"I'm excited, you know. I get a chance to be a three-time world champion. It's a chance to put myself in a good position again...Shawn seems like he's got a pretty good jab. Usually, physical guys don't use their jabs very much, but Shawn seem to have a pretty good jab, yet he's a physical guy. You probably gotta kind of get a mixture of the two types of sparring partners in there. But regardless, I've been doing this a long time, so I don't think anything Shawn does is going to be something I haven't already seen," stated two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi, who talked about his upcoming April 19 showdown with IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter. Check it out!
BT: Paulie, now that it's official and you can finally talk about it, give us your thoughts on fighting Shawn Porter for the IBF welterweight title.
PM: I'm excited, you know. I get a chance to be a three-time world champion. It's a chance to put myself in a good position again. Last year at this time, I was starting to get the Adrien Broner fight, you know. I had a world title and I was in a good position, you know, so I think a chance to put myself back in the mix, and the mix I want to be in with a world title, puts me in a more commanding situation for even bigger and better things. You can't go wrong when you win one of the major titles, so a shot at this is what I wanted anyway and I got it.
BT: They announced the fight a little later than they normally do. I take it you got word ahead of time that it might be happening and you've already been in the gym getting ready.
PM: I was in the gym like a month ago, so I'll be good. This past weekend was my last [commentating] work, so it's full speed ahead. But I'm already in shape.
BT: Porter won the title after beating Devon Alexander in a fight that was on the undercard of your Battle for Brooklyn clash with Zab Judah. Did you get a chance to see any of that fight that night or have you watched any video of it since then?
PM: No, I didn't get a chance to because it was the fight before mine. I was starting to warm up a little bit and getting into a groove for my own fight, so I didn't really get a chance to watch it. I haven't watched any video of Porter yet. My team has watched it. I will watch some video, but one thing I prefer to do when I watch video on fighters, I prefer to get sharp first, and once I get sharper in the gym, it's like my eyes start to see more. It's really weird, dude. The way I am, like, if I'm in training, my eyes are sharp and I pick up on things faster. So if I watch a video at the beginning of camp and then I'll watch a video towards the end of camp, I'll see a lot of different things that I didn't see before, you know what I'm sayin', because I'm a lot sharper. Even my eyes are a lot more sharper, a lot more focused, and a lot more alert. So what I started doing is I stopped watching film early on in camp, you know, because I'd rather get real sharp first. In the coming weeks, I'ma start to watch film though because I'm getting sharper in the gym and stuff like that, so I'm gonna start watching Porter a little bit more on video. But I didn't get a chance to really watch the fight with Devon because I was doing my own warm-ups and my own preparations for the fight with Zab. But it was a good win for him; it was a solid win for him. I know a lot of people didn't think he'd get that win, so you gotta give him credit for that.
BT: Were you surprised to hear that he got the win?
PM: I gotta be honest, I thought Devon would beat him. I thought Devon would beat him on points. Shawn's a grinder, but I thought Devon would be a little too smooth for him. But Shawn came real prepared, he came with a good game plan, and I think he caught Devon off guard and he caught a lot of people off guard with that performance. But it's good that he did that because people now know what he's capable of, including me, so going into a fight with a guy like that, you know, you can't underestimate him and you can't be caught off guard or be surprised.
BT: Is it difficult to prepare for a guy with a style like that? Is it difficult to find guys who can duplicate that grinding, mauling style in sparring?
PM: Yeah, you know, you gotta have a little bit of a balance because Shawn seems like he's got a pretty good jab. Usually, physical guys don't use their jabs very much, but Shawn seem to have a pretty good jab, yet he's a physical guy. You probably gotta kind of get a mixture of the two types of sparring partners in there. But regardless, I've been doing this a long time, so I don't think anything Shawn does is going to be something I haven't already seen. You prepare for whatever you think might be the case, but then on fight night, you always gotta make adjustments because there's always little surprises in there regardless. I think that's what one of my strengths are is my ability to adjust and my ability to think in there and figure stuff out as a fight's going along because ultimately at a world-class level, plan A usually gets thrown out the window at a certain point because your opponent will adjust, so you're gonna have to go to plan B and C, and that's where really the fight unfolds and that's where you usually start to see the differences in world-class fighters to lesser level fighters, you know.
BT: Do you think that's the biggest advantage you have going into this fight, the fact that, regardless of whether you won or lost, you've been in with just about every type of style?
PM: People don't understand, sometimes you learn from losses; sometimes you learn from rough fights you have. You can't look at me and say, "Oh, Paulie lost to so and so, so this fight is not good for him," because really, you learn to make adjustments. I'll give you an example. Everybody, for awhile, thought that roughing up Floyd Mayweather was the way to fight him. "Hey man, look what Jose Luis Castillo did to him in the first fight. He just roughed him up. See what happens when you rough up Floyd Mayweather." Since Jose Castillo roughed up Floyd Mayweather in that first fight or used that tactic, you know, Floyd got the win, but it was close, but he used that tactic; how many guys have tried that blueprint? Have they even come close to winning a fight? You know what I mean? So, you know, a guy learns; a guy gets better from tough situations. That's an example of it right there. How many guys have tried to rough Floyd up since the first Castillo fight? Has there even been any competitive? Maybe Miguel Cotto was a little competitive, but aside from that, has it even been competitive? You have to take fights like that where, you know, maybe it's a rougher, tougher experience in your career, and you get better from them. A good fighter gets better from them. So the dumbasses and critics will say, "Yo, you see. This is the blueprint right here. You see when he did this; this is how you beat this guy." No, because if he's that good, then what you're going to do is adjust to it, so the next time somebody comes with that kind of style, it's not going to work. I think that's important even with the approach I've taken. There's been things that haven't worked for me in my career and you adjust; you adjust from bad experiences and you get better.
BE SURE TO CHECK BACK SOON FOR MUCH MORE FROM TWO-DIVISION WORLD CHAMPION PAULIE MALIGNAGGI
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