By Mitch Abramson
Lou DiBella is still fuming over critical comments Paulie Malignaggi made about him as a promoter, accusing the “Magic Man” of running a campaign to bad-mouth him to fighters and members of the media nearly a year after he signed with Golden Boy.
DiBella described his relationship with Malignaggi, a fighter he promoted to a world championship, only to see their association deteriorate, as “it sucks” during a press stop at the Red Lion bar on Wednesday to hype the middleweight rematch between Andy Lee and Brian Vera on Oct. 1 on HBO in Atlantic City.
“He thought his career was over when he shat the bed, shat the bed against Ricky Hatton,” said DiBella, who promoted Malignaggi for nearly decade until the boxer bought out his promotional contract and signed with Golden Boy last September. “He was ready to retire. He made seven figures after that with me. What is this motherf**ker doing out there bad-mouthing me to other people? Why is he bad-mouthing me to fighters? Why is he bad-mouthing me off the record to the press.”
DiBella has made an effort to remain mum on the topic, he said, but couldn’t contain himself any more. The promoter remains incredulous as to why Malignaggi is still mad at him, despite the opportunities he believes he gave the “Magic Man.”
“I’ve tried to take the higher road,” DiBella said. “But he won’t stop. And by the way, if I ever go into the Hall of Fame, which by the way, I think I’ll deserve, that’s one of the jobs I did with a fighter that most deserves to put me there. For six years, I took care of him, treated him like a [son]. In my office, they called me his nephew because he broke his hand so many times. I didn’t make a dollar with him until the seventh year I promoted him.”
DiBella went on to say that he never took more than 30% of Malignaggi’s earnings in any fight, and less than that in his last “few” fights.
A few moments later, DiBella wish to clarify his comments about Malignaggi so that no one misinterprets them:
“I don’t wish him any ill will,” DiBella continued. “If he’s capable of going out there and doing special things the rest of his career- go do it. More power to him. I don’t hate the kid. I just don’t want to talk to him. I don’t want to see him.”
Asked if Malignaggi was still an elite fighter, DiBella demurred: “You make the judge of it, not me,” he said. “Let’s see what he does in the ring. I think they just want to keep him alive for Brooklyn,” a reference to Golden Boy’s venture in Brooklyn next year when the L.A.-based outfit will promote monthly shows at the Barclays Center, presumably in the fall of 2012.
“Right now, I don’t see him fighting any challenges,” DiBella said. “But I don’t wish him poorly in his career. But here’s what I ask of him. Shut your mother#$% mouth!”
Mitch Abramson covers boxing for the New York Daily News and BoixngScene.com.