By Terence Dooley
Paulie Malignaggi has been firing verbal broadsides at WBA light-welterweight title holder Amir Khan ever since, indeed before, their May 15th, Madison Square Garden encounter was announced. The brash New Yorker feels that Khan, who recently claimed that he handpicked Paulie for his US debut in order to look good, has bitten off more than he can chew; Paulie was also keen to laugh off Khan's boast that the New York fans will be hoping for a Malignaggi defeat come fight night.
“He's just talking out the side of his mouth, the funny thing is, no one knows who he is in New York,” blasted the 29-near-old Brooklyn native. “I have to explain to everyone who I'm fighting.”
Paulie's verbal assaults started when he wondered aloud if there was any truth to the spurious rumours that Manny Pacquiao has been using banned substances in order to maintain his remarkable recent form, with 'Magic Man' then speculating as to whether the rest of Freddie Roach's fighters, including Khan, should therefore be placed under suspicion. Paulie, though, has pushed these thoughts to the back of his mind, claiming that these pre-fight jabs are all part and parcel of a big event.
“Not really”, said Paulie, 27-3 (5), when asked if he was trying to rile Khan with the outburst, “I just said what was on my mind. This is a fight; people have to remember that you’re stepping in the ring with someone who is trying to knock you out. When someone gets in a street fight, a lot of shit talking goes on, nothing different from an actual boxing match. I respect him for coming into New York, but when the bell rings that respect goes out the window. This is a fight, not story time!”
Paulie was distraught when losing to Britain's Ricky Hatton in November of 2008 but believes that his new training regime, headed by Sherif Younan, has lit a fire under him and that Amir will feel the heat from the flames come Saturday night.
“I'm still with Sherif. We're a great team, and click well together. This win is going to put Paulie Malignaggi back on the map. This is boxing. You're eventually going to run into someone that's totally different (from anything you've faced before). This will be a war, best believe that,” promised the challenger; he was far pithier when asked about what he expects to hear come the end of Saturday’s encounter.
“...AND NEW!” asserted the former IBF title holder.
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