"I'll say the best name on his record is Antonio DeMarco, but here's the problem with DeMarco, and sometimes we go through this late in our careers and, you know, you see fighters that kind of lose the desire, lose the heart, and lose the determination...To me, it seemed like a DeMarco that had had it. It seemed like a DeMarco that had made enough money to where he could be happy with his family, and that money goes a long way in Mexico where he lives...Antonio DeMarco packed it in that night and he probably packed it in for his career," stated WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi, who spoke more about his highly-anticipated showdown with WBC lightweight champion Adrien Broner. Check out what else he had to say about the fight, Floyd Mayweather's performance against Robert Guerrero, and much more.
BT: Who do you think is the best opponent that Adrien Broner has faced thus far in his career? Ponce De Leon?
PM: Um, I'll say the best name on his record is Antonio DeMarco, but here's the problem with DeMarco, and sometimes we go through this late in our careers and, you know, you see fighters that kind of lose the desire, lose the heart, and lose the determination. I got a feeling...Antonio...this was a guy who was all heart against Edwin Valero, this was a guy who was all heart against Jorge Linares, you know what I'm saying, came back to stop Linares, this was a guy who was really willing to be in the trenches, you know what I'm saying? Basically, when he was behind in a fight, it didn't matter. He would fight until the bitter end. In the Adrien Broner fight, it was almost like once it didn't go his way, he didn't really feel like digging deep. And again, you gotta credit Adrien about that; you gotta give Adrien for taking it to that point, but it didn't seem like the DeMarco that wanted to dig down like for the other fights in his career. It didn't seem to me like that kind of DeMarco. To me, it seemed like a DeMarco that had had it. It seemed like a DeMarco that had made enough money to where he could be happy with his family, and that money goes a long way in Mexico where he lives, and he's going to make this check right now off of Broner, and he probably made a good check because Al provides a good check when you fight his fighters. To me, it seemed like a guy who was content. To me, it didn't seem like an Antonio DeMarco that other guys had to fight, you know? To me, it's a little bit deceiving. In that way, the De Leon fight becomes the toughest fight because De Leon was determined the whole way. DeMarco didn't seem so much. And again, some of the credit has to be given to Adrien for taking him to that point, but at the same time, DeMarco's been a guy who has been to that point and still bit down and fought hard, and he didn't do it, he didn't want to do it, he didn't care about doing it; he was like, "You know what? I'm gonna take this check and go home, man." You know what? He hasn't fought since, he hasn't had a scheduled fight since, he doesn't give a shit. Antonio DeMarco packed it in that night and he probably packed it in for his career. He may come back in a year or two or something like that, he may come back when he wants to, but it's not the same kind of Antonio DeMarco. That grit, that determination, it wasn't there that night. He got to that point in his career when he's like, "Man, I've been through too many bloody battles." And you know what? We're all entitled to fuckin' say that, you know? But to me, that's what it was.
BT: When they were making their decision on Adrien moving up to welterweight, one of the reasons why they chose you was probably because they felt like you weren't a big puncher. A lot of fighters I talk to though always tell me that just because someone doesn't have a lot of knockout, that doesn't mean their punches don't hurt. Do you feel like you don't get the respect and maybe they might be underesitmating you a little bit in the punching department?
PM: I think, you know, if you see the opposition that I fought, they all end up looking pretty bad at the end of the fight.
BT: I remember Cano's face looking messed up.
PM: Yeah, and so was Senchenko's face, so was Orlando Lora's face, you know, they get pretty mangled up when I fight them. It's still a grown man hitting you; it's sharp punches. Yeah, I don't get the respect because I'm very inconsistent, and throughout my career, I've had those inconsistencies. People right away when I have an inconsistent performance will say, "Oh, that's the real Malignaggi." When I have a consistent performance, they'll say, "Oh, you know what? That's because that guy wasn't that good." So the inconsistencies kind of beat out the consistencies, and so because there's that kind of stereotype about me, I've been able to get a lot of big fights; more for my vulnerabilities moreso for just me being the B side, even though in this case, I'm not the B side because I have a title, but technically, really, you know, I mean, I'm the B side anyway, you know what I'm saying? So, basically it's been for my vulnerabilities, but you know, the inconsistencies in a way has been a blessing because it's gotten me big fights, it's gotten me big paydays, it's gotten me these kind of fights where I've gotten to be in the spotlight, but at the same time, it is sometimes disappointing because I felt like my whole career, I did have a good package to promote, to market. I felt like I had the talent to use that marketability and then win fights, and if I had been marketed correctly, I felt like I had the potential to be a superstar. But, you know, despite not having that, I still managed to win 2 world titles. So, you know, in that way, it is disappointing, but then, if it's going to be this way, then in a way, it's a blessing because my vulnerability is getting me big fights.
BT: When you sit back and see the type of network push that's behind a fighter like Adrien Broner, does it surprise you that you never got that same kind of opportunity during your career? I mean, you've got boxing skills too, you've always had the gift of gab, you're definitely a character like him, and on top of that, you're a white guy (laughing), you're Italian. You were doing some entertaining things as well, so one might think you would've had that same type of push at some point too, but you never really did.
PM: Yeah, I've said this before, you know, I think I did it better than him and I think I did it more intelligently than him. I think I was sharper than him in general. You know, I did the hair thing better than him. I didn't just brush my hair; my hair was all kinds of colors, my hair was all kinds of styles. Everything he's doing, yeah, I've done in the past, you know what I'm saying. I just didn't have the marketing team behind me; I didn't have an Al Haymon behind me, you know. Everything I did didn't get paid attention to, you know. It was more like a little kid screaming and you're just trying to calm him down, while what Adrien does kind of gets multiplied; it kind of gets more hype for some reason, you know. At this point, I'm an adult, man, I'm 33 years old, so I don't really think about it much anymore. But yeah, I used to give it some thought. Obviously I think a little bit about it now because I see a guy like Adrien getting this marketing and it's like, "Wow, that's weird. I used to do all this stuff and I did it better than him," you know. Before this though, I had really stopped thinking about it because it's to the point where many people in my career have come up to me saying, "You have very much marketability." Especially early in my career, before I even turned pro, you know, "You have the gift of gab. You're good looking. You're Italian. You can fight." Because I came out of the amateurs a national champion. You know, "You can fight. You have the complexion for the connection." All that stuff. But you know what? Let me tell you something! That's all overrated bullshit. Let me tell you, I do not have the complexion for the connection. I am the last white American fighter in the top 10 of any weight class, and there's a reason for that. This is not the complexion for the connection in the United States. Maybe it's the complexion for the connection in the boxing world in other countries, but being a white American fighter, it is not the complexion for the connection in the United States in the year 2013. It's not. It's actually the opposite. Because why does MMA produce top level white fighters, but boxing doesn't? It's not because all white guys that can fight go to MMA. That's not true. That's not true. It's just the white guys that can fight in MMA get opportunities. The white guys that can fight in boxing, I'm not going to point fingers or start blaming people or anything, but if you really read between the lines, there's a little bit more to that. Being a white boxer in the United States in the year 2013 is far from the complexion for the connection. It's actually the opposite. If you're foreign, you're good though because you come with a hype from your own country, like a Gennady Golovkin, for example, or a Wladimir Klitschko even, but an American white guy, after me, that's it.
BT: Damn! Preach!
PM: And I'm not young ethier.
BT: (Laughing) Is it going to be odd fighting on the same network you commentate for in front of the same people that you're normally working with on fight night?
PM: Yeah, it is a little bit odd. It's funny because I did it already in October, and even in October, I had only worked 1 or 2 shows before the fight. When I went for the fighter meetings and all that stuff, you know, when they talk to you before the weigh-in, it felt weird like, "Hey guys, you know, I'm working with you guys and now I'm getting interviewed by you guys." Now that I've been with them for so long, I'm sure it's going to be even more weird (lauging). I'm so used to talking to them like one of the guys, but now I'm on the other end of the table, so it'll be funny. It'll be funny, but cool.
BT: It's probably going to be weirder for them. I mean, they're probably going to be nervous about the fight because they've built a bond with you after working together for this long now.
PM: Yeah, yeah. That's true. And you know what? There's nothing more frustrating than watching a friend fight because you can't go in there and help them; you can't do anything about it. I get more nervous for my friend's fights than I do my own fights.
BT: Well I've kept you on forever, bro. I don't want to hold you up, but before you get out of here, let me get your thoughts on Floyd Mayweather's performance against Robert Guerrero since you were front and center for all the action.
PM: I thought it was stellar. To be right on the ring and just see what's he's doing that close to the ring, it gives you much more appreciation. You know what it is, man. People, boxing fans and boxing media, are so one-track minded. They're just looking for 1 or 2 things, like power or this...there's so many subtle things that Floyd Mayweather does that if people would actually just relax and watch the fight instead of looking for something to criticize, if they would relax and watch the fight, you'd see the greatness in front of you, you know what I'm saying. I'm a grown ass man and I'm not trying to kiss nobody's ass, but that's the best fighter that ever lived, man. I mean, you can tell me anything you want, but he would disarm Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, and those are great fighters, but he would disarm them all. That's what he does. He disarms you. First he kind of gauges you and then he completely disarms you, and once he disarms you, you're through.
BT: You can almost see the moment when fighters quit against him.
PM: Yeah! Because he disarms you. It's to the point where he's reacting to everything you're doing. It's to the point where you don't even want to throw a punch. I mean, it got to the point where everything Guerrero threw, Mayweather had an answer for it. You're not just missing anymore; now you're missing and paying every single time...every single time. Virtually you don't want to throw any punches, you know what I'm saying. It's kind of crazy. Having said that, you gotta give Miguel Cotto some respect for that, man. I knew that was the best fighter I ever fought in my career, but he's a rough customer for making Floyd have to dig in a little bit, but again, Floyd showed his greatness because that's the thing about Floyd. He's not just talent, he's character too. I always tell people, at this level, it's hard work, it's talent, but it's character. It's all those things. You have to have a combination of all three things and Floyd has them all. It's just the talent is so in your face that people only see that and they complain like, "Oh, he's just running," because part of the talent is that speed in his legs, that speed in his hands, but it's the talent is just blowing at you in your face to the point where it's like, wow, there's so much talent that you actually forget to look for the subtle things. That's why you have to pay attention, you know what I'm saying. He does so many things well and he's got character. Right now, nobody is gonna match him. I couldn't even tell you a fighter that would even give him a good fight. I saw Canelo April 20th, I called the fight, and I saw Mayweather May 4th, I called the fight. I saw them both right up on the ring the past 2 weeks apart. I thought Canelo had a better chance before I saw these past couple of weeks. What I saw these past couple weeks, I'm like, yo, don't put Canelo anywhere near Floyd. Not right now, dude. Don't do it to him. I like Canelo. Don't do it to him. I'm telling you, it won't be close.
BT: No doubt, man. Well I'll let you get out of here. Is there anything else you want to put out there.
PM: Just let everybody know that I support Cara Castronuova's "Knockout Obesity", teaching kids how to box and fight for weight loss, and they can follow me on Twitter @PaulMalignaggi.
CLICK HERE FOR PART 1 OF THIS IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH WBA WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION PAULIE MALIGNAGGI