By Rick Reeno
Former champion Paulie Malignaggi (30-4, 6KOs) is ready, willing and able to fight WBA welterweight king Vyacheslav Senchenko (32-0, 21KOs) at the Donbass-Arena in Ukraine - but the champion's promoter, Union Boxing Promotion, must come up with a satisfactory purse.
Union Boxing dropped down a big number at last month's purse bid. They placed in a bid of $1,000,100, which was four times higher than Golden Boy Promotions' bid of $250,000.
On Tuesday, Union Boxing issued an official statement, outlining their anger at Malignaggi for refusing to accept their offer for an April fight.
Malignaggi has no issue with Union Boxing, or with a possible title fight in Ukraine, but he refuses to sign a contract for what he considers to be "short money."
"When I went to Ukraine in November, the people in Union Boxing treated me excellent and with the utmost respect during my time in Ukraine. They were so professional in everything that they did. I saw the stadium that we would be fighting in and it made me want to actually fight in that stadium. I told them, that I would fight here only if I could fight in that stadium. I don't want to fight in some little arena. If I come here, I would want it to be some big thing," Malignaggi explained to BoxingScene.com.
After a very pleasant meeting with Union Boxing, Malignaggi received an unpleasant offer.
"I saw that they've overpaid certain bum guys that they've brought there, because lets be straight - he’s fought strictly bums. Senchenko has not fought one legitimate contender in his entire career. They pay these half ass contenders pretty good money, so I figured they would realize that they would have to come with money to fight a fighter with my resume. I'm not Floyd Mayweather but I come with a much better resume than anyone that he’s fought before. I figured that they would understand that. I wasn't trying to break the bank. I was looking for about half a million dollars to go to Ukraine," Malignaggi said.
"The offer I got was substantially less than that....the offer I got pre-purse bid. You're not talking to that last guy he fought, whoever he is, or that guy that he fought out of Japan. You're not dealing with a guy who's never had a payday in his life. I made over a million dollars when I fought Ricky Hatton. I made over half a million dollars when I fought Amir Khan. I held the world championship. I’ve fought the best. I’ve been in with fighters, who Senchenko couldn’t shine their shoes let alone get in the ring with them."
"So I know what these fights are worth, especially since I'm traveling to his backyard. Senchenko to me is pretty worthless as a fighter, but he holds a prestigious world title. If they wanted a fighter like Paulie Malignaggi or any fighter with a halfway decent resume, they should have put their money where their mouth is - and not offered a quarter of a million dollars. That's a quarter of a million dollars before any expenses. I haven’t fought for a quarter million since the [Miguel] Cotto fight [in 2006]. Nobody is going to make me take this fight for short money."
Malignaggi explained that Golden Boy wasn't willing to break the bank at the purse bid, because none of the American cable networks are interested in Senchenko.
"He's unknown in the United States. It's not my fault that nobody knows him in the United States, so the American market wants nothing to do with him. He did nothing to make himself hyped up. Let's take Amir Khan for example, he fought some pretty good names like Marco Antonio Barrera and Andreas Kotelnik even before he came to America. Senchenko holds a major title but he won it on paper. Shane Mosley vacated the title to fight Mayweather," Malignaggi said.
"This has nothing with Senchenko or the way that UPB treated me. They are getting offended because I'm being a business man. Do I think Senchenko is much of a fighter? Absolutely not. Like I said before, I've fought guys who he couldn’t even shine their shoes. But that doesn’t mean that I have any disrespect for the WBA or Union Boxing or for what anyone has done for me here. But business is business and it has to be handled accordingly."