Paul Malignaggi: There's No Place Like HomeWritten by Sam Gregory
On Saturday night's co-main event from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Paulie Malignaggi 31-4 with 7 KO's will step in the ring in front of thousands of his hometown supporters to defend his WBA Welterweight title against 23 year old Pablo Cesar Cano 25-1-1 with 19 KO's in a scheduled 12 round bout in the welterweight division.
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.
Sam Gregory has been a professional boxing writer since 2002 for publications such as BoxingTalk.com, Boxing Digest, EastsideBoxing.com The Cyberboxing Zone, StraightJab.com, boxingnews24.com and TheSweetScience.com. He has covered numerous fights and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the sport.
As a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, Gregory specializes in boxing history, and contributes regularly to that organization's quarterly publication. He is the author of numerous biographical articles about legendary fighters, classic match-ups, memorable boxing trilogies and other subjects.
He started covering live boxing matches for the website, "Boxingtalk" in February of 2002. The first live event he covered was the Bernard Hopkins-Carl Daniels fight on February 2nd, 2002 in Reading, Pennsylvania. He also wrote several boxing related articles, interviews with boxers and trainers for Boxingtalk.
Among some of the interviews he's done was an interview with Kermit Cintron when he trained at Kings Gym in Reading. He interviewed and wrote an article about the trainers of Wrecking Crew Boxing, Norm Bagi and Lenny De Jesus in New York City. Sam visited Norm and Lenny when they were working out of a gym in the Bronx to photograph them and some of the fighters they were training. 2 or 3 separate articles came out of that one visit, including interviews with and about foreign boxers coming to the U.S. He also wrote a profile for one of their female boxers from the U.K. in order to help obtain an athletes visa for her.
All together he covered about a dozen live events as a correspondent from February of 02' thru the following year, 03'.
The first article he published in Boxing Digest was in the October 02' issue. The article was with Bernard Hopkins at ringside and the questions Sam asked him about up-coming fights, his career, etc...
Sam had about seven more articles published in Boxing Digest until they folded in 2010. The other articles were interviews with fighters, match-ups for up-coming fights and an article about Lennox Lewis at the time of his retirement. The last article he wrote for Boxing Digest was a profile of Jose' Torres when he passed away in 2009.
Sam is a member of the International Boxing Research Organization and has written several articles for their quarterly publication along with participating in the pound for pound weight class ratings for their website. IBRO also held their own Hall-of-Fame voting this year which he also participated in.
He wrote articles and stories for The Sweet Science website from early 04' until the spring of 05'. He was paid in advance by TSS to write 20 articles of my choice about anything regarding boxing from a historical point of view. He wrote biographies, stories about great fight trilogies, match-ups, etc... The Sweet Science had him do an interview with Sharmba Mitchell in 2004 before his second fight with Kostya Tszyu. That interview was also posted on Showtime's website.
Since he wrote his first article for Boxingtalk in February 02', he had articles about upcoming fights, interviews with boxers, trainers and promoters, along with covering boxing matches on TV and live events. published on several boxing websites including, Eastsideboxing, StraightJab.com, BoxingInsider.com, The Cyberboxingzone, aneutralcorner.com and boxingnews24.com. He also had articles and letters published in Boxing Digest and KO magazines.