By Chris Robinson
The last time we saw Paulie Malignaggi inside of a Las Vegas ring it was one of the more humbling nights of his professional career. Facing off with England's Ricky Hatton in a junior welterweight unification bout in November of 2008, the Brooklyn fighter was overwhelmed and out of sync, surrendering an 11th round TKO that had him in disarray.
Malignaggi has had five fights since, the most notable being a pair of intriguing clashes that he split with Juan Diaz as well as another tough loss to British star Amir Khan last May. In his fight with Khan he was outgunned from the get go and didn't have any answers in a fight that left him with much soul-searching to do.
After taking some time to reflect, Malignaggi would shake things up by signing with Golden Boy Promotions and was last seen scoring a sixth-round TKO over Michael Lozado in Quebec, Canada on the Bernard Hopkins-Jean Pascal tilt. Looking to keep his momentum going, the former IBF champion is now rumored to be landing a gig on the April 9th Marcos Maidana-Erik Morales undercard at the MGM Grand.
As first reported by our friends at BoxingScene.com, the opponent of choice appears to be Jose Miguel Cotto, older brother of WBA junior middleweight champion Miguel, and he isn't exactly a pushover but definitely somebody Malignaggi can make a statement against if he is in rare form. Cotto is the type of pug best known for his losses compared to his wins, as he fell to Juan Diaz in April of 2006 and also to Saul Alvarez last May.
While definitely not as talented as his younger brother, Jose is a very capable, come-forward type of fighter. He likes to bring a lot of pressure to his fights an he even found a way to keep things interesting against Alvarez, stunning the Sinaloa, Mexico native early before fading and suffering a late TKO. Cotto was also willing against Diaz but simply couldn't keep up with the Houston fighter's non-stop work rate.
This isn't easy pickings for Malignaggi by any means and it will give us a gauge of how much he has left. Paulie has never been a guy with much firepower but he has gotten by with his incredible acumen and great boxing style.
Against Khan it looked as though the end may be near but Malignaggi regrouped and is again looking for a championship push. A fight with Cotto will either get his ball rolling or push him back a few more steps. Maybe not the most intriguing of scraps but it should tell us something on where he stands.