Michael Woods of ESPN New York reports that former light welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi will face current WBA welterweight champ Vyacheslav Senchenko in Donestk, Ukraine -- Senchenko's home country -- on April 29. Just days ago in a blog posted by ESPN's senior boxing writer Dan Rafael, Malignaggi (30-4, 6 KO) had stated that he'd turned down a $250,000 offer to fight Senchenko in Ukraine, but it appears that he's changed his decision.
"It feels good to be fighting for a title again," Paulie said. "I will make the most of the opportunity and I look forward to winning the title and bringing it home to defend in Brooklyn's Barclays Center in the fall."
It is unclear as of now what the financial parameters are, if Malignaggi settled on the original deal or got a better one, but he's still heading to Senchenko's home turf for the bout. That was one of Malignaggi's main concerns according to Rafael, aside from just the finances. He told Rafael:
Malignaggi's skepticism is rational, as he's been on the wrong end of hometown decisions before in his career. Most famously, back in Aug. of 2009, Malignaggi lost a unanimous decision to Juan Diaz in a match that took place in Diaz's hometown of Houston, TX. Those who remember the fight know it was a closely contested bout that really could have gone either way, and the decision itself wasn't exactly robbery. But judge Gale Van Hoy's 118-110 score for Diaz was a shocker, and it prompted Malignaggi to go on a famous post-fight rant to HBO's Max Kellerman:
This was [Union Boxing's] chance to get the biggest name on Senchenko's résumé. They had their chance to take me to Ukraine and rob me of the fight on a decision. I prefer to fight because I love the rush of boxing at the high level, but I won't take a deal that I don't like. I'm done with that."
"The Magic Man" got his revenge in the rematch, winning a unanimous decision in December of 2009 in Chicago.
Senchenko (30-0, 21 KO) has never fought outside of Ukraine, and his record isn't exactly littered with household names. He captured the WBA welterweight crown on April 10, 2009 when he defeated countryman Yuriy Nuzhnenko via unanimous decision. Since then, he's gone 3-0, most recently earning a sixth round TKO victory over Marco Antonio Avendano back on Aug. 26.
Since losing to Amir Khan at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in May of 2010 in a light welterweight title bout, Malignaggi moved up the welterweight and has gone 3-0 in his last three fights, against Michael Lozada, Jose Miguel Cotto and Orlando Lora.