By Ryan Burton
BoxingScene.com spoke to Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi about his coming rematch with Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz, scheduled for December 12 in Chicago. Malignaggi blasts Diaz for saying he didn't take the first fight personally and also blasts the notion of having the advantages in this fight. He says this fight is closer to neutral with a medium sized ring, a slightly higher 139-pound catch weight and a neutral venue but that doesn't make the contest in his favor. See what else the Magic Man has to say about his upcoming fight and Manny Pacquiao in this scorching BoxingScene exclusive interview.
BoxingScene.com: How is training going for the big fight next month?
Paulie Malignaggi: It’s going great. I am training hard. I am killing it right now you know what I mean? I feel good.
BoxingScene.com: The rules this time around aren't such a disadvantage to you. How do you think having it a little more in your favor will affect the fight?
Paulie Malignaggi: You know what is funny is that people are saying I am getting an advantage in this fight. I am not getting an advantage. It is just closer to being neutral than it was last time. That is all it is. We have a neutral site. We have a twenty foot ring which is the most neutral size ring. They vary from sixteen to twenty-four feet and twenty feet is as neutral as you can get. We are fighting at 139 lbs. which is actually a pound less than what I am supposed to fight at so it’s not to my advantage by any means of the imagination. It is just a little bit more neutral than last time. Not totally neutral but that is all I really need. I didn't even need it last time and I still beat him. They just robbed me. This time around every little bit helps. It is still up to me to perform and that is what I plan on doing.
BoxingScene.com: I guess a better way of putting it is that it is less disadvantageous this time around.
Paulie Malignaggi: Yeah that's the way to put it. It is closer to neutral.
BoxingScene.com: Chicago has a pretty decent Mexican population and a pretty big Italian population. Has promoter Lou DiBella or your management done anything to help stir up interest in the fight to get the Italians out to support you?
Paulie Malignaggi: We took a little trip down the Italian neighborhoods in Chicago when we did the press conference. We visited some of the shops and stuff. We think we are going to get some good support from the Chicago fans. They are all great fans plus we even got some New York fans flying out. We have some people from outside the state of Illinois coming to see me so I am sure that all my fans will be out in full force. It’s easy money this fight. This is more of a night of celebration for me and my fans because we already know I am going to win the fight.
BoxingScene.com: What do you say to Diaz's comments that he didn't take the first fight seriously.
Paulie Malignaggi: I don't really know what to make of it really. At the press conference before the last fight he was saying how he was locked in a room playing Playstation. He was trying to insinuate that was all he had been doing in his room playing Playstation because he was so focused. Now he is saying that he didn't take it so seriously. I trained for the last fight the same way I trained for this fight. I train five days a week. I go to the gym. I do my running at night time. I am out every single weekend. I get home at four or five in the morning or whatever. I f*ck a bitch or two on the way. When I get home early in the morning I go running because I don't go to the gym on weekends. Then during the week I do it all over again so you tell me how hard I am training? I still feel I am working hard. That is how I trained for him the first time and it worked perfectly fine.
As long as you are putting in the work when you are in the gym when you are supposed to that is all that counts. I make sure I get my rest in between and I not going to tell you I am sitting at home locked in my house and doing all this sh*t when I am not. I am actually out and about having fun but I am training hard when I am in the gym and that
is what counts. That is how I am training for Juan Diaz now and how I trained for Juan Diaz the first time and it is not going to change.
Diaz is not my best friend at all. I actually get more p*ssy than Playstation during camp and that is a far cry from what he said he is doing before the last fight as opposed to what he says now that he basically didn't take it seriously.
BoxingScene.com: So you are basically saying he is making excuses for his performance in the last fight?
Paulie Malignaggi: Absolutely. He has to make an excuse for why he got an ass whoopin this time around because it is not going to be close. The first time it was close because of mostly all the advantages he had. Advantages or not with more neutral circumstances this time around I am going to kick the sh*t out of him all over the place. He has no idea the ass whoopin he has reserved for him. I am going to serve him up a nice dish of ass whoopin all over the place on December 12th not so much for him saying he didn't take it seriously but for him saying this is personal. Man I am the one who got f*cked and he is going to say that he is taking it personally? Man wait till I get my hands on him. How the f*ck do you have the balls to say that you took it personally when I am the one who got f*cked the first time around?
BoxingScene.com: I personally scored it 8-4 in your favor but there were rounds that could have went either way and I could see it being 7-5.
Paulie Malignaggi: I think most of the world had it in my favor except for a couple people who should have went to Lenscrafters or Pearl Vision or were Diaz's friends or family obviously. Everyone else thought I won the fight.
BoxingScene.com: A criticism of your performance would be that you could have used your right hand a little bit more. You had openings but didn't throw it enough. Do you plan on throwing the right a little more this time around?
Paulie Malignaggi: The last time around I suffered a rib injury in camp so we weren't able to spar the last five to six weeks of camp because we had to let it heal up for the fight. I think a lot of my lack of sharpness had to do with maybe not getting the sparring for the first fight you know. We worked really hard and we were super fast and in great shape but we could have been a little sharper. I think that the lack of sparring is the main reason we weren't that sharp.
We got great sparring this time. We have Jerry Ryan, Glen Tapia, Mike Faragon. They are good undefeated prospects without a loss between all of them. We mix and match them. They are good fighters. They probably could whoop Juan Diaz's ass right now themselves. I don't care who Juan Diaz is sparring with. He says he is sparring with five guys. If you would have went to the press conference you would have thought this guy was moving mountains the way he was working. That doesn't really intimidate me. I am 29 years old.
I put the work in when I have to put the work in. On fight night they ring the bell and I am ready to fight. I could care less what you do to train for me. I know I am going to kick your ass. You can do anything you want to do. You can tell me you swam from here to Europe and back and I couldn't give a sh*t. I am going to kick his ass no matter what he is doing to train for this fight.
BoxingScene.com: Assuming you come out with a victory are you going to look to make it a trilogy or do you want to move on to another fight?
Paulie Malignaggi: If I beat him which is the plan it really is like I beat him twice. I could care less what the decision was in Houston. I beat him twice at this point. Who gives a sh*t about seeing a third fight out of us? Believe me the second fight isn't going to be close. It is going to be an ass whoopin. From pillar to post I am going to whoop his ass. Who is really going to want to see a third fight? I am looking at Diaz as more of a stepping stone than anything else. He is more an opponent for me to get to bigger fights like say Juan Manuel Marquez or anybody else out there. There are a lot of championship belts out there that I can go for. This is my tune up after a bad 2008. I made the proper change by getting rid of Buddy McGirt. That was the best change I made because obviously you see that I am back on top of my game since I made that change. This is basically a set up year to make a title run in 2010 and Juan Diaz is just a stepping stone in that set up year.
BoxingScene.com: What did you think of Pacquiao's win over Cotto?
Paulie Malignaggi: I think there is something up with Manny Pacquiao. I am not going to get into it. I think people will understand what I am saying. Full blown welterweights don't take those type of punches from Miguel Cotto the way he took them with total disregard for his power nor do they hurt him with every punch they hit him with. These are full blown welterweights I am talking about. This guy is coming up in weight and doing all these things. There is something up with this guy but that's as far as I am going to go into it. Floyd Mayweather (Senior) has gotten into it a little bit. There have been other fighters who have mentioned it. I am not going to get into no controversy. I am going to leave it at that. There is something that seriously makes me feel weird about Manny Pacquiao. I am going to leave it at that.
BoxingScene.com: Do you have a message for the fans?
Paulie Malignaggi: I am glad you are all supporting me. I have gotten a lot of love after the Diaz controversy in the first fight in August. I am glad you all support me for this fight. Tune in December 12th. Try to get out there if you can. It is going to be a great fight and a great night with a lot of celebrating to be done.
We are partying afterwards for sure and we are setting ourselves up for a nice big-time run in 2010 and I appreciate every one of my fans.