Prize fighters love to fight in their home towns.
Just as important as the support of local family, friends and fans, the possibility of a "hometown decision" weighs heavy. And nobody knows that better than Malignaggi.
In August of 09,' Paulie lost a questionable decision to Juan Diaz in Diaz' hometown of Houston, Texas. Four months later, Paul Malignaggi avenged that loss with relative ease in the rematch, this time in the neutral town of Chicago.
In his last fight, Malignaggi earned a chance to fight for the WBA welterweight title. The current title holder at the time, Vyacheslav Senchenko, chose to defend his title in Donetsk, Ukraine, which is about 250 miles from his hometown of Kremenchuk. Given Senchenko was undefeated at the time and Malignaggi's low knockout record, the Brooklynite was a clear-cut underdog going into the bout.
To avoid a hometown decision, Paul Malignaggi's fight plan was simple: Take away the chance of any decision.
From the opening bell, Malignaggi was all over the undefeated Ukrainian and by the ninth round it was obvious Senchenko wasn't able to throw enough punches to continue which prompted referee Steve Smoger to step in and call a halt to the bout of 1:10 of round nine. Its was Senchenko's first loss... a TKO compliments of Paulie Malignaggi.
Malignaggi's promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, has had a commitment with the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Paulie is thrilled to be part of the first card in his hometown.
"It feels great! It feels great, man! This is one of the main reasons I was happy to sign with Golden Boy two years ago, that I could be part of this show and I could be part of this event on a big stage in a big city in a big fight."
"And I was glad I did my job and Golden Boy did a tremendous job bringing me back, and now the moment is here and I'm ecstatic for it," said Paulie Malignaggi.
Since moving up in weight to the welterweight division in December of 2010, Malignaggi has been on a four fight win streak. One thing that can be said about Malignaggi is that he's never been a part of a boring fight. Even his four loses came at the hands of some great quality exciting fighters.
His first loss came in 2006 to Miguel Cotto. His subsequent loses to Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan and even the controversial defeat in his first fight with Juan Diaz were all dramatic fights.
Malignaggi acknowledges that he's nearing the end of his career. He also knows being in the welterweight division has opened the door to a wealth of talent for the taking.
"I continue to fight because I stay hungry. I stay hungry because I have a lot to prove to myself because I didn't achieve what I wanted to achieve. I'm a two-time World Champion, but I had so many more goals that I had set out for myself when I turned pro and I'm probably not going to achieve them all because there are just too many and there's not enough time - But I just want to achieve as many as I can before I call it quits."
Malignaggi is popular and exciting to watch. Tonight is a big night for Paulie even though a win won't propel him into super stardom. However, tonight's bout should prove to be as exciting for the hometown fans as it will be for The Magic Man, Paulie Malignaggi.