Feature by Resolution Sports.
Former IBF Junior Welterweight Champ Plays Role of Little Mac in Punch Out Commercial
Any boxing fan that has seen Paulie Malignaggi in the ring knows that “The Magic Man” is a versatile fighter. What many may not have known is that Malignaggi is even more versatile when he steps through the ropes and outside of the squared circle.
Much to the delight of any old school Nintendo player, the dust was recently blown off of another thumb-numbing classic video game. Punch Out made its debut on the Wii this past week to rave reviews, but arguably the most buzz surrounding the game is for the witty trailer of the reborn hit. Malignaggi was casted over a platoon of professional actors to revise the character of Little Mac, the resolute fighter that used to battle for a shot against the immovable Mike Tyson in households worldwide back in the late 1980’s.
“This situation was kind of weird, though,” Malignaggi commented. “The character I had to play was a young Italian-American guy, good looking with a cocky attitude and a heavy New York accent. I saw that and I was like ‘Wow, this is me.’ I didn’t have to act. I was just myself.”
While an acting career in his post-boxing life seems imminent, the current focus of Malignaggi undoubtedly remains in the ring. In his first fight with Sherif Younan as his trainer, he chalked up another professional victory in a decision over Chris Fernandez in April. Next up for the Magic Man (26-2) is a June 27th bout against undefeated Mike Alvarado (25-0) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Malignaggi is a former IBF Junior Welterweight champion, and he is currently on a path to fight his way back to the top of the rankings.
“I still have a lot to give, I promise you that,” Malignaggi said. “I have a lot of great fights left in me.”
Malignaggi became the IBF World Junior Welterweight champion when he defeated Lovemore N’dou in a 12-round unanimous decision on June 16, 2007. He successfully made his first title defense on January 5, 2008, by taking a unanimous decision over Herman Ngoudjo and again defeated N’dou in a successful title defense last May. Although he did not lose it in the ring, the Magic Man vacated his IBF World Junior Welterweight title this past September.
Malignaggi made his professional debut at the age of 20, scoring a first round knockout of Thadeus Parker on July 7, 2001. Prior to that, he had a stellar amateur career, winning both the 1998 and 2001 New York Golden Gloves Amateur Championships, the 2001 U.S. National Amateur Championship and the 2001 Everlast U.S. Championship. His only two losses have come by the hands of then-undefeated Miguel Cotto and this past November against then-IBO Light Welterweight Champion Ricky Hatton in the main event of an HBO card in Las Vegas.
Malignaggi was born in Brooklyn, New York, but moved to Sicily when he was only a few months old. At the age of six, he moved back to the United States, and he began boxing when he turned 16 years old, learning his craft at the legendary Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn.