2014 holds a lot of promise for Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi. He won’t look past his upcoming opponent or the opportunity to put a shiner under his eye and a shiny ‘1’ on the youngster’s unblemished resume. He’ll tell you it’s nothing special, he’s been here before. Main events with Cotto and Broner made Malignaggi the fighter he is today but ‘No Sparring’ knows the "Magic Man" could be iller as the "Zero Killer."
Riding high from his "King of Brooklyn" win against veteran and fellow Brooklynite Zab Judah at the Barclays Center, Paulie Malignaggi has been rewarded with a shot at the IBF title against unlikely Cinderella man Shawn Porter. Incentives at a monster 2014 schedule are to follow if he’s successful.
Lurking beyond the April 19th Porter clash is mandatory challenger, #4 Ring Magazine rated welterweight and undefeated Kell Brook. The Brook matchup has been ordered by the IBF to take place within 90 days following the completion of the Porter fight. Brook brings with him the British boxing audience and chance for Paulie to reintroduce himself to fans that have seen him fight their pride in Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan. No doubt a win would make some Brit’s believe in "Magic." The international exposure of beating a second straight undefeated fighter only adds to the swagger a championship win can bring.
Expect a big winter fight for Paulie if he regains and then quickly defends the IBF title this summer as is scheduled. Last year HBO and Showtime stacked their lineups with a full Fall and Winter schedule and this year should be no different.
Malignaggi would be on pace for his fourth fight in a twelve month span if he can jab his way through those first two hungry opponents. It’s quite rare for boxers at this level to hit that mark but his tight defense allows him to avoid necessary punishment and fight more often.
Whether he knows it or not Paulie’s gunning for the "0’s." With no mandatory obligations holding him up after Brook, I expect undefeated Danny Garcia gets the call. Garcia is looking for a move up to welterweight and Golden Boy wants to showcase Garcia’s resilience. With Malignaggi and Garcia both regulars at The Barclays Center it could do big money at the gate.
Potential zero killings could get serial or not happen at all. The first target is on April 19th on the Bernard Hopkins undercard.
Here’s hoping a Paulie Malignaggi vs Danny Garcia happens in late 2014 for the IBF championship.