By Mike Coppinger
Paulie Malignaggi returns on Oct. 15. – his third fight at 147 – when he opens up the HBO PPV telecast headlined by the light heavyweight championship bout between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson.
As with the three other fights on the telecast, Malignaggi (a Golden Boy fighter) will be matched with a Gary Shaw fighter, Orlando Lora.
The brash Brooklynite admits to not knowing much of his opponent, but insists he won’t take him lightly.
“I don’t know too much about Orlando Lora as of yet, I’ve checked his record, the only name that stood out to me was David Estrada, and David Estrada stopped him, so that’s pretty much his one step up,” said the “Magic Man”. “He’s got a good record, he’s fought at junior middleweight so physically he’s bigger than me, so I gotta be careful with that.
“But other than that I gotta still do my research on him. I just plan on being ready myself.”
While Malignaggi (29-4, 6 KOs) was looking for a more marquee fight, namely one with new welterweight entrant Devon Alexander, he’ll settle for Lora in a televised fight.
“I definitely was looking for a bigger fight, but HBO didn’t have any money in the budget for the year to afford a fight between me and Devon or me and a big name,” said the 30-year-old Malignaggi. “They overspend it on somebody like Devon actually, he was getting mad (about the lack of money in the budget), but he’s part of the problem.
“So we took “half-a-stay-busy fight”, you don’t ever want to call a guy who’s 28-1 a stay-busy guy. At the same time, he brings a certain amount of danger that he’s been a junior middleweight as well, but at the same time I’m Paulie Malignaggi and I’m on track, I gotta beat this guy and work my way to bigger fights next year. “
Malignaggi has been entrenched in a Twitter war with Alexander and Paulie is tiring of Alexander’s manager Kevin Cunningham doing the speaking for his fighter.
“He’s gotta man up and start speaking for himself,” said Malignaggi. “When I see guys having their managers speak for them, it makes me feel like they don’t have a brain of their own. If you’re a grown man, you speak for yourself. I don’t have my manager speaking for me, I speak for myself.
“As far as a fighter, he’s not a bad fighter, he’s a pretty good fighter, I don’t know how much heart he has, but he’s a pretty good fighter as far as the talent is concerned.”
But if and when the fight takes place, Malignaggi won’t be willing to fight Alexander in his hometown of St. Louis, where he’s received two highly-debatable decision victories.
“He got enough gifts in St. Louis, I don’t need to give him another one,” Malignaggi said.
Mike Coppinger is a regular boxing freelancer for USA TODAY and Ring Magazine. He’s a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, the Ring Ratings Advisory Panel and the Yahoo! Sports Boxing Panel. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger.