Malignaggi faces unbeaten Garcia in legacy bout at Barclays on Aug. 1
Brooklyn’s Paulie Malignaggi flirted with retirement, decided to give it another go and then found himself unable to step into the ring last month for his homecoming comeback bout due to a cut suffered during training for his May 29 fight at the Barclays Center against Danny O’Connor.
The end result of all that turbulence?: A golden opportunity to defend his home turf against a higher-profile opponent, re-establish himself as one of this era’s most successful prize fighters and perhaps even earn a place in the Pro Boxing Hall of Fame.
That is, of course, if the Bensonhurst native somehow manages to hand undefeated Danny “Swift” Garcia (30-0, 17 KOs) of Philadelphia his first-ever loss come Aug. 1 at Downtown’s state-of-the-art arena as the Premier Boxing Champions Series once again visits our fair borough.
“Although I have a ton of respect for Danny and his father Angel, both for what they’ve accomplished in the ring as well as the bond they share as father/son, I, like them, am a competitor through and through and in this sport it’s all about testing yourself against the elite,” said Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KOs), who will be making his first appearance in the ring since suffering a knockout loss to Shawn Porter in Washington D.C., back in April 2014.
Malignaggi’s career has been speckled with brilliance – he is a two-division world champion with significant victories over the likes of Zab Judah, Vyacheslav Senchenko and Lovemore N’dou – and notable defeats against Adrien Broner, Amir Khan and Miguel Cotto.
“The Magic Man” will be making his fourth Barclays Center appearance, having scored a split-decision victory here over Pablo Cesar Cano as the co-feature to Garcia’s headlining triumph over Erik Morales on the first-ever Barclays Card on Oct. 20, 2012.
Malignaggi dropped a tough split decision to Broner in Brooklyn on June 6, 2013 before recovering to out-point fellow borough native Judah in front of a raucous Barclays crowd on Dec. 7, 2013.
Garcia, a perfect 4-0 at Barclays, is making the move up to welterweight for the first time in his distinguished career for this fight, which could further bolster his status as one of the rising young superstars in the sport.
“It’s going to be a great fight against Paulie on August 1,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting in the ring again, in my fifth appearance at Barclays Center, and putting on a great show for the East Coast fans in attendance and the fans watching all over the world.
“By the end of the night, I will still be the undefeated Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia. To all of the fans that love me, I love you too. This is for you.”
Malignaggi, well-established as one of boxing’s top analysts for his work on SHOWTIME telecasts, could be making his last stand in the ring at the age of 34.
He readily admitted that following the loss to Porter he seriously contemplated giving up the gloves for the ringside microphone, but the competitor in him decided to step back in the squared circle.
“I look forward to defending my home turf of Brooklyn and matching my skills against Danny’s at Barclays Center on August 1,” Malignaggi added.
The scheduled bout with O’Connor was snuffed just shy of two weeks before the May 29 card, leaving many to ponder whether they had seen the last of Malignaggi in the ring.
Instead, what appeared to be the unkindest cut has turned into another chance for Malignaggi to place his name alongside the best of the best.
“Danny Garcia always puts on a great show and there’s no bigger fan favorite in Brooklyn than Paulie Malignaggi,” said Barclays CEO Brett Yormark. “With this fight, we are continuing to establish Barclays Center as the premier boxing venue in the country.”
“This classic Philly versus New York match-up featuring two of boxing’s biggest stars is exactly why ESPN is televising Premier Boxing Champions,” said Brian Kweder, senior director of programming and acquisitions at the network. “Danny Garcia has laid waste to the junior welterweight division and instead of easing his way into the welterweight division, he’s fighting a former world champion in Paulie Malignaggi.”
A former world champion who will likely get this one last shot to prove he belongs with the best who have ever laced them up.
“I don’t know that I’ll be in the Hall of Fame for my boxing accomplishments,” Malignaggi ceded during an on-line interview with FightHype.com last October.
“I do feel that if I did win another world championship, they would kind of have to put me in the Hall of Fame, even if they don’t want to, because I’d be a three-time world champion and the guys I fought.”
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