Fighter Profile: Paulie Malignaggi
Brooklyn’s Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi (27-3 with 5 KOs) is one of the top contenders in the Junior Welterweight division and is the former IBF Junior Welterweight Champion. Malignaggi is not known for his power or knockout ability, but his exceptional hand speed and flashy “hitman” style in the ring make him one of the most exciting fighters to watch.
Amateur/Early Professional Career – Malignaggi had a successful amateur career and won the 1998 and 2001 New York Golden Gloves Amateur National Championship and the 2001 United States Amateur National Championship.
He had a very impressive early professional career as well, turning pro in 2001 at age 20, knocking out his first professional opponent in the first round and going 7 for 7 in his first 7 fights.
Fight vs. Miguel Cotto – in 2006, an undefeated young Paulie Malignaggi went into the ring against an also undefeated junior welterweight, Miguel Cotto. This was a grueling 12 round fight that was one sided in Cotto’s favor, but Malignaggi earned a lot of respect in this fight. Against Cotto, Malignaggi proved that he had character, heart and a will to persevere. Although he lost the fight, he won the respect of many fans.
IBF Title Win – in 2007, Malignaggi defeated Lovemore N’dou to win the IBF Junior Welterweight Champion. This was a very one sided decision victory and proved that Malignaggi deserved the IBF title. He successfully defended this title against Herman Ngoudjo, and in a rematch against Lovemore N’dou but was forced to vacate his title in September of 2008 due to a fractured right hand.
IBO/Ring Magazine Title Fight vs. Ricky Hatton – After Malignaggi gave his hand some time to heal, he fought the aggressive IBO/Ring Magazine title holder Ricky “Hitman” Hatton. Malignaggi’s style was not successful in staving off a fighter as aggressive as Hatton and he was defeated by 11th round TKO.
Fights vs. Juan Diaz – Malignaggi’s first fight against Juan Diaz was for the vacant WBO NABO Junior welterweight title. Although many believe that Malignaggi outpointed Diaz in this fight, the judges thought otherwise, awarding Diaz with a unanimous decision, which infuriated Malignaggi.
In the rematch on December 12, 2009, Malignaggi left little room for the judges to question. Malignaggi’s jab was crisp and he threw a lot of punches and won this fight convincingly by a score of 116-111 on all three judges’ scorecards.
What’s Next – Malignaggi is as confident as ever coming into 2010 with his new trainer Sherif Younan and a recent victory over Juan Diaz. Malignaggi is currently the front runner to replace Floyd Mayweather in a title fight against Manny Pacquiao in March of 2010, although Timothy Bradley is also a possibility to face Pacquiao. Malignaggi has also expressed interest in a fight against Juan Manuel Marquez as well as a rematch against Ricky Hatton.