The dramatic press battle between representatives for WBA welterweight titleholder Vyacheslav Senchenko and Paulie Malignaggi continues to rage, with both sides blaming the other for a fight that probably won't happen. That or they're trying to build any real interest in the fight, which may be a losing battle but, then again, couldn't really hurt.
Union Boxing, Senchenko's promoters, issued a statement blaming Malignaggi for the fight being at risk of not going through. Here's part of it:
"The American boxer is also highly displeased with the fact, that Golden Boy Promotions lost its bid to Union Boxing Promotion. He even came as far as to say that his overall fee for taking the fight in Europe is much less than he had expected, which is wrong. UBP has come forward with the bid [$1,000,100], which is four times the size of the Golden Boy offer [$250,000], which speaks for itself. Given that, we have taken care of Paulie in much better fashion than Golden Boy did. This suggests that the real reason for his displeasure is totally different, and that it has nothing to do with unworthy earnings. Those out-of-the-ring tricks by Malignaggi could ruin his possible fight with the champion."
Union Boxing won the purse bid with what is frankly a larger amount of money than this fight is worth, and as such want to hold the fight in Ukraine, Senchenko's home turf, since that's where they're based, that's where the fight's audience is, and, you know, it's their money.
What Malignaggi was expecting to happen, I don't know. Truth is, he's been talking his way out of this since the morning that Union won the purse bid, as everyone assumed was a certaintiy. But he didn't wait long to respond. Unfortunately there are some big holes in his defense.
Here's what Malignaggi said to BoxingScene.com about the money issue, which seems to be his real grievance, or at least is what he's pushing as his main grievance:
"You're not talking to that last guy he fought, whoever he is, or that guy that he fought out of Japan. You're not dealing with a guy who's never had a payday in his life. I made over a million dollars when I fought Ricky Hatton. I made over half a million dollars when I fought Amir Khan. ... If they wanted a fighter like Paulie Malignaggi or any fighter with a halfway decent resume, they should have put their money where their mouth is - and not offered a quarter of a million dollars. That's a quarter of a million dollars before any expenses. I haven’t fought for a quarter million since the [Miguel] Cotto fight [in 2006]. Nobody is going to make me take this fight for short money."
The part about Malignaggi not fighting for $250,000 since his fight with Miguel Cotto in 2006 is just plain not true.
Malignaggi's last fight in October was against Orlando Lora on the Hopkins vs Dawson card, and his purse that night was $75,000. That's straight from the California commission.
His fight before that, against Jose Miguel Cotto in April 2011, he fought for $75,000. That's straight from the Nevada commission.
He's being offered $250,000 here, or in other words, way more than he's made since fighting Amir Khan in 2010. He hasn't made that money because frankly, most people wrote him off after Khan demolished him that night. The fight was not remotely close. Malignaggi handled that loss with class, as he has all of his other clean and clear losses.
But Paulie Malignaggi is 31 years old, not a true welterweight, and is frankly lucky to be in this title shot position in the first place. The $250K they're offering him is actually quite a healthy fee for someone in his position.
Now, Malignaggi's argument that Golden Boy didn't bid high because nobody cares about Senchenko and he's not U.S. TV material is fair enough. Golden Boy had no reason to bid high here. However, that leads me to again ask: What did Malignaggi expect would happen? Everyone knew that Union was going to bid very high and secure this fight. So what was the plan? He knew Golden Boy wasn't going to win the bid. He knew this fight wasn't going to happen on American soil. Senchenko and Union Boxing hold the cards here, and again, their offer just isn't quite as insulting as he's making it out to be.
Malignaggi's status right now, whether he believes it or not, is that of a faded former titleholder. That's why he's been shoved onto small PPV undercards. There's not a ton of interest in Malignaggi anymore after his wipeout defeat at the hands of Amir Khan. If he wants to get to a better position again, he may have no choice but to bite the bullet, go to Ukraine, and fight Senchenko.