by Chris Cella
This Saturday night at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, as part of Showtime Championship Boxing, WBA World welterweight champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KO) is considered an under-card fighter when he steps into the ring against challenger Pablo “El Demoledor” Cesar Cano (25-1-1, 19 KO), but don’t expect fans to treat this fight as any less than a main event.
The Brooklyn native Malignaggi is one of New York’s favorite boxing sons and packs the venue each time he goes to battle. The 31-year-old Italian American boxer has been awaiting the opening of the Barclays Center for two years, anxious for his debut in front of his hometown fans.
About making his long-awaited debut in Brooklyn, Malignaggi shared, “It feels great. It feels great, man. This is one of the main reasons I was happy to sign with Golden Boy two years ago, that I could be part of this show and I could be part of this event on a big stage in a big fight. And I was glad I did my job and Golden Boy did a tremendous job bringing me back, and now the moment is here and I’m ecstatic for it.”
Through his career, Malignaggi has shone using his quick feet and his technical boxing abilities, but has fallen short when he stepped up against elite competition, suffering losses to Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Juan Diaz and Amir Khan. His inability to defeat these opponents has held him back from being considered in the top echelon of fighters, though he has never lost his drive to work his way to the top.
In his last fight–a 9th round TKO war over Vyacheslav SenchenkoErik Morales, who will be fighting in the main event of the evening against Danny Garcia—last September.
About his upcoming battle against Malignaggi, Cano commented, “This is the best preparation I have ever had. I respect Paulie tremendously, but I also feel that my youth, my strength, my motivation and my preparation will guide me to win and if I want bigger fights, I have to win this fight to go on to bigger and better fights.”
Saturday night’s bout with Malignaggi will be a good indication as to what level Cano is at in his career, and what lies ahead in his boxing future.
Stepping between the ropes in Malignaggi’s backyard as an underdog will be the ultimate test for the young fighter as he looks to make a name for himself in one of the most stacked divisions in boxing.
“I’ve seen a little bit of footage,” said Cano. “There’s not too much on the Internet that I’ve been able to obtain. But we have seen a few and worked on some things in the gym. But at the end of the day that goes out the window because what unfolds inside the ring might not be what you’re preparing for.
“So I’m very confident in my team, in the work we’ve done, that once we step into the ring and start working on our adjustment, to make an adjustment in our plan, that you will see a very good fight and we will be victorious come October 20th.”
Come Saturday night the Barclays Center will be electrified as Malignaggi looks to continue his winning ways and work his way to another unified title fight, while Cano is anxious to derail the hometown favorite and take his career to the next level.
Part of a four championship bout fight card, the Showtime Championship Boxing telecast begins live at 8 p.m. Eastern.