Turning back the clock in his training has Paulie Malignaggi confident he can do the same with his boxing career.
The the 34-year-old Bensonhurst brawler had to pull out of his last fight with Danny O’Conner on May 29 after suffering a serious cut over his eye during training. But Malignaggi took just two weeks off before getting back in the gym to prep for his main-event fight with Danny Garcia at Barclays Center on Aug. 1. The back-to-back camps reminded Malignaggi of his younger days.
“I felt like it was just enough time to regroup myself, but at the same time it was not enough to get rusty,” Malignaggi said. “I used to train year-round. Sometimes I look at how I used to do it. I don’t know how I used to do that.”
He has focused his time more on strategy, technique, and being ready to execute a game plan against the undefeated Garcia, who is moving up in weight class to 147 pounds to fight live on ESPN as part of the Premier Boxing Champions series. Malignaggi has also brought in trainer Angel “Memo” Heredia as a consultant to help him properly make weight. He feels all of it has him on pace for a big night against Garcia.
“We have some good tricks up our sleeve,” Malignaggi said. “I like the way I am looking. I like the way I feel. I don’t want to jinx myself, but if I go to the fight feeling the way I do right now, I don’t see myself losing the fight. I can’t see myself getting beat in this fight.”
There is a belief that the talented Garcia is ripe for the taking, even with Malignaggi coming off a knockout loss to Shawn Porter back in April of 2014. The Philadelphia native has won by majority decision in two of his last three fights around a knockout of Rod Salka.
“Paulie is comfortable being an underdog,” promoter Lou DiBella said. “Danny has looked somewhat vulnerable recently, and he’s got to face a bigger guy, a more experienced guy.”
Malignaggi invokes a similar style to fighters that gave Garcia trouble, and believes he can throw in some wrinkles to keep Garcia off balance. He still isn’t taking Garcia lightly.
“I’m expecting a very good and very sharp Danny Garcia,” Malignaggi said.
Malignaggi won’t be the only Brooklynite on the card. World Boxing Association middleweight champion Danny Jacobs takes on veteran Sergio Mora in the co-main event. Undefeated Brooklyn heavyweight Adam Kownacki, Gerritsen Beach’s Heather “The Heat” Hardy, Brownsville’s Travis Peterkin ,and Red Hook’s Frank Galarza will fight on the undercard against opponents to still be determined.
Malignaggi is feeling like he can cap a big night with a huge win in his hometown after his most consistent training schedule in recent years.
“I think it is going to be a positive,” Malignaggi said. “I think it is going to work out for me Aug. 1.”
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