(Photo @Kevin Howard/On The Ropes) Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi was supposed to return the ring on May 29th, in Brooklyn, against contender Danny O’Connor. The fight was supposed to be the start of his comeback from a TKO4 loss to Shawn Porter, but the bout was officially cancelled late last week when Malignaggi suffered a cut in sparring and left the former 2 division world champion wondering when he might actually step back in the ring.
In a interview conducted at Fenway Park during the Dirrell-DeGale press conference, Paulie gave an update on his injury and discussed when he thinks he might be able to return. Malignaggi also talked about the possibility of fighting Danny O’Connor when he recovers, and his role commentating this weekend’s PBC card. Additionally, Paulie breaks down Dirrell vs. DeGale and shared his thoughts on who he thinks might win it. Here is what Paulie Malignaggi had to say.
Jenna J: Paulie, you are out at Fenway park to cover the press conference for Dirrell vs. DeGale. What are your thoughts on this whole event?
Paulie Malignaggi: It’s cool, I’ve been to a press conference at Yankee’s stadium for Cotto-Foreman a few years ago, it’s kind of cool to be at a press conference at Fenway too. It’s like bucket list check offs, press conference inYankee’s stadium, press conference in Fenway.
Jenna J: Your former opponent to be, Danny O’Connor is here. Does it feel weird being here and not being in a position to fight him?
Paulie Malignaggi: Yeah, I would not be here if I was still training for the fight. I ended up getting some work with SKY and BBC once my fight was all through, so yeah it feels weird just to be here in general, it wasn’t planned.
Jenna J: I can see the cut above your left eye, how long is that going to keep you out of action?
Paulie Malignaggi: I probably can’t spar for 30-45 days, then I have some bone spurs in my elbow, so while I’m out, I’m going to get some surgery and get that taken care of as well, and then try to come back in the fall.
Jenna J: Would you be looking for a different opponent or would Danny O’Connor still be a guy that you would consider?
Paulie Malignaggi: I haven’t even thought about it that far ahead really. I’m not against fighting Danny O’Connor, I’m not against a bigger fight in the fall, I’m not sure. I think the frustrating thing was that I had the training camp, I was making the weight, made all the sacrifices necessary and then the fight gets cancelled right at the end. So I got to go through a whole training champ, that whole process all over again, so before we go through that process again, we will probably plan out something, but we will see.
Jenna J: This Saturday night, Dirrell vs. DeGale, who do you got?
Paulie Malignaggi: It’s a close fight, it’s tough to call. It’s two of the most skilled fighters in boxing right now as far as pinning one another against each other, speed reflexes both guys have them, both guys can fight out of both stances which is pretty cool. Both guys can beat most fighters out of both stances. I lean a little towards DeGale just because he seems a little hungrier in fights where he has to bite down and win it.
It’s very rare that Dirrell’s talent is not going to be enough for him to win and I think just on his talent alone, he can’t win on his talent alone, he’s going to have to bite down a little more. 99% of guys Dirrell can beat on talent alone, and I don’t think he can beat DeGale on talent alone.
It’s got to be talent and it’s also got to be willingness to bite down and I think DeGale has shown that he will probably be willing to bite down when it gets tougher than Dirrell is, I think that might slightly edge him. But it’s close, a lot of the early rounds are really going to tell the tale as far as how that fight plays out late, cause later in the fight is when it’s suppose to get tough. We will see.
Jenna J: This fight is on NBC, so it’s free TV for the boxing fans. What can the fans that tune in expect from this edition of Premier Boxing Champions?
Paulie Malignaggi: I think they are going to get a good fight, again these are two of the most highly skilled fighters in boxing, pure talent, pure skills. I think it’s very rare you get this kind of a match up, and you’re gonna get it. Guys like this don’t usually fight each other till later on, it’s kind of ended up that they have no choice other but to fight each other, so everyone is in for a threat.