Paul Malignaggi has been off radar for a long spell after being let go by Showtime.
The fighter-turned-analyst is tip-toeing back into the mix, though, and did an interview on Paige VanZant and Brian Soscia’s “Knuckle Up Radio,” a SiriusXM program.
The hosts asked the former titleholder what he thought about his sorta-rival Conor McGregor losing to Dustin Poirier last Saturday at UFC 257. Paulie gave Poirier credit, because the underdog had faced and lost to McGregor before, so he had to get over that mental hurdle.
“I tend to not be a guy who holds on (to things), but image-wise, I kinda took a hit when that McGregor thing happened,” Malignaggi said, regarding to some sparring he engaged in with McGregor before Conor fought Floyd Mayweather.
Malignaggi, who admitted he ponders fighting again, was let go by Showtime after an interview drew heat, because he delved into race matters. The Showtime dismissal event popped up when Paulie noted that Conor threw barbs at him when he got fired.
But for the first few minutes of the interview, Paulie, who turns 41 in November, stayed fixated on a sparring match he says as unfairly edited to make him look bad. He dismissed Conor as being “all bluster,” and “a bit of an immature guy,” so maybe he’s still dreaming of sorting it out with the Irishman in a ring of some sort.
Malignaggi told the hosts that McGregor is not letting their sparring match go, all these years later. Would Paulie (36-8, 7 KO) fight Conor in a bare knuckle match? Malignaggi competed at BKFC 6 in 2019, losing a controversial decision to Artem Lobov.
“I don’t have to work, so in order to entice me, you have to pay me pretty well,” he said. “As you get older, your body just doesn’t get through training camp the same way.”
The ex-UFC fighter VanZant, 26, is debuting in the bare knuckle sphere on Feb. 5 , so she picked Paulie’s brain for some of his takeaways stemming from his bare knuckle foray. He said it’s smart to expect getting blood; without boxing gloves, the knuckles tend to be slicing agents, so that should be on her radar. He said he hurt his right hand really early on, the one that had been operated on several times, and that made it so he wasn’t as busy as he’d have liked. “I broke one hand and the one hand I was using was like a balloon,” he shared.
My Three Cents: It was interesting hearing Paulie’s rat-a-tat again. I’m not sure if he has a domestic “no compete” clause from his old Showtime deal that could still be in effect, but his skills as a ringside analyst are superb. At some point, we’ll be hearing from him even more. No telling when, though, he gets over that McGregor sparring incident — it’s clear the darn thing still takes up space in his head.