Current IBF junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi has challenged Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., to fight him at Madison Square Garden, and his words are very strong.
"All Chavez has is his last name. He's gotten more press for beating nobodies than anybody in boxing history. All he's ever fought are cab drivers and busboys. He's nobody! I was a better prospect before my first pro fight than he is after 33 pro fights. I will embarrass him, his father, his entire family, and ruin his blood line.
"I have tremendous respect for his father, probably the greatest Mexican fighter of all-time, but his son can't live off of his father's great name forever. If Chavez and his team are stupid enough to call out a world champion like Paulie Malignaggi - he's never fought anybody like me -- I'll oblige them and we can do it at Madison Square Garden. ... I didn't even waste my time watching Chavez fight last Saturday night. Hey, I'm no Louis Brown. I'll fight him at 147, no problem. I say, don't talk about it, JC Junior, let's just do it."
If the fight were to happen at 147, I have to be honest -- I don't see it going well for Paulie. I like Malignaggi and think he's tough as nails, but he doesn't have any power at 140. What is he going to do at 147? He couldn't even dent Chavez, and would have to hope he could seriously outbox him for 12 rounds. Chavez does have power, especially to the body. The size mismatch is obvious, though, and I think it'd become very clear rather early in the fight.
That said, Chavez does have an open date in November, which was supposed to be a fight with Arturo Gatti on HBO pay-per-view. Alfonso Gomez has offered to take the fight as Gatti's replacement, but neither Chavez-Gomez nor Chavez-Malignaggi would be able to sell on pay-per-view. Frankly, it'd have to be a Boxing After Dark unless it were paired with a bigger fight. Maybe HBO could move it to November 17 and team it with Soto-Guzman, or put it on the undercard of Mayweather-Hatton in December.
I respect Paulie Malignaggi's willingness to fight Chavez, but while I agree with him that Chavez hasn't really beaten anyone, I don't think Malignaggi is the guy to take him down a peg, especially moving up in weight. It doesn't add up on paper. Chavez has gotten noticeably better this year -- he's not his dad, and he never will be, but he can fight. Malignaggi would be the toughest challenge of his career, no doubt about that, but that's not saying a whole lot, either.