Garcia-Malignaggi Preview

by
Garcia-Malignaggi Preview

Garcia-Malignaggi Preview

by
Garcia-Malignaggi Preview

Danny-Garcia-vs-Paulie-Malignaggi-Odds1

On Saturday, August 1, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a fight televised live on ESPN at 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT, WBA Super World and WBC World super lightweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (30-17 KOs), from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, moves up in weight to get it on with former WBA World welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KOs), from Brooklyn, New York.

In anticipation of the fight, the boxers met recently met with the press via teleconference call. Garcia is the strong, silent type, a man of few words. Malignaggi may not be as strong or as silent, but he always has something interesting to say.

“This kind of opportunity just fell into my lap,” said Malignaggi. “It was unexpected. When I got the call, I was surprised. But it was almost like pleasantly surprised. I didn’t realize Danny was actually going to move to welter right away. I had heard rumblings that he still wanted to stay a junior welter for a little longer. But I’m all about competing against the best. As surprised that I was, it was also an opportunity I couldn’t say no to. It’s a chance to be back in the main spotlight, be at the forefront with the kind of fights that I crave, the kind of fights that get my adrenaline flowing. I’m fighting one of the best fighters in the world today at any weight. I always want to test myself against the best, and so here I am.”

This will be Garcia’s first fight at welterweight.

“It feels great,” he said. “For the first time in a long time, I could worry about training to get better and not training to lose weight. I’ve been fighting at 140 my whole career. I just feel felt like losing the weight was affecting my performances, mostly in the later rounds of big fights because I will use a lot of my energy losing weight. I’ve been feeling a lot stronger and a lot better at 147. I think I should have been moved up maybe after the Matthysse fight. But I’m here now and I feel good. I feel strong. I’m training hard. And we’re working on new things just to get faster and stronger at 147. Before, when I hit guys, I could feel the power going through my arms. And when I land a shot, I knew I would hurt them. I just didn’t feel strong at the weight class no more. I just felt like I was hurt myself. I just didn’t feel as strong at 140 anymore.”

Many thought Paulie’s most recent fight, a TKO loss to Shawn Porter over a year ago, might have been his last.

“You get to the point when you’re not in the ring for a while,” Malignaggi reflected. “It’s going through my mind that maybe I don’t want to fight. I was just thinking, ‘You know what, I’m done.’ But as time went by and I started working out again, I started realizing that it was something I missed. I wanted to be back in there. And then I just decided, ‘Hey, you know what, I miss this. I want to get back in the gym.’ It was like to try rebuilding a new me, so to speak.

“I got a lot of respect for Danny and family and his father and everything, but I’m a competitor. I haven’t had a big fight in over a year. So it’s just like, man, this is an opportunity for me to kind of put myself back in the mix with one really good performance as opposed to slowly getting back in the mix over the course of three, four fights. I’m 34 years old. I’m not 24. I don’t really have that kind of patience anymore. I didn’t tell myself, ‘Oh, it’s a big step-up after a layoff.’ I didn’t look at it like that. I looked at it from more of a positive perspective.”

Garcia is also looking at the fight from a positive perspective.

“This is a fight my manager wanted,” said Garcia. “He gave me the call. He made this fight. And like any other fight, he did ask me, ‘Hey, do you want to fight this guy?’ And then we say, ‘Yes, we want to fight this guy.’ I didn’t go say, ‘Gee, I want to fight Paulie because he’s not a big puncher,’ you know, because power is just one of the many skills you need in boxing. I don’t choose the opponent. But I think that overall this is going to be a great fight.”

Malignaggi’s heart, chin, skills and athelticism have made up for his fragile hands, but he is, as he pointed out, no longer a young man.

“I don’t ever think about this stuff, man. You have to have a short memory in boxing. And that applies to both when you look good and when you look bad. So whatever has happened to you in the past, it doesn’t matter whether it was good or bad. You can’t take that in the ring with you in your next performance. You’re starting a new chapter every time you step in the ring for round one in your next fight.”

Not everyone is sold on Danny Garcia, but Paulie isn’t among them.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect for him. I think he’s a phenomenal fighter. I even told Danny myself, early on, I wasn’t high on him. But I know when he was in the prospect stages he was beating some really good names. And he grew on me. I started realizing I’m not looking at this kid the right way. This kid is actually good on a lot of fronts, both from a physical perspective and from a mental perspective, really strong. It’s just a matter of matching of my skills to his skills.

“Danny said earlier he would love the media and the fans to love him,” Paulie said. “I couldn’t care less whether anybody loves me or hates me. And I think the body of my work throughout my career, or the things that I said, the things that I do, shows that I could care less whether anybody loves me or hates. I go out there to do a job. I’m a competitor. I love competing. I love the adrenaline rush of combat at the highest level and testing myself against the best fighters in the world. That’s why I do this. I love to fight.”

This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.


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