A major fight being discussed for April 10, according to ESPN's Dan Rafael, is a welterweight title bout between WBC strapholder Andre Berto and junior welterweight contender Paulie Malignaggi. Berto recently pulled out of a January 30 date with Shane Mosley due to family concerns in Haiti, leaving him open. With Mosley signing to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 1 and Manny Pacquiao, Joshua Clottey and Miguel Cotto all looking tied up within the Top Rank family for their next fights, it leaves Berto with few viable options.
Malignaggi's promoter Lou DiBella has Madison Square Garden booked for April 10, which came about when Paulie was being discussed as a possible Mayweather opponent. With MSG available for them, Berto-Malignaggi at the Garden could be fun. It's not a great fight, don't get me wrong. If you've been around BLH for any amount of time, you probably know I really like Malignaggi for a variety of reasons, but I have my doubts that he'd fare very well against Berto. Andre is fast and a pretty good puncher, two things that Juan Diaz is not, and Paulie's career renaissance was built on a controversial loss to and clear win over Diaz in 2009.
On the other hand, Berto will have been out of action since last May, whenever he fights, and he fought Juan Urango in a complete stinker. It would be a bit bothersome to Berto keeps fighting junior welters, but I also can't really lose sleep about it. There aren't any names at 147 past the elite guys mentioned in the first paragraph here, and they're busy. Who's he going to fight? Selcuk Aydin? Rafal Jackiewicz? There's just not much out there, and Berto having to cancel the Mosley fight really threw a wrench into him getting a good fight for 2010.
Malignaggi also recently ripped junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan. Paulie's a solid trash talker, but Khan got back a pretty good shot, too.
"Ask Oscar [De La Hoya] and Richard [Schaefer] why we're not fighting each other. Him and Freddie Roach refused! So we moved on and got bigger and better [things]. We've got bigger fish to fry than Amir Con on April 10. If Amir Khan wants it, then he knows our number. We called him out numerous times. ... Khan doesn't want it. He knows who is the man."
Khan's reply, snipped:
"I will come to Paulie's city to defeat him and put up the WBA title on May 15th. I have an HBO date. Let's get it on. Don't p***y out."
I highly doubt Khan-Malignaggi is a realistic option right now, at least so long as Golden Boy remains confident that they can make Khan-Juan Manuel Marquez happen for May. There's nothing they gain if Malignaggi beats Khan. If Marquez does it, at least they promote Marquez and it'd be a good bounce-back win for the man who remains Mexico's No. 1 star.
Anyway, what are your thoughts on Berto-Malignaggi? Yea or nay?