By Ryan Maquiñana
After the promoter of Puerto Rican welterweight sensation Thomas Dulorme stated he would target Paulie Malignaggi in June, the native New Yorker told BoxingScene.com that he was pursuing other options for the moment, namely a bout with WBA welterweight champion Vyacheslav Senchenko of Ukraine.
“That was news to me this morning about fighting Dulorme,” said Malignaggi, the 31-year-old former IBF 140-pound king. “We’ve been in talks with Senchenko for awhile now.”
According to the report, Ricardo Rodriguez of Universal Promotions was intent on matching the 21-year-old Dulorme (13-0, 10 KOs), currently fourth in the WBA rankings, with No. 3 Malignaggi (30-4, 6 KOs) for the No. 1 contender spot in what would essentially amount to a title eliminator in the summer.
“Dulorme’s a very good fighter. He’s a potential star in line with the [Felix] Trinidads and the [Miguel] Cottos, but right now I’m looking ahead of me, not behind me,” Malignaggi said. “Right now he’s in the rear-view mirror, not because he’s a bad fighter, but because he’s still climbing the ladder. At the moment, I should be looking at what’s in front of me as far as this title shot. Maybe Dulorme can target the winner of me and Senchenko.”
Of course, if “The Magic Man” can bypass such a fight for an outright title shot against the 34-year-old Senchenko (32-0, 21 KOs), common sense would dictate he take that road—if the price is right.
“My team, with Golden Boy and my manager Anthony Catanzaro, we’re trying one last time to come to a deal [with Senchenko],” Malignaggi said. “The holidays passed, and maybe everyone will be in a better mood to make a deal, and if not, the last option is a purse bid. I’m coming back to L.A. tomorrow, and I plan to talk to Steven Bash and plan a meeting with Golden Boy.”
One essential stipulation has been the fight venue. Senchenko, who trains at Hollywood’s Wild Card Gym with Freddie Roach, has never fought on North American soil and would prefer the bout to come to Ukraine. However, Malignaggi, who has frequented the Wild Card several times, issued a challenge of his own.
“The right price or terms haven’t been given to me to go to Ukraine,” he said. “Honestly though, I also think a champion who hasn’t fought in the United States can’t be legitimately respected and recognized.”
Malignaggi then explained the need for fighters to come to America to raise their profiles and offered mitigating factors for Senchenko to risk losing his belt across the pond.
“When you fight an American in America, it’s not nearly the same as fighting a German in Germany, a British guy in Great Britain, or even a Ukrainian in Ukraine,” Malignaggi said. “In America, they don’t give a f*ck if you’re American or not. They’re not going to give you any special treatment unless you’re fighting the guy in his immediate backyard, like right outside his door or hometown.
“If you want to be legitimately respected on a world level, and you haven’t fought in America, I don’t care what belt you have, you can’t be taken too seriously. And based on Senchenko’s unwillingness to come to America and also his resume which speaks for itself, if he has some kind of go-getter attitude or mentality, he should want to come to America and defend his title.”
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at www.maqdown.com , or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.