After a bad loss to Amir Khan had talk of retirement floating around former junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi, Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com reports today that Malignaggi will instead target a move to the welterweight division to continue his career.
The 29-year-old Brooklyn fighter was stopped in the 11th round against Khan on May 15, losing the entire fight badly in a purely one-sided affair. Many felt Malignaggi had shown signs of slowing down, especially in his legs, in both that fight and the previous two against Juan Diaz. His team is hoping that a move to 147 won't drain him so much, and will let Malignaggi (27-4, 5 KO) be fresher come fight night.
One potential fight already being talked about is a bout with European welterweight titlist Matthew Hatton (39-4-2, 15 KO). Hatton's brother Ricky, of course, beat Malignaggi in 2008, and while Paulie would love to fight Ricky again, the chances of that happening are remote. From Ricky's side, there's just no need. The win was convincing and there's minimal money in a rematch, especially with Malignaggi being so thoroughly shut down by Khan.
Reeno also says that Malignaggi's co-manager Josh Dubin might work on getting Paulie a fight in Italy in the interim. I never thought about it this way, but man, Paulie could have been dominant on the European level with his style of fighting, and I don't mean that as a backhanded compliment, either.
I think it's good to hear that Malignaggi will give it another go in the ring. He's adamant about not wanting to be a professional opponent or stepping stone, and a crack at welterweight (where I'd pick him over plenty of guys if the move does give his legs some needed juice) is the best option for him. He'll still have no power, but past those top six guys at welter (Mayweather, Pacquiao, Mosley, Cotto, Berto, Clottey), he has the ability to outbox just about anyone.