Have we seen the last of Paulie Malignaggi in the ring? Probably not, but the 32-year-old Brooklyn native has at least given lip service to the idea of retirement if he can't land a desired rematch with Adrien Broner, and he also doesn't expect he'll get his wish to face the 23-year-old star a second time.
Malignaggi lost a debated split decision to Broner last Saturday night, a fight that delivered big ratings for Showtime, and with the controversy (or "controversy") could be expected to draw those same viewers back in for a rematch in the fall, if it were to happen.
"This is the second time this has happened to Broner. You didn't see him ask to fight Ponce De Leon again. ... I will see what is offered to me. I'm not quite sure if I want to go through another training camp. The Adrien Broner fight is definitely the fight I want. I know I have a lot of options after my performance on Saturday night but I know that the way I am feeling right now I mostly want the Broner fight."
Broner (27-0, 22 KO) has said he'll let the fans pick his next fight -- a claim Malignaggi says "absolutely" will not happen -- but Malignaggi (32-5, 7 KO) might even manage to win a poll like that, anyway, depending on the options presented. I mean, if it were Malignaggi or Shane Mosley, what would you pick? THE FANS!
If Malignaggi were to hang them up early, I really wouldn't be surprised. I'd still expect him to get The Itch and return for at least one more fight at some point, at least in some rasslin style angle like Showtime had with Tarver-Kayode last year, where the critical commentator pisses off some fighter by analyzing his performance. Or maybe they'd have Keith Thurman rough up Steve Farhood, and then Malignaggi steps in, and bam! You've got a fight.
(Sometimes this is the shit I expect to start happening, no joke.)
But anyway, it wouldn't be a big surprise to me. He says all the time he has money (so that has to be true) and he does have the job at Showtime, which he's genuinely very good at, and something that will be a long-term career whenever he does hang up the gloves. This is a guy who has gone through a lot to stay in the game, with bad hands that eliminated whatever punching power he did have in his younger days, and some setbacks that he always rebounded from pretty admirably. He's had a career that defied the odds repeatedly. If he's ready to let go of the training camps, it really could be over for him.