By Scott Heritage
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With the Mayweather fight still uncertain and time running out for a decision, Paulie Malignaggi looks like the most likely candidate for a date with Pac-Man. Top Rank boss Bob Arum has even said that the fight with Malignaggi can be finalized within an hour.
That might be a slightly optimistic time scale, but Lou DiBella and Arum can certainly get past most of the problems that the Mayweather fight created.
While he isn’t as big of a star as Floyd Mayweather, Paulie does have an ever bigger gift for the gab than Money, and will no doubt sell a lot of pay per views on the back of that alone.
How many of those people will be wanting to see Paulie get smacked around by Manny and how many think he can win is debatable, but Malignaggi vs. Pacquiao should still be one of the bigger possible fights for Manny at the moment.
On paper this might look like an easy fight for Manny, after all Malignaggi has been battered and broken respectively by Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton, Pacquiao’s two most recent victims. Malignaggi has improved since then however, and rebounded from a robbery decision loss to convincingly outclass Juan Diaz in his last bout.
The fight itself will have to be sold on the fact that stylistically this one might be tough for Manny. Paulie is fast and has excellent defensive boxing skills. He also holds a height and reach advantage over Manny and isn’t going to try to engage like most of Manny’s recent opponents have. Having said that, Manny will still be the heavy favorite at either light or full welterweight. Malignaggi has only been as heavy as 141lbs in the past, but has the size to make the jump if the money is right, and fights against the number one pound for pound fighter tend to be pretty lucrative.
The other factor that this fight will no doubt play on is the fact that Paulie is opinionated to a fault, and has said several times in the past that he believes there is something ‘fishy’ about Manny Pacquiao. (alluding to the use of performance enhancing drugs of some sort). Pacquiao for his part would no doubt welcome the chance to face one of his accusers across the ring, and will probably also enjoy the different challenge that Malignaggi would pose than his recent victories, which have increasingly looked all too easy for the 7 weight champion.
Scott Heritage covers both MMA and Boxing make sure to visit his Website to read his other articles :http://www.examiner.com/x-20066-Pittsburgh-Fight-Sports-Examiner