The IBF welterweight title fight between Shawn Porter and Paulie Malignaggi has been confirmed for April 19 at Washington DC.
Both men picked up impressive wins on the same December 7 card in Brooklyn, New York. Malignaggi won a unanimous decision in a local derby against fellow Brooklynite Zab Judah, while Porter caused an upset in annexing Devon Alexander’s world title.
Malignaggi offered his thoughts on Porter, and broke down the tactics for the fight. As usual, “The Magic Man” pulled no punches regarding his opponents’ strategy.
“He’s a very ugly fighter," he said in an exclusive interview. “He doesn’t do anything great, but he’s in very good shape and he's very adept at messing up your style.
"If you let him do that he can make you uncomfortable, and you end up in a physically demanding, tough fight."
Paulie, now commentating for Showtime in America, combines his role at ringside while still fighting at the top level of the sport.
He has won six of his last seven bouts, beating the likes of undefeated WBA champion Vyacheslav Senchenko and Zab Judah. His only loss was a close decision to Adrien Broner in a fight which many people had him winning.
“I know what to do. I think I’m more talented than Shawn Porter, but I just have to be sharper and more consistent than him," he continued.
“He puts his head in your chest, pushes you off balance. If you make one false defensive move, and get yourself out of position defensively then he can follow up with punches based on your false move.”
Malignaggi was under no illusions that Porter uses foul tactics to create openings: “Sometimes he forces that false move by throwing a headbutt in there and makes you pull back in a way you shouldn’t. So I’ve noticed some things in the video I’ve watched. He’s got a very ugly style.”
He acknowledges that Porter will press the fight, and that he will have to be in top condition to come out victorious.
“It’s going to take a good training camp, I’m going to get sharp. I believe being first is the key.”
Porter has had good preparation for this fight by fighting another slick boxer in his last bout, but Paulie believes that his experience will be the deciding factor.
“I don’t think a fight is ever easy with Shawn Porter, he has a high work ethic, but in the end I’m old school, more experienced, but it won’t be an easy night.”
The winner of the showdown must then take on IBF mandatory, Kell Brook.