From an amateur US boxing championship, to two world titles and bouts against Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, and Amir Khan among others, Paulie Malignaggi’s boxing career was a clear success in relation to the average.
World titles, big main event fights, and a long career that can be looked back on with satisfaction is a dream for a boxer. Malignaggi was even able to stay close to the sport by becoming one of the best commentators at Showtime boxing. Enough for many but not enough for Paulie. This weekend the 38 year old will make his debut in Bareknuckle Fighting Championship. Malignaggi has been retired from boxing for over 2 years and was sporting a 4-4 record in his last 8 bouts. Safe to say, Malignaggi’s best days are far behind him, so why is he making a debut in a sport in which he has never competed and is looked down upon as a semi blood sport by other combat sport fans.
He could be making money as a gatekeeper in the sport he has been a champion in. He is picking up cheque’s for commentary nearly every weekend.
So the question must be asked, why is Paulie doing this? We can look at the past to try and predict the future. Malignaggi was asked to be a sparring partner for Conor Mcgregor before the Mayweather-Mcgregor showdown and this seems to be where it all started. Rumours circulating that previous comments by Paulie critical of the matchup encouraged Mcgregor to want to deal with Paulie himself, therefore leading to the sparring invite. Paulie has since claimed that he was staying in a “crack house” during his time in Conor’s camp. The sparring further confused Malignaggi as usual boxing camps alternate sparring partners to keep them fresh. Conor and Paulie fought over 10 rounds with a licensed referee in the ring. Videos showing Paulie was knocked down were edited and cut off as the referee is making the slip signal, meaning no knockdown. Rumours spiralling around the time of Mayweather-Mcgregor had rabid MMA frothing at the mouth once they heard bout the “knockdown”, adding further hype to the mega fight. A picture leaked by Mcgregor’s camp showing Paulie on the canvass angered Malignaggi even more.
Malignaggi, perhaps looking to secure himself a giant payday, or perhaps purely out of pride, began to rip in to Conor every chance he got.
After a 2018 where nothing materialized between the two, it was announced that Paulie would be facing off with Artem Lobov, Conor Mcgregor’s close friend and training partner. Paulie went on to slap and spit on Lobov in the lead up to the BKFC showdown, perhaps looking to get the same rise out of Mcgregor that Khabib got when he slapped Artem. Khabib’s slap lead to the Team Mcgregor bus attack and eventually the biggest UFC PPV of all time. Paulie Malignaggi could be looking for the same build up and targeting Lobov could be how he gets Mcgregor’s name on the contract.