities to have these kinds of opponents, but he’s chosen to fight the weaker opponents instead.”
‘Haney hasn’t fought elite opposition yet’
“There were guys like Richard Commey hanging around in that area. There were guys like Jermaine Ortiz hanging around in that area. But Haney, instead, chose to fight shot fighters like Linares and Gamboa to build up his resume against names who were, let’s face it, totally shot.
“Linares got knocked out by Pablo Cano in 2017 in one round. That just goes to show you the level of shot that Linares was when Haney fought him. He dominated but still got into trouble late in the fight. And Gamboa is more shot than him. It leaves some curiosity.”
‘Lomachenko is a hero to come back from war heartbreak’
“Whereas Lomachaenko picks to fight these guys. And he’s still choosing to fight a higher level of opposition. Even in coming back from injury, coming back from the devastation of war in his country, coming back from his longest lay off out of the gym in his career, he’s still still choosing tougher opponents.
“When I look at the level of opposition and the enthusiasm Lomachenko has to fight the high level of opposition. And the lack of enthusiasm which I’ve seen Haney try not to fight the highest level of opposition. It leads me to question Haney. It makes you start to wonder if Haney believes in himself as much as he says he does. So that’s why I end up picking Lomachenko on points.
“Lomachenko has beaten guys like this that he knows he’s the best fighter Haney’s ever fought, while he knows Haney is nowhere near the best fighter that he’s ever thought, and I think that that also gives you a little bit of a psychological edge.”
‘Ngannou should avoid Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua and fight Chris Arreola’
“I’d like to see him with maybe a guy who’s a little bit past his prime, but interesting enough to sell like Chris Arreola – he’s a personality, he’s got heart, he still fights his butt off. I think Ngannou is strong, but still out of place inside a boxing ring. I respect Ngannou for standing up for himself and for other fighters. Using his big name to try to make a difference for the fighters, and try to make a difference for himself too.
“McGregor has got such a big name but he’s never ever tried to help any fighters and try to change the landscape and economics of MMA, and I think that’s sort of a shame. But I respect Ngannou at least for trying to play his part, and also for holding his ground. So I’d watch him in boxing, I’d support him. Joshua and Fury would be too high level though, that would be too much.”
‘Dana White should stay away from boxing’
“Dana White tells the truth a maximum ten percent of the time. I don’t think he has the balls to come into boxing because he would get run out of boxing. Boxing is not like MMA where fighters are signed to exclusive deals. You’re signed to an exclusive promoter in boxing, but fights can go across the board. A Top Rank fighter can fight a Matchroom fighter. It’s hard to do but it happens. A PBC fighter can fight a Top Rank fighter, we saw that with Wilder and Fury.
“You can make those match ups across those borders. In MMA you cannot, so it’s easier for Dana to make all the fights in-house and make all the fighters fight one another, but in boxing you’re going to have to pay the guys better because there are options to go to bigger and better promoters. I think the entire economics of boxing is different to MMA and it’s the reason boxers are able to make so much more money.
“I know Dana would be out of his element in boxing, he’s not that bright, he’s a Tae Bo instructor, he’s not some kind of marketing genius. He also fell into a lot of money with the Fertitta brothers, and they made it work when they took the WWE model and made everything exclusive in their sport, and they bought out all the competition. But again, he had to have the Fertitta money to buy out all that competition and then changed the way the sport works.
“Fighters could go across to different promotions back then. So they changed the landscape because of the money that was behind him. You cannot create that kind of money in boxing. These guys all have a lot of money, so you’re not going to be the guy who comes into town and creates that kind of money push. You need that kind of money push, and then an astronomical amount more if you’re going to do what you did in the UFC in boxing, it is almost impossible. There are too many major TV contracts behind these promoters. They’re too powerful. You can’t get them out and create a monopoly like you have in MMA. This is probably in the 90% percentile of things Dan White lies about – coming into boxing.
“As opposed to the 10 percentile where he tells the truth. It’s both because he doesn’t have the balls to do it because he knows he can’t, and because he’s not intelligent enough, a Tae Bo instructor could never come into boxing and compete with these high-powered lawyers like to like Bob Arum and these high-powered street guys who’ve had success like Don King, and these these intelligent businessmen like Eddie Hearn.
“They have a background in intelligence and Dana is not intelligent enough to deal with that kind of competition. He’s thriving in MMA because it was never run by that intelligent enough amount of people. I don’t see Dana actually making a push in boxing, but I think he knows what to say. The reason 90 percent of what he says is a lie is because it makes crazy headlines.”