Both men can be combustible, and often are.
Paul Malignaggi showed his zest for trash talk not long ago at the presser to announce his Dec. 7 clash, "The Battle of Brooklyn," against Zab Judah, when he laced into the media for being know-nothings more interested in parading their ignorance and delving into National Enquirer-level material than being respectable journalists.
And Zab Judah showed a wide range of his personality the week of his April 27 clash against Danny Garcia, when he was up in arms at the prefight presser for that Barclays Center bout, because, he said, he'd been cooped up in a room, for hours, without water, because event planners didn't want him and Garcia to fight before the fight.
Those two gents, though, were nowhere to be found on a Tuesday conference call to hype their showdown on a Golden Boy card, which will determine if rooters from Judah's Brownsville or Malignaggi's Bensonhurst will be more merry that evening. The 36-year-old Judah and the just-turned-33 Malignaggi were the height of professionalism, and had basically nothing but kind words for each other.
Both made sure to mention while they had mutual respect, this wouldn't be a sparring match, a pugilistic "friendly," and all involved made it clear the two vets are both still in the mix with the elite.
"This is nowhere near my last fight," said Judah, who noted that Floyd Mayweather, Juan Manuel Marquez and Bernard Hopkins are all still competing on a high level, though they are up in years. "I am the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world," declared Judah, 1-2 in his past three bouts.
"This fight has the potential to be the greatest fight the Barclays Center has seen," said Malignaggi, a skilled seller who was labeled the best color commentator working today by promoter Richard Schaefer. He surprised to the upside, in the eyes of many, in a loss in his last outing to Adrien Broner.
These are two slick, smart pugilists, and the fight will likely not be a slobberknocker special, one to appeal to the masses who aren't as keen on the sweetly scientific elements of the sport. But even if the scrap isn't a Fight of the Year candidate, the card is pretty packed, and tickets start at $25, so it should be a good night of fights.