By Keith Idec
Paulie Malignaggi has his own fight to think about first, but the former IBF junior welterweight champ is very interested in watching the bout HBO Pay-Per-View will televise Saturday night after Malignaggi opposes Orlando Lora at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The 12-round Kendall Holt-Danny Garcia fight intrigues Malignaggi because he has been friendly with Holt (27-4, 15 KOs), of Paterson, N.J., since they were up-and-coming 140-pound prospects in the New York metropolitan area and because he has followed the progress of Philadelphia’s Garcia (21-0, 14 KOs), who, like Malginaggi, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
“I don’t know if Danny’s ready for a step up like Kendall,” Malignaggi said. “I think Danny’s been improving recently, in every fight. I think he’s getting better. [Nate] Campbell was a big step up [for Garcia in his last fight]. But I think if the Kendall we’ve all come to know shows up, I’ve got to favor Kendall in the fight, although Garcia can punch and Garcia has been improving. So it’s not an easy task [for Holt], by any stretch of the imagination.”
The heavy-handed Holt, 30, has scored one-punch knockouts against journeyman Lenin Arroyo (20-15-1, 4 KOs) and former IBF lightweight champ J Diaz (38-7, 27 KOs) in his last two fights. Malignaggi expects that Holt to encounter Garcia in their WBC elimination match, not the Holt that was upset by South African underdog Kaizer Mabuza (23-8-3, 14 KOs) in their IBF elimination match 19 months ago in Atlantic City.
“I do think right now Kendall has a lot left in the tank,” Malignaggi said. “I don’t think he’s shot. I don’t feel they’re catching a Kendall Holt that’s an opponent, that’s shot. He’s a former champion and he still has a lot left. If it’s the Kendall we’ve all come to know and love, I favor Kendall to win the fight, although Danny is definitely a live guy in there.”
The 10-round welterweight bout between Malignaggi (29-4, 6 KOs) and Mexico’s Lora (28-1-1, 19 KOs) will begin HBO’s four-fight pay-per-view telecast Saturday night at 9 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. PDT.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.