It is perhaps seemingly ironic that Paulie Malignaggi, a man who suffered with chronic hand pain during his career, a man who broke his hand a number of times, is to fight bare-knuckle soon. Or is it? The current bare-knuckle practitioners insist the sport has a bad rap and the fact that you punch with hands that are not protected by padded boxing gloves demands that you perfect the technique on how to punch correctly. There is an art to it, defenders of bare-knuckle fighting tell us, and there are actually less injuries in bare-knuckle boxing than there are in regular gloved boxing.
Anyway, “Magic Man” Malignaggi, a former two-time world champ, has signed a two-year deal with Bare Knuckle FC and he has called out “any MMA fighters that want to stop trolling and get in there and do it.” Malignaggi stated that “I don’t think people understand the accuracy a pro boxer has,” and that he will “knock you the f**k out” if you agree to face him in a bare-knuckle bout. Top of Paulie’s hit-list is of course MMA star Conor McGregor, a man with whom the former 140 and 147 world titlist has a well-documented history with.
“Conor the coward with 2-minute rounds I’m sure even YOU can’t quit at this! Time to settle it!” Malignaggi wrote in twitter a few hours ago.
So can Malignaggi make it as a bare-knuckle brawler, or has the skilled boxer made a big mistake? It could prove interesting finding out, that’s for sure. It also remains to be seen whether or not McGregor takes the bait and agrees to fight Malignaggi. But how much has Malignaggi, 36-8(7) got left at age 38 (39 in November, so before his two-year deal with Bare Knuckle FC is up)?
Last seen getting stopped by Britain’s Sam Eggington in an entertaining fight back in March of 2017, Paulie had already carved out a distinguished career as a commentator and it seemed he was done fighting. Now it seems clear Malignaggi still has the urge to fight. A man who knows his boxing history, Malignaggi is perhaps a big fans of the great John L. Sullivan, the last bare-knuckle heavyweight champion.
This move by Malignaggi has come as a pretty big surprise, though. To say the least.