Dan Rafael is reporting in today's Notebook at ESPN.com that the proposed rematch between Juan Diaz and Paulie Malignaggi isn't as dead as it appeared to be a few days ago. Malignaggi has been furious with Diaz and Golden Boy Promotions during fight negotiations, and that's not changing just yet.
"They are not happy unless they screw me like last time," Malignaggi said of Diaz and promoter Golden Boy. "But I'm not going to let them screw me this time. They nitpick everything. I've never seen such a bunch of babies. No matter what you do or give them, there's something else."
Details of the rough negotiations have come out:
- Golden Boy and Lou DiBella (Malignaggi's promoter) agreed to a 50-50 split, with the fight likely in Chicago, a "neutral site" for both parties;
- The promoters agreed on a 139-pound weight limit and a 20-foot ring, Malignaggi's preference (the first fight was in an 18-foot ring);
- Diaz's manager, Willie Savannah, turned down the fight;
- Richard Schaefer, perhaps at Savannah's insistence, came back to DiBella with a 60-40 Diaz offer and the requirement that the catchweight limit be the same as it was for the August fight, 138.5 pounds;
- DiBella said they'd do 55-45 for Diaz, but a 139-pound limit;
- DiBella said that he and Schaefer had the fight done, but it was Savannah and Diaz that wanted no part of a rematch: "I know that Golden Boy tried to make this fight with the license fee that was available. They were frustrated by unreasonable management and an unwilling fighter. … I guess Juan Diaz doesn't want to see his mother crying with her head buried in her hands again."
Malignaggi still wants the fight:
"I'm dying for this rematch," he said. "I want to outclass this guy under the right circumstances. We still fought in an 18-foot ring at 138½. The only reason it was even competitive was because they had all the advantages. I want to get through this guy and put this behind me and go fight the big boys. But not under the wrong conditions. ... If Juan is a real fighter, he will pull up his skirt and tell Willie Savannah he wants the rematch. Willie doesn't want to do a rematch because they can't screw me the second time around."
Strong words, and words that just might lure Diaz into the fight. Diaz's manhood is being questioned at this point, and it's not just from Paulie, but from DiBella, and if DiBella is to be believed, Golden Boy is frustrated with Willie Savannah. When Juan Diaz split with Don King, much of the blame from King's side was placed on Savannah, which most people wrote off as Don King being Don King, but maybe there was something more to it than just talk.