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Porter, Malignaggi, Quillin and Konecny interview transcript



Kelly Swanson

Today we have a great conference call to discuss an unbelievable undercard that will be on the “Hopkins vs. Shumenov” fight card at the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 19. I’m looking forward to seeing all of these fights. We’re going to start with Lukas and Pete, and then we will move into Shawn and Paulie immediately upon the completion of these two fighters. So, to make the introductions is Bruce Binkow, the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of Golden Boy Promotions. He is joining us to introduce the fighters and talk a little bit more about the fights.

Bruce Binkow

I totally agree with you; this is going to be a great night, “History at the Capitol.” In keeping with the tradition of SHOWTIME’s terrific tripleheader action, I think we have three amazing televised fights. Obviously, Bernard Hopkins and Beibut Shumenov, who you’ll be hearing from tomorrow, but today we want to talk about two outstanding fights that I think are really exciting in and of themselves. Obviously, Porter and Malignaggi, and the one we’re going to talk about first, Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin and Lukas Konecny.

To reiterate, the fight is Saturday, April 19 at the DC Armory. It’s promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. Our sponsors are Corona, AT&T and Casamigos Tequila. It is airing live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®, which will begin at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. It will be available in Spanish via the SAP Channel. There are some tickets still available starting at just $25 at Ticketmaster.com. The DC Armory box office is open on fight only, so I wanted to stress that again.

Lukas Konecny is from the Czech Republic, and he joins us today from Germany, where he’s training. He’s 50-4 with 23 KOs. He’s a five-time National Champion for the Czech Republic and he also represented his nation in the 2000 Olympics. He’s a former interim WBO Junior Middleweight Champion. He made his permanent move to 160 in 2013.

He’s 35-years old, and is making his U.S. debut after years of fighting Europe’s best. He plans on making it a memorable visit as he challenges for Quillin’s WBO middleweight belt. Without further ado, let me introduce to you Lukas Konecny. Lukas.

Lukas Konecny

By me everything is okay. For example, before every fight I have a big trouble with my weight, but this time everything is okay. Sparring is going quite well and I hope that I can bring a great fight to Washington, D.C.

B. Binkow

Okay. Now I want to introduce a guy that most of you know and have heard from before, one of the most exciting fighters out there, Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin. His record stands perfect at 30-0 with 22 KOs. He’s currently fighting out of Brooklyn, N.Y., although I have to say that I spotted just today a “Kid Chocolate” t-shirt at the gym in L.A., on the west side of L.A., which I think speaks to his growing popularity out there.

He’s wearing the championship belt of the division Hopkins once ruled. Quillin got his reign at 160 off to a rousing start with a decision over Hassan N’Dam for the WBO crown in 2012, and after two successful defenses with stoppages of Fernando Guerrero and Gabriel Rosado he’s ready to take on the challenge of Konecny. He’s 30-years old. He has wins over Winky Wright, Craig McEwan, Jesse Brinkley, and Fernando Zuniga, and he’s eager to begin 2014 with another knockout over the experienced Konecny. Ladies and gentlemen, Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin. Pete.

Peter Quillin

Hi. Thank you for having me on the line. I want to thank Golden Boy, want to thank Al Haymon, I want to thank my whole team, I want to thank my manager, John Seip, I want to thank Gleason’s Gym, I want to thank the D.C. Commission for letting this fight come to the capital, our nation’s capital, and I’m looking to come up in D.C. with a spectacular win, spectacular victory.

Training has been A-1. I’ve been having great sparring sessions. I’ve been learning a lot of valuable lessons about myself with this cat, and I just know that I’m looking to experience everything that Konecny is going to bring in the fight and I think this is what we do as far as challenging ourself and taking something away from every fight. I’m just very humbled by the experience to be able to go and perform at the level I’ve been performing at to hold this belt, and then for sure this belt is coming back to Brooklyn.

Q

How difficult is it not to focus on the rest of the division when you obviously want to be unifying the titles?

P. Quillin

Well, let’s just say, first and foremost, if we worry about too much and don’t remain focused then I wouldn’t have what I have. So I know that Lukas is a strong challenger, very experienced and I’m not going to focus on that. I know he’s going to come and fight for a world title shot. It gives somebody another sense of motivation, so I have to just worry about what’s in front of me, and then after the fight then I can worry these other guys and worry about unifying the belts. But I just know that nothing is possible without looking good in this fight and winning spectacularly to consider myself as one of the best in the world.

Q

Is this potentially one of your more dangerous fights?

P. Quillin

Yes. I can look at any fight and say that they’re dangerous, because, like for instance, I don’t really know anything about Lukas. I just know that I’ve seen some videos of him and he seems very determined and he brings a lot of pressure. I just think I have to really focus on what he’s going to bring, because anybody is very dangerous, especially when they’re fighting for a world title. I’m an American star. This guy is a European star, and he’s pretty big in the Czech Republic and everybody seems to know him. Being a world champion doesn’t mean that I just fight guys in America or guys that American fans are familiar with. I think a world title-holder fights everybody across the world to be able to bring the best out.

So I’ll just stay focused on that. I just know what I’ve been working towards, and motivated being at home training here in Brooklyn, and, like I said, I’m just looking for a spectacular victory.

Q

Lukas, what do you know about Peter and how do you characterize him as far as the level of opponents you faced? How difficult is he compared to the rest of the opponents you’ve faced?

L. Konecny

So, of course, I know he is a world champion, I know he’s taller than me, he’s got a good punch, and he has some skills. He’s, of course, a good world champion, but not a very good one. I think he has more experience, but not with the same style as I have. I have over 250 amateur fights, over 50 professional fights.

Q

Do you mean he’s not a very good champion or are you saying he’s not as good as the other ones? What, what does that mean?

L. Konecny

No, I think he’s a good boxer, he’s a good fighter, he’s a good champion, but I can beat him.

Q

What is his style that you haven’t seen? What about his style have you still not seen?

L. Konecny

He is fast, he moves well, but, but he didn’t have a great coverage. His defense is not the best.

Q

Peter, can you address his comments?

P. Quillin

Yes, I can definitely do that. I can just definitely say that everybody can judge me off of whatever performance they’ve seen from me, but, like he said, he has 250 amateur fights and 50 professional fights. I only have 15 amateur fights and I have 30 professional fights, and I think that’s special within itself. Being one of the first guys to ever put Winky Wright on the canvas; I think I have a lot to show for my work and dedication to boxing. I think it was very special that a lot of guys see the flaws in me, but once they actually step in there with me I fight totally different than they expect. That goes for Hassan N’Dam, Gabriel Rosado, Fernando Guerrero, all these guys that have all the experience to be able to go in a fight and say they can beat me.

Q

What does it mean for you to fight on Bernard Hopkins’ undercard as the middleweight champion knowing that he was so great in that division for so long?

P. Quillin

For me, just looking at it as a business, that part is great promotion for me, to be able to get for somebody that held the same belt and is creating legendary status every time he steps out there. A lot of guys criticize me for not having a main event, but, like I said, fighting on a Bernard Hopkins undercard like this, I learn valuable things outside the ring with Bernard, I catch moments with Bernard all the time, and I’m very thankful to be able to be part of this card. My first being in D.C., I almost thought about changing my name to the ‘Capital Kid’, because going up in there to fight on Bernard Hopkins’ undercard is a privilege to me, and I’m just very thankful.

Q

What specifically do you pick up from your time; you talk about spending outside of the ring with him, what specifically did you pick up from him?

P. Quillin

I always learn that inside of the ring when we wear our boxing uniforms we are professional boxers. When we step outside of the ring I put my business suit on and I become a businessman, and I happen to be on top of my business at all times. I’m talking to my accountant as often as I can. I’m organizing my team making sure that everybody’s delegated a task to be able to make sure that I will not step out there for a fight, that I have nothing else to think about besides how to win. And I learned a lot of those values from Bernard Hopkins and how to organize the many people. So there are a lot of things that I may not be so experienced with, but I can call Bernard up and get any knowledge that I can and he’s willing to share with me.

Q

Lukas, what does it mean to you to be fighting in America for the first time?

L. Konecny

Well, I am fighting in America first time, but only in professional ring. I was over there in ’98 at the Goodwill Games in New York and then ’99 in Houston for the World Championship. So maybe it’s not the first time, but this is a big event.

Q

What exactly is your style and can you describe it for your American audience?

L. Konecny

I think I have a good defense and I make pressure all the time; I can make pressure for all 12 rounds.

K. Swanson

Okay, guys, that is it. Thank you so much. We’re going to go ahead and transition now to talk to Shawn Porter and Paulie Malignaggi. So we appreciate you taking the time out of your training, and we will see you April 19. Thanks.

B. Binkow

So we move into our co-main event, and I would like to start with Mr. Malignaggi. Most of you guys know Paulie; he’s been around, he’s familiar to us all. He’s always exciting to watch. He is currently fighting out of Brooklyn, always fought out of Brooklyn. He’s currently the NABF Welterweight Champion, former two-time, two-division world champion, recently has been winning awards for his commentating work, which we here at Golden Boy are very delighted with. Obviously, he’s on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and the Golden Boy Live on FOX Sports 1 broadcasts, and doing a terrific job. But I think, more importantly, he’s proven that at 33 he’s still one of the top welterweights in the world, so he hasn’t quite made the transition of full time yet.

He first made his mark at the 140-pound weight class when he defeated Lovemore N’Dou in 2007 for the IBF crown. In April 2012, he scored a ninth-round TKO over Senchenko, and it earned him the WBA Welterweight World title. And he went to the Ukraine to do that, which was pretty impressive. He successfully defended his belt against Pablo César Cano during our opening event at Barclays Center, our opening boxing event at the Barclays Center in 2012. He’s become a fixture at the Barclays Center since then. He’s won six out of his last seven bouts, and on April 19 he’s going to attempt to become a three-time world champion. So, with that, I’d like to introduce Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi. Paulie.

Paulie Malignaggi

I’m excited to be on the show. It’s exciting. I want to thank Golden Boy, Al Haymon and the rest of my team for the great job they’ve been doing with me. It’s a chance to capture my third world title, and I’m all about accolades, I’m all about trying to accomplish more in my life as best I can, be it in the ring or outside the ring. As Bruce mentioned, I just got the award for Broadcaster of the Year as well. So I’m just trying to basically be the kind of guy to stay motivated, be it with my work in the ring, out of the ring, and it’s a chance to keep that motivation going with my work in the ring with a chance to capture my third world title.

I respect Shawn; he’s a good champion, he’s a hungry champion, but I feel like I have the experience necessary to put this work into place and get this third world championship. It feels good to still be here. I’m 33-years old, still going strong. I live well; I don’t drink, don’t do drugs, I live a clean life. Even if I like to be out and about a lot I always keep myself healthy. And I think my body of work has proven it, in the last, especially the last few years since I joined up with Golden Boy and I’ve been training with Eric Brown. We’ve done a lot of good things; we’re going to try to continue to do good things.

I think, as far as I’m concerned, I haven’t lost at all in the last three years. Adrien Broner was given my world title, so I feel like I need to win another world title to kind of rightfully get what’s mine. I deserve to be a world champion; I should not have lost that bout. It was basically a win for Broner where I basically became a filler for his, for Adrien Broner’s bullshit resume that he has. My name just became a filler on that resume, and I feel like for that reason I need to get a world title to kind of redeem myself and get what’s rightfully mine.

I mean Shawn worked hard for his, but it’s, it’s a world championship that I want and now I got the chance to do it. So I’ll look forward to the challenge. I’ll look forward to putting on a good show on the 19th of April.

B. Binkow

In order to do that Paulie’s going to have to get through a very tough guy. Shawn Porter is 23-0-1 with 14 KOs out of Akron, Ohio. He was one of the best amateur boxers of this era, and he’s coming off a really impressive win that I’m sure you all saw, his 12-round unanimous decision win over Devon Alexander, where he picked up his IBF Welterweight belt. He has wins over Julio Diaz, Phil Lo Greco, Alfonso Gomez. He’s 26-years old and will be beginning his reign with the belt on April 19 against Paulie. I’d like to introduce you now to Shawn Porter. Shawn.

Shawn Porter

Thank you for the introduction. I want to thank God, want to thank my team, thank Al Haymon, Golden Boy Promotions. They’ve been promoting me since I came back in 2012, and it’s been great. I’m an IBF champion now. That’s a beautiful blessing to have and to able to say.

And with that being said, Paulie Malignaggi is meant to be. We had that feeling for quite a while, so it was nothing new to us when the fight was finally announced. We had been training since the beginning of January, so we will be prepared to do whatever it takes to hold onto this title, whatever it takes to get Paulie out of that ring. My team and I, we worked extremely hard day in and out, and we are going to be prepared and excited April 19 to get back into the ring and do what we all love to do and what we’re here to do. And with that being said, I am the IBF champion, and I plan to stay that way.

Q

Against Alexander was your mentality just that you would not be denied that night and that whatever it took was going to be the way the fight went down?

S. Porter

That was my mentality and that is my mentality. I’ve been bred that way, I’ve been trained that way my whole life. I’ve always been taught to be hungry, be aggressive, and not to allow someone to get comfortable in the ring, and that’s going to always be my mentality against whoever it is I’m going to be fighting.

Same goes with Paulie. I know he’s fast and he has good feet and he knows how to move around the ring, so my plan is to cut him off and be really aggressive and get to his body and make it uncomfortable for him for 12 rounds or less.

Q

Shawn, do you feel like by facing Devon that that was a halfway decent blueprint for the way you would approach a fight with somebody like Paulie?

S. Porter

Yes, a pretty good blueprint for going against someone like Paulie, and then you take into account everything I’ve done up until this point. Sparring with Manny Pacquiao, I mean there’s no better blueprint than that. The guy’s got the quickest hands and feet in the business. So I have all the experience in what it takes to beat Paulie, and it’s just matter of getting in there April 19 and doing it.

Q

When was the last time you were involved in Manny’s camp?

S. Porter

It’s been a few years since I’ve been involved with Manny’s camp. I want to say it was the Shane Mosley fight was the last time I had done anything with him.

Q

What did you think of that performance against Alexander and were you at all surprised by just the extreme aggressiveness that he showed?

P. Malignaggi

I remember the performance. I’ve seen it all. Shawn is a very good performer. He did a very good job of taking Devon out of his comfort zone, like you said, and he did a very good job at taking away what Devon does well, and he’s got to be given credit for it. He became world champion that night for a reason.

But sometimes in boxing it’s about fighting smarter, not harder. Shawn has a tendency to fight very hard, and that’s not a bad thing at all and it’s got him to this point. It’s gotten him a world championship and it’s got him a lot of success, even as an amateur. But in professional boxing we have 12 rounds, and that leaves a lot of time to set traps, it leaves a lot of times to bait you with a lot of things. And so aggressiveness can be made to pay, and that’s kind of my bread and butter. It’s kind of always been my blueprint.

But again, fight aside, I’ve gone over a hundred times of what the problem was in the Ricky Hatton fight. I’m not going to get into it again. But really, regardless of that, if you look at anything else I make aggressiveness pay. And we have our own game plans, and we, we feel that we have a very good game plan for that kind of aggressiveness. We expect a very high-intensity fight, and we expect to have the answers for that kind of high-intensity fight.

But this is nothing new for me, conditioning has never been a problem for me, but it’s, it’s definitely the kind of challenge that I look forward to. It’s a stylistic match up that I think, in my opinion probably could make it the best fight of the night. So I look forward to it. It’s boxing; being a both pro athlete, being a pro fighter, it’s these kinds of moments, to be a part of them, and I’m a part of them yet again. I’m a part of one of them yet again, and I look forward to being motivated and putting my skills to the test against Shawn.

Q

Hey, Paulie, one other thing for you. When, when you were, after the Broner fight and you were deciding that you were going to fight on again, and I know you wanted to fight for another title and everything, at that time Shawn was a little under the radar. Everybody kind of looked at him as this is a very good prospect, but he hadn’t won a title yet, hadn’t fought the big names yet, or anything like that. I mean at any point did you think to yourself, ‘Wow, I might be fighting this guy?’ Because we’ve known in boxing Shawn’s been around for a while as atop young guy coming up, but he didn’t have the title. So was he even remotely on your radar? When the fight came up were you sort of like, ‘Oh, yes, I’ll guess I’ll fight him because he has a belt,’ but that was not somebody that I would think was on your hit list, let’s say.

P. Malignaggi

I think before he beat Devon I looked at him as a solid fighter, but it never really crossed my mind that I might fight him. I had seen him and his father training in Wild Card Gym at times. We’ve always been friendly, we’ve always been cool. I never really looked at Shawn as somebody I would fight, but once he got the title he kind of stepped up into another dimension. People view you differently when you’re a world champion. So, obviously, once Shawn grabbed that title, it put things into a different perspective as far as okay, maybe this is somebody I may wind up in the ring against, because he’s got a world title in my weight class. And then so be it and it happened.

I wasn’t sure it would happen right off the bat, but certainly once he beat Devon Shawn put himself in another level, which is the level of guys like me who will look at and say, ‘Oh, you know what, he’s a guy to be reckoned with, he’s a force to be reckoned with, and I might wind up in the ring with him.’ All the other stuff didn’t matter before that. Once you become world champion I think you put yourself, you set yourself apart from the rest of the class, and Shawn did that by winning the world championship.

All that other bullshit about sparring with Manny Pacquiao and all that, I don’t rate Manny Pacquiao as a very good fighter. I don’t rate him as a very intelligent fighter, actually. So all that other bullshit about the sparring and all that stuff it really, for me, goes in one ear and out the other. But what Shawn did to Devon was very impressive, and certainly it put him in a different light in a lot of different ways, in a more positive way, should I say.

Q

Shawn, when you fought Devon for your first title Paulie and Zab were fighting in the main event in that night. Did you go into that night knowing that you would probably end up fighting the winner of that fight?

S. Porter

I actually did. I thought that it would be somewhat of that kind of situation where the winners would fight each other. I didn’t know if it would come so soon or when it would come, but I did kind of have a mindset of fighting the winner of Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi. So, again, we’ve been training for a long time, and when the call came that it was going to be Paulie, it was not a surprise to me or my camp.

Q

Shawn, where do you rate Paulie in terms of level of competition as far as everyone you’ve faced to date?

S. Porter

I mean he’s right up there, he’s at the top. I think out of everyone I’ve fought, other than Julio and Devon, he’s got the most spirit. So I think maybe out of those two just maybe him and Julio. So I know what I’m up against April 19. I’m up against a crafty veteran, someone who’s got the hands, feet, and likes to hustle his hands, and like he said, he’s in shape. So I’m prepared to come in there, man, and be in just as great a shape as he’s in and be just as smart as he is, and be aggressive and do what I have to do to hold onto my title.

Q

Paulie, is there anyone that you have fought that reminds you of Shawn Porter?

P. Malignaggi

I mean, I can’t say anybody for sure, but he has an aggressive mentality. Guys like Juan Diaz or Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto had that aggressive mentality. So you can’t say you’ve seen exactly what he’s bringing to the table, but I’ve seen similar stuff, I guess. I think Shawn is the biggest guy out of those guys, so it poses a little bit of different challenges and then some of the same challenges. I think we’ll make the decider as you get in there and you start to adjust as you, as the rounds progress and you start to see things more and more, and that’s going to be important on fight night. It’s about being intelligent in there. I know the fight is a long fight; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. So you start toimprovise on the game plan and start to execute what you need to do.

Q

Shawn, we’ve talked a lot about what you did against Devon; Paulie’s expressed his opinion about that. What did you gain from watching Paulie against Adrien Broner? Was there anything that you could gain? I know your styles are different.

S. Porter

Yes, I’m going to say not much from that fight. We have, me and Adrien, have two different styles. So Paulie’s smart, I know that. Paulie has a good coach. Eric Brown is a good coach, I know that. They’re not going to come at me the way that they came at Adrien Broner, and it would be smoke and mirrors for me to look at that fight and say that they will. I think Paulie’s going to use his feet a little bit more and try to use his reach and move away instead of being as aggressive as he was against Adrien.

So I did look at the fight. I’m not going to say what small things I did see that I am going to take from that match, because you don’t want to give up anything at this point. But that really wasn’t one of the fights that I watched that I’m watching to get ready for Paulie.

Q

Did you score the fight? Paulie really feels like he won the fight. What are your thoughts?

S. Porter

Yes, I scored the fight, and every time I come back to it I’m just like it’s out of my hands; whatever the judges say is what it is. I honestly couldn’t — if you said it was a draw — I would have said, “Okay, it was a draw.” I didn’t really have it going Paulie’s way. I had it going more of a draw, or maybe even Adrien’s way.

Q

Paulie, what do you have to say about the fact that he says he couldn’t pick anything up? Did you learn anything, is there something you didn’t do in that fight? Did you do enough to win, and is there something you can learn, even at your age and with your experience into this fight?

P. Malignaggi

I felt like I did enough to not lose my title, to hold onto my title. I do think it was a close fight, but I did feel like I did enough to hold onto my title. Like I said, I think in the end, at the end of the day, that fight was always going to be used as a filler to fill Adrien’s bullshit resume, which is what it is pretty much if you look at it as a whole. But at the end of the day it didn’t go my way and I’m not going to sit there crying over it or to go back at it. And I think I’ve made my points about the fight, and we go on and we move on.

I actually think I’m fighting a better opponent than Adrien Broner. I think you match up Adrien Broner and Shawn Porter, and I think Shawn Porter beats him every time simply on the grind. Adrien doesn’t like to fight, and I think Shawn would force him to fight at a pace that he wouldn’t like. And Adrien, as we saw in the Maidana fight, doesn’t have an answer when you force him to fight at a pace that he doesn’t like.

So I think I’ve got a better opponent in front of me, I think I’ve got a more worthy world champion in front of me, but that makes it all the more the better of a fight, that makes it all more entertaining for the fans, and that’s going to make it a better stylistic match up overall, because there’s skill, there’s talent, there’s grind, there’s hard work in there. We’ve got the combination of everything you want to see in a fight. And so I think anything I can take from the Broner fight doesn’t really apply here. I’ve got a better fighter in front of me.

And really the only thing, at the end of the day, everybody came in saying he’s going to be the big puncher and all that stuff, and I actually came in respecting a little too much at first, and it turned out he couldn’t punch for shit. So it was a lot of aliveness that some of me subconsciously bought into with Adrien, and I’m definitely not going to make that mistake again.

But Shawn Porter, all I can say, I think he’s a better fighter than Adrien, but at the end of the day it’s a different fight, and so there’s a different kind of game plan.

Q

All right. And the difference also was that, I don’t know if you feel this is relevant, you weren’t without Haymon when you fought him. You are now. You’ve won a fight since then over Zab Judah. Do you feel that you could potentially be a filler for his resume or do you feel like the the playing field is even?

P. Malignaggi

I think the field is even. I think Al takes care of all his fighters and when they’re matched up against each other it’s just may the best man win. I think on the 19th it will be that kind of situation: may the best man win. I’ve got no complaints, I don’t believe Shawn does, so I think it’s just a matter of it’s a competition and we both want the same thing. We’re in the same weight class, we both want world championships, and so you kind of come across each other and you have to fight for what you want. So I have no beef on any of that, you know what I mean; it’s all in the name of competition, and that’s what I’m here to do.

Q

Shawn, what do you think of his thoughts of how he kept saying that you’re a better fighter than Adrien?

S. Porter

I mean I feel the same way. I think that I’m one of the best welterweight fighters here. I feel like I have everything that it takes, the mentality, the physicality, the strength, everything, the heart, everything that it takes to become a world champion. I think I have all that. And again, like Paulie said, I am extremely competitive. I would not be fighting Paulie Malignaggi if he was a filler fighter, if he was just someone for me to get in the ring with and showcase my skills against. I wouldn’t do it, because that’s not what we accept. We don’t accept anything but the best. Everybody thought he was the best opposition for us, and so with that being said I’m really looking forward to April 19. And I’m excited that Paulie is willing to get in there and be as competitive as I expect him to come into the ring and be.

Q

Paulie, you’ve always done a good job of mentally evaluating fighters before we see them in the ring. You did that with Adrien and you also did that recently with Judah when you mentioned how you did that and basically with the strategy that you brought to the ring. From what you see of Shawn Porter do you feel his aggression can be broken that same way, just based on what you’ve seen so far from him in the ring?

P. Malignaggi

I think the trick is always to take what a fighter does best and kind of try to minimize it or take it away from him. So one of Shawn’s best assets is that aggressive physicality, so as a fighter, as a veteran of the sport, as a guy myself who has been around some of the best fighters in the world and have been around some of the best fighters in the world, has been trained with some of the best trainers in the world, including the one I have now, Eric Brown, I think you gain a lot of knowledge going through all of that. And I think it’s not out of the question to say Shawn is a very good fighter, but at the end of the day there’s traps that can be set for that kind of aggressiveness, and there’s traps that will be set for that kind of aggressiveness. So you kind of you go with the flow and then you adjust as the fight goes along.

But boxing is like numbers, they never end; there’s always a counter move to a move, you know what I’m saying. So I expect that kind of fight. I really expect a demanding, physically demanding fight. We always come in very good shape. I do and I know he does, and it’s going to come down to a lot more than just grinding to win the fight. Boxing at a world-class level is a combination of a lot of things; just one thing will not win you the fight. So I think we both know that, we both understand that, and I for sure understand that, and have implemented that on my game plan going into the fight.

Q

Paulie, a couple years ago you mentioned that one of your main goals with boxing was you wanted to get into the Hall of Fame. You also mentioned at that time you felt you had a few key losses that might prevent you from getting that goal. If you were to win this fight and become a three-time world champion, do you think that would finally put you over the hump to possibly get in the Hall of Fame when you retire?

P. Malignaggi

It’s not up to me to decide that. I hadn’t really given it a lot of thought in recent years. I think a lot goes into the Hall of Fame besides what you do in the ring. I think a lot of it has to do with the kind of team you have around you. For example, if I had the team I have now from when I turned pro I think for sure I’d be a Hall of Famer. But I didn’t have the team I have now when I first turned pro, I didn’t have the team I have now from up until recently through these last few years. Getting into the Hall of Fame, there’s a lot of different things involved in that. In the last few years especially, I have not given it a lot of thought. If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. Really my focus is on being the best fighter I can be and just accomplishing one goal at a time and make some good money in the process.

Q

Shawn, do you see any weaknesses in Paulie’s boxing skills that you feel that you can take advantage of? Because he’s pretty good, he’s pretty smart, and he’s always active, so what do you see that you could take advantage of?

S. Porter

Pretty good, pretty smart, and pretty active; you hit it on the nose with that one. We plan to just take advantage of that; when he’s trying to be active we want to be more active, when he’s trying to be smart we want to be feinting him and showing him things that he can’t, or not that he can’t, but things that are just going to propose questions, things that are going to make him uncomfortable in the ring. And with that being said, that’s kind of the blueprint, I think, to beating Paulie is just making him uncomfortable, and I plan to do that.

Q

Paulie, before your last fight with Judah you had said that you were examining your career and that another loss might make you want to consider if you – wanted to continue on in the sport. Now that you have beaten Judah and you have that victory do you feel like your career has been revitalized?

P. Malignaggi

Yes, I think you’re always one key win away from revitalizing your career. I think boxing at a world-class level, when you have a good resume behind you already, I think you’re always one good win away from revitalizing things. But I just take one fight at a time. I have fun doing it. I enjoy my time in boxing, I enjoy my time competing. I still love it, I still love to be in front of a big crowd and hear the crowd roar in a big championship match.

So at 33-years old, you’re not 23, you don’t have a lot of years in front of you, but at the same time I’m the kind of determined fighter, determined athlete that if I do something I’m going to do it 100 percent, otherwise I won’t do it. So my time fighting, while I’m still fighting, it’s going to be done 100 percent. I’m going to keep giving it my all every time I step in the ring and fight. I always told myself that I would refuse to be one of these older veterans that kind of just fights just to step in the ring and make an extra paycheck, but really doesn’t dig down the same way that he used to. You see a lot of older fighters tending to reach that point in their career where they just don’t want to dig down the same way, and I always remind myself that will not be me.

So I think I keep proving it. I think I always grind and hustle the way I need to, be it in the ring or be it in the gym, and so to kind of not be stereotyped in that way. When my time is done fighting, I’ll be done fighting. I don’t need to force it, right, I don’t need to force it. But I want to do it, and I think my body work speaks for itself, so I’ll keep doing it as long as I can.

Q

Paulie, do you see any weaknesses in Shawn’s boxing skills that you can take advantage of?

P. Malignaggi

There’s pros and cons to everybody’s style. Everybody does some good things, everybody has some bad habits, and so none of us are perfect as fighters. Shawn does a lot of good things, but in turn he also does some things that you can kind of make him pay for it. So come fight night we’ll see who has all the answers.

But absolutely it takes, it’s like he said, you got to grind hard, you got to be smart. Tthere’s going to be times when you do one or the other. I think a fight evolves a certain way, and then from there you start to add the pieces to it. But absolutely I don’t think anybody likes to be uncomfortable, so making each other uncomfortable is definitely a game plan for both of us I guess.

Q

Paulie, you keep talking about traps and maybe a little inexperience on Shawn’s part that you see. Do you see enough of that that you can exploit him and put yourself in the position to eventually get another big fight, maybe a Mayweather fight down the line, maybe a rematch with Broner?

P. Malignaggi

I don’t look at it. I don’t look past anything with Shawn. Right now I’m looking at April 19 and I know there might be others from the welterweight division in general, but I really don’t think about anything but Shawn right now and the fact that I’m fighting him and that I’ll handle my business on April 19with Shawn. As far as how I’m setting traps or whatnot, I mean those are just as you make on the fly. You see things in somebody’s file and you kind of look for them during the fight or maybe you’ll see something else during the fight that you may not have seen on video or whatnot. Regardless, I’m a guy that I feel like I’m very intelligent, I feel like I observe things, I catch onto things quickly, and sometimes when I’m in the ring with somebody I may see something different than I did when I wasn’t in the ring with that person. So some of the traps that get set are preordained, or whatever they’re called, we’ll set them from knowing … in setting these kind of traps, and sometimes you may see other things that you got to set different kind of traps once you get there.

So little by little; it’s one round at a time and, like I said, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. So it’s two world-class fighters in there going at it putting their best effort up. So I don’t expect an easy fight, I never do, so it’s the kind of thing I know I’m going to have to think my way through.

Q

Paulie, you seem very respectful. Is it the way that Shawn approaches you or is it just your laser focus right now that if you get past this you know there’s big things at the end of the rainbow for you?

P. Malignaggi

I always feel like I’m focused, but I know Shawn and his dad, I’ve seen them, I see them training at the Wild Card back when I was there, always respectful people, just good competitive guys that want to make the best of themselves. So I don’t knock that, I don’t knock that at all. I think we’re all in this to make a buck, to make a career for ourselves, to make a name for ourselves, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that. And so they’ve always been respectful, so I have no reason to disrespect him.

Q

Shawn, going into this fight everything’s a little different for you. You’re the champ, you’re getting a lot more attention, people are recognizing you. How has this changed you, who you are as a person and also, more importantly, how you’re preparing to get into the ring?

S. Porter

Winning this IBF title hasn’t changed me one bit, especially not as a person, but it hasn’t changed anything around me either. I still live with my dad, we still train hard every day, and I still have the same team that I’ve had for the last ‘X’ amount of years. It’s still tight, it’s still small and we’re going to keep it that way. We know what it took to get to this championship and we know that that worked, and so we don’t want to change anything and make anything different. Maybe working harder. My dad works me extremely hard. That could be the only thing that I would say has changed is I’m working harder in some type of way. I come to the ring always strong and in the best shape of my life, so that’s a given. But if I had to say anything changed I would say we’re working harder.

Q

Shawn, Paulie has great athleticism, he’s a fast fighter, doesn’t have the pop that you might want out of a boxer, but he presents a lot to you. What do you think is the most significant thing that he can give you trouble with or offer that will give you trouble?

S. Porter