Paulie Malignaggi Can’t Keep His Mouth Shut Long Enough to Keep His Showtime Job

by spicyray

It is never a good sign when a fighter prides himself on bravado but struggles with sensitivity and emotional dysregulation. When those two are combined, the result is explosive.

Former world champion Paulie Malignaggi sees himself as the epitome of an Italian man, combined with a bit of a street thug image. As he most likely sees it, machoism compensates for any lack in other areas, especially when you are 5’5″, 130 pounds.

He is bold, loud, and often profane. And while his antics make for fun interviews, the reality is that at 39, Malignaggi has serious issues, so much so that he cannot recognize them. For a long time, the producers at Showtime Boxing were unable or unwilling to do anything about it.

But his behavior finally grew tiresome, and he was fired in July of this year. According to Thomas Hauser’s article for RingTV.com, Malignaggi’s firing could have been avoided up to the last minute, if he had written a scripted letter of apology, just offering the words the higher-ups wanted. But Malignaggi, who competed in the 130 and 140 weight pound division, refused.

Malignaggi is never too shy to speak his mind, and when he talks, his listener might need an excellent hammer to take apart what he is saying. Sadly, in his efforts to avoid mundane conversation, he takes pride in revving things up. He then fails to mull over his thoughts and develops a terrible case of diarrhea of the mouth.

Showtime Boxing has brought in millions of dollars in its more than 25 years in boxing; indeed, Malignaggi had to know this kind of income meant a lot was on the line. As a fighter, Malignaggi, who ended his career with a record of 36-8 (7 KOs), was tough mentally and emotionally in the ring, making it more difficult to understand why he was unable to withstand any perceived negative comments without full-blown defensiveness, aggressive, and irritability.

For example, during the build-up press conferences before his fight against former world champion Adrien Broner, the two men were childish at best. The boxing world knows Broner has an IQ just above room temperature, but from Malignaggi, we expected more.

Malignaggi, and Broner, get into a heated argument

The press conference was foul, horrid, and embarrassing for the sport. Apparently, Malignaggi and Broner had both dated a lady named Jessica, a woman who later tried to get 10 minutes of notoriety out of their shared history. Jessica found herself more attracted to Broner, and she jumped into the fray, saying bad things about Malignaggi, who took great offense.

“There are girls who are close to you and girls that we call weekend [private parts]. Jessica was weekend [private part]. That means Jessica could [expletive] anybody she wants. And when I got time on the weekends, I could do whatever I wanted to do, and she loved it.”

He went on to shamefully say, “She loved getting hit [referring to role-playing] when we slept together. As a matter of fact, Adrien, if you [expletive] her, you already know that….Adrien gets the kind he pays for.”

Broner defeated Malignaggi, as boxing insiders expected he would. Broner, whose ring alias is “The Problem,” showed why many people believe all boxers are brain-damaged when he talked about taking Malignaggi’s belt and Jessica as well. Malignaggi then ran to the mic and yelled, “Don’t talk about taking my side piece.”

Surprisingly, Showtime did not terminate Malignaggi’s contact long before the Broner conference. Still, maybe the network understood that Malignaggi, who joined the company in 2004, was a damn good analyst. The company put itself into a difficult situation by letting Malignaggi stay on their team because it allowed the former 130 and 140-pounder to maintain the status quo and gave him reasons to not change his behavior.

We get that boxing can be a brutal sport filled with corruption and where anything goes. Many boxers get caught up in the sport’s loose regulations.

And at times, it is difficult to fight the fighter when the organization of the major bodies has poor boundaries and is callous. But still, Malignaggi should have had some structure and morals, since he had an excellent contract with Showtime, where he was allowed to travel at no experience and say in friendly hotels.

McGregor is shown on the left jabs Malignaggi

In 2017, UFC fighter Connor McGregor was set to challenge Floyd Mayweather, who was then the pound-for-pound king. McGregor, who had limited boxing experience, brought in Malignaggi. Keep in mind that McGregor was known for his harsh mouth as well. So you combine Malignaggi with his violent tempter and McGregor with his destructive mindset, and it was guaranteed that something would be destroyed.

Sure enough, McGregor released a video of himself and McGregor sparring, and on the surface, McGregor got the best of Malignaggi, knocking him down and later showing pictures of Malignaggi’s face bruised and busted up.

Well, an irritate Malignaggi took to social media, YouTube, and live interviews, defending himself nonstop. “I did see the McGregor fight with Khabib [in which McGregor tapped out], and I didn’t really have a conclusion about it,” said Malignaggi. “It’s what I’ve been saying, I don’t know how many of these bitches need to keep doubting what I’ve been saying. This guy got no balls, no character, and he showed that in the fight again.”

Malignaggi added: “When you’re a [woman’s private parts], it’s always going to come out when you’re in combat sports, you can only hide that fact for so long because you’re going to get crushed. To the point where you’re going to have to show some balls.”

To tremendous backlash, Showtime allowed Malignaggi to provide commentary for the Mayweather-McGregor fight, despite what would have seemed like a conflict of interest.

Malignaggi, who retired from boxing in 2017, took a stab at bare-knuckle fighting. His foe was former UCF fighter, Artem Lobov. During the promotional tour, once again, Malignaggi’s lack of impulse control got the better of him, with comments such as the outlandish threat to put Lobov in an “f—g coma,” while adding that he planned to spit and piss on Lobov’s lifeless body in the ring.

Malignaggi later backed up his words about spitting on Lobov. During one promotional tour, the two boxers came face-to-face and exchanged heated words, and Malignaggi slapped Lobov’ in the face and yelled, “That was a bitch slap for a bitch. I’m going to put you in a body bag.”

Yet another time, he told Lobov, “Don’t get in my face and make threats, here, OK? I got in your face to promote, don’t get in my face to make threats here because I’ll f— you up here, OK?! Next time I’ll smack the s— out of you for real. I smacked you like a little b—- because that’s what you are.” Lobov defeated Malignaggi, whose fighting days as a top competitor are long gone.

The incident that led to him getting fired took place during an interview for IFL TV on YouTube. The interviewer asked Malignaggi his thoughts about WBC lightweight titleholder Devin Haney (24-0, 15 Kos), who said he never let “a white boy beat him.”

It feels like we should have seen Malignaggi’s response coming: “I don’t know if Devin got the memo, it’s no longer the time of the African-American [boxer] anymore in boxing. It’s [the Eastern Europeans] that has become the dominant species in boxing. I try not to join in the race conversations… I don’t believe there is racial oppression in 2020… I believe that it is exaggerated.”

He further argued, “The fact that a black fighter can say that and not pay any price financially– but if a white fighter said that about any Black fighters at all, he’d probably lose his TV contract and probably TV networks wouldn’t touch him, you know… If a white fighter had said that about a Black fighter, ‘that I’ll never lose to a black boy,’ that we’d be outright calling them racist and the reaction would be much bigger.”

In all honestly, Malignaggi’s comments were 100 percent accurate, but his honesty finally opened the door for Showtime to get him out. Maybe because of Showtime severing ties with him, Malignaggi can do some real analysis.

Only instead of looking externally, it is time that he steers that gaze inward; right now, he is in a position to represent the sport of boxing in a better way, showing the public that boxers can be intelligent and carry themselves with pride and dignity. But it looks like he doesn’t care.

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