EXCLUSIVE: Paulie Malignaggi to decide future after Italian debut

Paulie Malignaggi

Tom Casino

Former two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi has informed WBN that he will make a decision on his longer term boxing career once the dust settles on his Italian debut this weekend.

‘The Magic Man’ turns 35 in November and has three defeats in his last four bouts, a statistic which has led the Italian-American into a homecoming bout in Milan against Hungarian also-ran Laszlo Fazekas this Saturday night.

Malignaggi, who spent years as a youngster living in his parents’ homeland until a permanent switch to the USA, will be fulfilling a lifelong dream when he fights in front of the Italian fans – who will be cheering him on at the Teatro Principe.

Having fought at the highest level for the last decade, Malignaggi outlined from his Marbella base that he will only know whether he has any more years left at the top once he assesses his upcoming performance against Fazekas.

“I’ll decide after the fight, you know. I also have to see how much time I can dedicate to training,” Malignaggi exclusively told World Boxing News.

“I’ve been traveling a lot and mixing it with training for a while. If you’re fighting a higher level of opponent, you really can’t train the way I have for this fight – even though I am in shape.

“I think in the future, and if I want to fight again, I’ll have to find a better balance. Fit the training in properly, or I can’t fight.

“The training I am doing is going well. I’m just getting the weight down. I came to Marbella for the final week to focus solely on the fight.

“They tell me the show has sold well, and there are people who have waited to see me fight in Italy for a long time. I may seem small to some, but it’s something I have wanted to do. It’s a personal matter for me. A personal goal, and it’s going to mean something special to me.”

Before his last fight against Danny Garcia, Malignaggi was linked to fighting Italian veteran and current European champion Gianluca Brano for the EBU strap. However, the call to face a fellow New Yorker in Brooklyn was too big an opportunity to turn down.

A ninth-round defeat against Garcia proved hard to swallow. With his first fight to be held in Europe in over three years on the horizon, Malignaggi was asked whether his clash with 21-loss Fazekas was a gateway to eventually challenging Branco.

“We’ll see after this fight and how the cards are dealt. A lot of it is hinging on how I feel in this fight,” he stated.

“I want to see how I look based on the training I was able to do for this fight. If you can’t give one hundred percent in training for a fight, then you should get into a ring as it’s a dangerous sport.

“I shouldn’t really be trouble by this opponent. But obviously, there are other factors. So we will see. I don’t just want to win. I want to win and look good. If I do that, then there is a possibility that I will fight again.

“I think in any fighter’s career, and once you get to a certain age, you’re only looking at it one fight at a time.”

As Branco is due a defense against Leonard Bundu, Malignaggi could potentially meet the winner. However, there is also a big desire for a return to the UK for the second fight in front of some of his most passionate fans. A full seven and half years on from his victory over Lovemore Ndou in Manchester.

“Europe, in general, is where I may want to base myself going forward if I do decide to continue. I want to do something. Be able to fight in Italy and maybe the UK too.

“From a satisfaction point of view, that would be pretty cool,” pointed out Malignaggi.