Feature by Resolution Sports.
Catch Weight Set at 138.5 Pounds for HBO Main Event in Houston
Everything has officially been set for a mega-fight between former IBF World Junior Welterweight champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi and former IBF World Lightweight champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz in the main event of an HBO card in Houston on Saturday, August 22nd. With the two fighters generally doing their work in separate weight classes, the catch weight for this bout has been set right in the middle of their previous weigh-ins at 138.5 pounds.
“This is a fight between two guys looking to prove something,” Malignaggi stated. “We are both coming off losses in big fights, and we are both coming in hungry. Expect fireworks.”
A native of Brooklyn, Malignaggi will likely not have an edge with the crowd when he travels to the hometown of Diaz for this fight, but his camp is still confident that the speedy tactician will prevail in this anticipated barnburner.
“Paulie is confident of his speed and boxing ability and is prepared to win in the lion’s den of Houston,” said Lou DiBella, Malignaggi’s promoter.
Malignaggi (26-2, 5 KOs) last stepped in the ring just over six weeks ago and took a unanimous decision over Chris Fernandez in the undercard of the Carl Froch-Jermain Taylor fight at the Foxwoods resort in Connecticut. Diaz (34-2, 17 KOs) has dropped two of his past three fights, so a lot is on the line as both of these boxers are at somewhat of a crossroad in their careers.
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 to fight then-IBO Light Welterweight Champion Ricky Hatton in the main event of a November HBO card in Las Vegas.
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 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 at the hands of the previously undefeated Miguel Cotto and Hatton.
Malignaggi was born in Brooklyn 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.