Feature by Resolution Sports.
“Magic Man” to Face Juan Diaz
As the calendar flips to July, we are creeping closer to the August 22nd showdown between former IBF World Junior Welterweight champion Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi and former IBF World Lightweight champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz. With the catch weight for this fight set at 138.5 pounds, Malignaggi has been training hard to shed a few pounds and meet Diaz midway between their weight classes.
“You have to work a little harder to lose that extra pound or so,” Malignaggi said in a recent interview with James Slater of Eastside Boxing. “I’m a very disciplined fighter, and I’ll be able to do it okay.”
With Malignaggi heading into the hometown of Diaz for this HBO main event in Houston, he commented to Slater regarding thoughts of Diaz being considered the favorite in this fight.
“Based on recent performances, I would expect him to be the favorite,” he remarked. “But that’s the thing, don’t look at my recent performances. I’ll have a lot of answers after the Diaz fight. We are both busy guys, but I’ll be busier on August 22nd.”
Malignaggi (26-2, 5 KOs) last stepped in the ring just in April and took a unanimous decision over Chris Fernandez in the undercard of the Carl Froch-Jermain Taylor fight at the Foxwoods resort in Connecticut.
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.