New York area boxers are getting some good looks on upcoming cards, with Paul Malignaggi, arguably, topping the list of striving pugilists.
The "Magic Man," who will pick up a Boxing Writers Association of America award at their May 1 gala, as 2013 broadcaster of the year, for his work on Showtime, will first look to take care of in-ring business, against Shawn Porter.
The light-ish puncher, who is one of the top ring generals in the sport, seeks to snag his third world title, against the Ohio-based Porter (23-0 with 14 KOs; age 26), who nabbed the WBC welterweight crown from Devon Alexander on Dec. 7, 2013, at Barclays Center.
Malignaggi (33-5 with 7 KOs; turns 34 in November) topped that card, and beat faded vet Zab Judah (UD12), in the "Battle of Brooklyn."
I checked in with Malignaggi, who now again resides in NY, after exiling himself to LA for a fresh start a few years ago.
How can Porter, who wasn't seen as a world-beater by most coming into the Alexander fight, beat you?
"He can't," said the truth addict, who delights fight fans with his candid insights as a color man. "I'm too good," he continued. "No fancy answers, I'm too good for Shawn Porter, it's as simple as that."
That bout will unfold underneath a Bernard Hopkins-Beibut Shumenov light heavyweight title consolidation beef, from Washington DC, on Apr. 19, to run on Showtime. Also on that card, WBO middleweight champion Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin, age 30, will see action.
He's in against Lukas Konecny, a 35-year-old Czech with a 50-4 mark, who has never fought in the US since turning pro in 2001. I expect Quillin, who is still seeking that defining signature fight and win in his career, in which he has collected a 30-0 (22 KOs) record, to win handily.
I chatted with Quillin about the bout, and touched on his career, as a whole.
The boxer, who is counting down to his wife's due date, in July, joked that he didn't know much about the Czech, and had been pronouncing his name "Connecticut."
"He's going to make an exciting fight," said Quillin, noting that Konecny has never been stopped and that would be something to aim for.
Quillin said after a Konecny win, he'd like to make 2014 his year. He wants to become "legendary," and he'd welcome a mega-bout, against a Sergio Martinez, or a Gennady Golovkin. But he can't make the matches, he said. A political-business gulf between his promoter, Golden Boy, and HBO, means that those aforementioned bouts, against the HBO-aligned Martinez and Golovkin, aren't likely to occur in the near future. "It's really about the money at the end of the day," he said, while declaring that if the pot were to grow large enough, one of those marquee bouts could get made even if political differences exist.
"So let's go fight on free TV, and get some [big] sponsors," Quillin floated to me. But if that doesn't happen, he said, then basically people will be staying in their prescribed lanes, and what will be, will be. "I would like to fight on free TV," he repeated.
A decent alternative would be a Quillin showdown against Brownsviller/Park Sloper Danny Jacobs (27-1 with 24 KOs; age 27), who has looked ultra-sharp against so-so foes since kicking cancers' tail a couple years ago. But Quillin knows he isn't at the level of a Floyd Mayweather, where he can pick his own foes, so really, he tries to stay in his own lane, and let the matchmaker sorts make the matches.
Other NYC hitters readying themselves for treks to DC include Staten Island's Marcus Browne, the 23-year-old light heavy who wants to go to 10-0, with a win over seasoned vet Otis Griffin (24-15-2). Brooklyn's Sadam Ali, a 25-year-old welterweight, will test his skills and 18-0 mark against 17-3 Jeremy Bryan. Ali is advised by Anthony Catanzaro, who also advises Malignaggi, and middleweight Matthew Macklin. Macklin (30-3; age 31) has a dance date with 33-year-old Aussie Daniel Geale, the ex IBF middleweight champ. They'll bump heads on May 24, site TBD, set for ten rounds or less, on HBO, according to Catanzaro.
Long Beach, Long Islander Seanie Monaghan seeks to continue his climb up the 175-pound ranks, with a Saturday night waltz with Joe McCreedy (15-6-2) underneath the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley rematch in Las Vegas. Monaghan is what they used to call a "lunchpail" type; nothing fancy, more stamina and strength, it could be argued, than slick science in his game. Monaghan (20-0 with 13 KOs; age 32) told me he'd welcome a crack at WBO light heavy champ Sergey Kovalev down the line, if, as expected, he takes out McCreedy.
"I'd love it, no doubt Kovalev is a beast, but I see some holes in his game," Monaghan told me. "Plus, he's the only champ who I don't have a promotional conflict with." Monaghan is signed to Top Rank, which doesn't play well, and vice versa, with Golden Boy, which has contracts with Bernard Hopkins and Beibut Shumenov, who also hold crowns at 175.
"Top Rank mentioned me versus Jurgen Braehmer," a German who holds the WBA version of the strap, and just downed Enzo Maccarinelli last Saturday, "in October. There's shady judging over there, though."
A more concrete possibility, Monaghan mentioned, would be a slot on the June 7 Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto undercard at Madison Square Garden. Top Rank is co-promoting, with Lou DiBella, and Elvir Muriqi has been floated as a possible Monaghan foe for the opening. Ex 154 pound champ Yuri Foreman, a Park Slope, Brooklyn resident, who fights for DiBella, will likely land on that bout sheet, as well. The 33-year-old has taken a deliberate path back to now, after taking 2012 off following a defeat to Pawel Wolak. He has a stellar record (32-2), and good name recognition, and patience, with his desire to restore a level of crispness before undertaking a stab at another crown.
Long Island is enjoying something of a pugilistic awakening, it could be argued, with the news that Chris Algieri will get a crack at "The Siberian Rocky," Ruslan Provodnikov. "Rocky" engaged in the 2013 BWAA Fight of the Year, with Tim Bradley, narrowly losing a decision, though he had Bradley out on his feet when the bell tolled to end the final round. Promoter Joe DeGuardia has done a solid job building up the Huntington resident, brick by brick, to the point he has a 19-0 (8 KOs) record, and a chance to outbox a fighter who also possesses a huge reservoir of stamina, Provodnikov.
Their fight, for Provo's WBO junior welter strap, will unfold at the Nassau Coliseum, on June 14, and on HBO. The Coliseum didn't even get much love when another Huntington guy, Gerry Cooney, was breaking jaws on the way up in the 70s, and into the 80s. Cooney crushed Ron Lyle there in 1980, but plied most of his trade at MSG, at the Felt Forum, and some in Atlantic City. The Barclays bunch is re-doing the Coliseum, and have promised to make boxing a large element of the slate at that arena, a plan which would be boosted measurably if Algieri were able to down the 30-year-old Russian with a 23-2 mark.
Sunset Park's Gabriel Bracero has his fingers tightly crossed. The junior welterweight contender is hearing that he's in the deep mix to fight Danny Garcia, the WBA and WBC 140 pound champ, or perhaps Adrien Broner, the talented hitter who inspires hatred in many circles for his bragging and outside-the-ring deeds and missteps. Broner fights Carlos Molina May 3, underneath the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana tangle, in Vegas. Bracero's trainer/advisor Tommy Gallagher of Queens would dearly love his kid, who is a walking advertisement for the positive powers of the boxing game upon a person who could easily go off the rails of lawfulness without a potent reason for being, would embrace either opportunity. He'd tell you Bracero is an underdog in either bout, but has a heart that makes it unwise to write him off, and a style which will please TV execs, and those watching.
Luis Collazo (35-5; age 32) has a date locked down, on that same May 3 card. His scrap against Pakistani-Brit Amir Khan, which is a pairing basically universally embraced by hard-to-please fight fans, will screen on Showtime pay-per-view. The southpaw Collazo scored a KO of the Year 2014 contender when he dropped and stopped Victor Ortiz Jan. 30 in round one at Barclays Center, and picked up the WBA international welter crown for his effort. The Collazo-Khan bout will be for the vacant WBC silver welterweight title.
Collazo has campaigned for a showdown with Floyd Mayweather, at Barclays, and should he be able to stop the iffy-chinned Khan (28-3, two losses by stoppage; age 27), a former titlist at 140, his campaign will get a massive boost.
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