by Dennis 'dSource' Guillermo
Former World Champion Paul Malignaggi (30-4-0, 6 KOs) has a huge task in his hands when he travels to Ukraine on April 29 for his title shot against WBA welterweight champion Vyacheslav Senchenko (32-0-0, 21 KOs).
Fortunately for Malignaggi, scouting his opponent isn’t going to add on to that task, as both he and Senchenko, though not simultaneously, currently train out of the Wild Card Gym; Malignaggi with trainer Eric Brown, and Senchenko with Freddie Roach himself.
“Senchenko is a much more limited version of Amir Khan,” Malignaggi told this scribe when he guested on dBoxing Source Radio Show recently.
Interestingly enough, it was the loss to Khan that prompted Malignaggi to move his camp to Roach’s world-renowned boxing gym, and despite past brush-ups with Wild Card mainstays, the Brooklyn-native maintains that he has been friendly and professional with people in the gym.
“We’re all friendly and cordial to each other,” Malignaggi described his relationship with Roach and people at the Wild Card Gym. “I don’t try to step on nobody’s toes. It’s a professional atmosphere in that gym, and I got work to do, so I go about my work, which is to get in shape for my fight,” he added.
And work he has done. Malignaggi credits a lot of his recent success and improvements to the level of competition available at his home gym. “I enjoy the work. I enjoy being there,” Malignaggi said, and added, “I just think the gym is a very competitive gym. It’s got a lot of the best fighters in the world, and it makes it a great place to train because the sparring is excellent.”
And on the subject of his old comments regarding his suspicions regarding performance enhancement drugs and the fighter whose image is plastered on the walls of the Wild Card Gym, Malignaggi has discovered performance enhancement within the gym for himself, albeit not changing his stance.
“I never changed my stance. I just backed off being so vocal about it, and I do that out of respect for Freddie. Freddie is doing me a big service for letting me work out at a gym where so many great fighters work out at,” Malignaggi stated, and revealed, “the level and quality of sparring, and level of work helps enhances me.”
As far as Roach training Senchenko, Malignaggi welcomes the challenge to face the Hall of Fame trainer anew, after being totally outclassed by his ward Khan almost two years ago.
“This is my chance to get even with Freddie,” Malignaggi joked.