Malignaggi has won both bouts as a welterweight (Photo courtesy of Team Malignaggi).
Former IBF Junior Welterweight Champ Faces Orlando Lora on Saturday
Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi (29-4, 6 KOs) will return to action this Saturday, when the former IBF Junior Welterweight Champion faces Mexican scrapper Orlando Lora (28-1-1, 19 KOs). The bout will be the third as a welterweight for Malignaggi, and it will also air as the first televised fight of a WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Title Bout between champion Bernard Hopkins and challenger Chad Dawson on HBO PPV.
"I'm excited to be fighting in Los Angeles for the first time in my career," said Malignaggi, a Brooklyn native who relocated to L.A. when he signed with Golden Boy Promotions a year ago. "I have been training for the past year in Los Angeles, so I'm really looking forward to performing in front of my new friends out west, as well as my support system I have coming from the East Coast. New York meets Los Angeles, I can't wait to shine!"
Malignaggi last fought in April when he took on Jose Miguel Cotto, whose brother is WBA Light Middleweight Super Champion Miguel Cotto, and he rolled to a flush unanimous decision victory. That contest was his second both as a welterweight and under the Golden Boy banner, and the Magic Man hopes that a win on Saturday will help elevate him into a bigger fight in 2012.
“I'm excited. I want to thank Golden Boy for getting me the fight, getting me on the show,” he remarked. “As usual, Golden Boy never leaves me disappointed, making all the right moves for me, and I look forward to getting this win so I can get a big fight next year. That's always what I'm craving. That's always what I'm working to is those bigger fights, the spotlight, the main event type fights.”
When asked about where he sees himself in the chase for a second world title, Malignaggi says that he is a lot closer to a shot than some might think.
“I don't think I'm too far off,” he stated. “Between my ability to win fights and the strong team I have behind me with Golden Boy Promotions and Anthony Cantanzaro, my manager, I think I'm very close, if not for a world title or at least for a big fight that could lead to a world title. One way or the other, I'm knocking on the door for something.”
The Magic Man also commented on how much better he feels competing as a welterweight, and he says his decision to make the move to the welterweight division was definitely the correct call.
“Just with age, it got tough to make the junior welterweight limit (140 pounds),” he confirmed. “Making welterweight, I feel like I have more spring in my legs. I'm not going to say I'm going to hit harder, but I definitely feel stronger at welterweight just because I don't have to struggle as much to make the weight. Definitely the biggest improvement is the spring in my legs and just the energy level I'm able to maintain and keep because I don't have to waste it on making weight. When I get in the ring, I can still have that mental spunk and just be able to box the way I want to box.”
Malignaggi became the IBF World Junior Welterweight Champion when he defeated Lovemore N'dou in a 12-round unanimous decision on June of 2007. He successfully made his first title defense the following January by taking a unanimous decision over Herman Ngoudjo and then again defeated N’dou in May of 2007. The Brooklyn native vacated his title in September of 2008 to fight then IBO Light Welterweight Champion Ricky Hatton in the main event of a November HBO card in Las Vegas, suffering a loss to the British titleholder. Next on tap was a two-bout series with Juan Diaz that ended with a convincing decision win in Chicago, and Malignaggi then put up a valiant effort in a defeat to Amir Khan in May of 2010 at Madison Square Garden, his last outing as a junior welterweight.