The Monday press conference featuring Paul Malignaggi and Artem Lobov, touting their June 22 scrap in Florida on a Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship card — the promotion’s sixth event — was a viral sensation.
They clashed in Manhattan, and the retired pugilist and current Showtime analyst went off the rails. Paulie launched into a massively profane tirade and tried to bonk the Russian Lobov with a microphone and even spat at Lobov.
We talked to BKFC boss David Feldman on Everlast “TALKBOX” (1:10:14 mark) about the event.
“(Malignaggi) lost his cool, he did apologize a couple times for what he did, he didn’t apologize really for anything he said, he apologized for spitting, he spit at Artem, and actually got a little bit on me,” Feldman said.
“This is the fight game, there’s hot tempers. I don’t condone that type of behavior, but at the same time, I mean, there’s only so much you can do to control it. It’s promoting the event, everybody’s talking about it right now.”
Indeed; the promoter told us he believes that “it definitely exceeds 100,000,” when I asked what he thinks he could attract on PPV. They put tickets on sale Tuesday, and 40% of tix at the Florida State Fairgrounds in a 4,200-seat joint were sold after a couple hours, the promoter stated.
Paulie went off because he is still heated, I think, from that sparring he did with UFCer Conor McGregor back before the McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather bout in 2017. Paulie even admitted Monday that if him and Conor had sparred 12 rounds, Conor might well have knocked him out, because he went to the Conor camp out of shape. Lobov is seen as part of the Conor crew, so Paulie wants to smash the Russian and then maybe lure McGregor to the bare knuckle set.
Feldman told us that the oddsmakers have installed Lobov as the betting favorite. He thought Paulie would have been a 3- or 4-to-1 favorite. He is keen to watch it as a fan, and I concur.
Lots of athletes are talking to Feldman about going to BKFC, partly because they hear the pay is good.
“They’re both getting paid well,” Feldman allowed. No, not the rumored $3 million for Paulie. “He’s not making that kind of money.” But Lobov is making more than he ever has and, Feldman said, Paulie is making more than he’d be making in any other fight event.
He continued: “They both have huge egos. Paulie has so much to lose, he talks so much trash on MMA fighters, so he has way more to lose than Lobov does. He’s going to fight his ass off. They are gonna bang it out.” Paulie will quickly understand that the bare knuckle deal is a different animal, and that will be made apparent to watchers right quick, said the BKFC chief.
More intel; nope, there won’t be a concession made, and they won’t be using mini boxing gloves, so we indeed will see how Paulie’s hands, which he’s had issues with for decades, hold up.
“True bare knuckle, with a little bit of wrist support. This is one hundred percent bare knuckle,” Feldman shared.
And yes, the BKFC events will be available on all the top tier cable and satellite platforms, for your viewing pleasure.
Now, talk to me: who wins and how? Malignaggi versus Lobov, June 22, bare knuckle on PPV?