By Ross Kelly
After a 15 month absence from the ring, former two-division champion Paulie Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KOs) returns to the squared circle in a welterweight match with the undefeated Danny Garcia (30-0, 17 KOs). The fight will take place as part of a Premier Boxing Champions telecast on ESPN on Saturday, August 1.
Malignaggi is a former IBF Light Welterweight and WBA Welterweight champion and this fight will be contested at the 147-pound welterweight limit. Since moving up to welterweight in 2010, Malignaggi sports a record of 6-2. Before the move he had struggled to make weight in the light welterweight class and had lost three of his previous five fights. His last fight came in April 2014 to Shawn Porter for the IBF Welterweight title. It was a one-sided affair as an early cut affected Malignaggi for the rest of the match and he was defeated by TKO in the fourth round.
Like Malignaggi, Garcia also struggled to make the 140-pound limit in his previous fights and this will be his debut as a welterweight. Garcia was even forced to relinquish one of his two world titles after fighting his last two fights at a catchweight. If the move to welterweight is a permanent one, then Garcia will also be forced to give up his other light welterweight title. Garcia’s last bout was majority decision victory over Lamont Peterson in April 2015 which pushed his record to 30-0.
This matchup will be a true clash of styles as Malignaggi is a highly-skilled, finesse boxer while Garcia brings serious punching power. 57% of his victories have come via knockout compared to 21% for Malignaggi. If there is a knockout in this fight, chances are it will be delivered by Garcia. However, Malignaggi says he feels more comfortable fighting as a welterweight and he has more fight experience than Garcia at that weight.
The Brooklyn-born Malignaggi will definitely have the Barclays Center crowd’s support in his fourth fight in front of his hometown fans. Outside of the ring, Malignaggi is a critically-acclaimed analyst for Showtime Championship Boxing. In 2014 he was honored with the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism.” Always looking to expand his portfolio outside the ring, Malignaggi has a weekly Play.It podcast that’s also available on iTunes. He also recently filmed “A Day in the Life” for Showtime in anticipation of the fight.
The PBC card will also feature WBA Middleweight champion, Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs (29-1, 26 KOs), who is another Brooklyn native. Jacobs will put his title on the line against former WBC Light Middleweight champion Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora (28-3-2, 9 KOs).
The action gets started on August 1 at 9 PM ET and will air live on ESPN.