By: Hans Themistode
Paulie Malignaggi sits back and reminisces about the good ole days. Having spent almost half of his life under the bright lights of professional boxing, Malignaggi remembers a time when winning a world title was once a sacred and rare accomplishment.
Over the course of his near-decade and a half-long career, Malignaggi beams with pride when he speaks of winning his world titles. In 2007, one year after losing in his first attempt at a championship against Miguel Cotto, Malignaggi dethroned former IBF super lightweight champion Lovemore N’dou.
Roughly five years later, Malignaggi began his second championship reign following his ninth-round stoppage win over former WBA welterweight titleholder Vyacheslav Senchenko.
Although those championship runs rank near the top of Malignaggi’s pugilistic career, he believes with the proliferation of world titles in today’s day and age, that once rare accomplishment has lost its luster.
“Now, you’re making secondary belts of the same sanctioning body belt,” said Malignaggi on Paulie TV. “You’ve got the supertitle with the WBA and the Regular title but you never see those two guys fighting each other. At one time, there would’ve been a demand for the number one and two guys fighting each other, and they would’ve wanted the fight, or at least the guy with no belt would’ve wanted the fight.
“Now, in the everybody gets a belt generation, everybody just says ‘hey you know what? I don’t have to fight him. I can just parade myself on the network that I fight for as a world champion and the network that I fight for will call me a world champion.”
To further expound on his point, Malignaggi looks at Gervonta Davis as a prime example of the mendacious characteristics associated with the sport of boxing.
“Case in point, Showtime calling Gervonta Davis a three-division world champion. Even though he has never won a world title at 135 pounds and he has never won a world title at 140 pounds. He has been a champion at 130 pounds.”
Davis, 27, has spent the past several years of his career competing in numerous weight classes. Following his seventh-round stoppage win over Jose Pedraza in 2017, Davis successfully wrapped the IBF 130 pound title around his waist.
However, since then, Davis has failed to compete for a full-fledged title. In December of 2019, Davis scored a 12th round stoppage victory over long-faded former champion Yuriokis Gamboa. In the process, Davis claimed the vacant WBA “Regular” 135 pound title.
In 2021, Davis brazenly took on former WBA “Regular” champion Mario Barrios at 140 pounds. Despite struggling early on, Davis managed to find the fight-ending blow in the 11th. As a result, Davis once again captured a secondary world title.
Although Davis is constantly referred to as a multiple-division champion, Malignaggi shakes his head in disgust. While the former two-division champion has the utmost respect for Davis and his overall skill set, he adamantly disagrees with anyone who believes he’s a multiple-division champion.
“This does not take away from the fact that he is a very good fighter but he is not and never has been a world champion in multiple weight classes.”
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