By Eric ‘Sugar Foot’ Duran
I’m weird, I’ll be the first to admit it. Yes, I love the atmosphere of a big fight. I can analyze and dissect a fight with the best of them. I’m usually the guy at the fight party hollering instructions in between rounds.
However, it just isn’t the actual fisticuffs that I’m drawn to. On fight night, there are two things that I look forward to.–The outfits the fighters are wearing and their ring entrances. Also, who doesn’t love a fighter who can talk the talk AND walk the walk?
Paulie Malignaggi was born in the borough of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He’s New York through and through with an Italian swagger. His word play combined with his accent, makes for comedy relief. He can literally insult you and make it sound as though he was complimenting you. He dances circles around his opponents before and during fights.
“Athletes sleep with a lot of women, it’s 2013, that’s what we do. Broner, you’re a clown, the mic is off, stop talking. Ringling brothers is coming next week, you can join them after this”.
For years, Malignaggi has put on a show when the lights were on and cameras were set on record.
He was rocking the blowout before Pauly D. He was piecing up chumps long before Ronnie. If any Guido should have been on a Jersey Shore, it should have been Paulie.
No one will forget the hairdos against Lovemore Ndou. In the first match up, Paulie rocked the blond Mohawk. In their rematch, the dreadful extensions stole the headlines. In a closely contested contest in which he retained his IBF title, the bout will be remembered for one thing and one thing only– Between round 8 and 9, Malignaggi’s cornerman, cut off his extensions.
Do you remember the aqua blue “do” with matching sideburns against Edner Cherry? After the Ndou hair situation, he shaved his head completely for his bout with Ricky Hatton. In his 2011 bout against Jose Miguel Cotto, he showed up at the weigh-in with long, flowing hair. Were we going to see a repeat of Manchester? Nope, his hair was tightly braided, cornrow style, when he stepped through the ropes. And last but not least, the red Mohawk against Broner.
And what about his outfits? He’s never to be outdone in that department.
The white rectangle flaps with blue strips and and yellow stars against Cotto. What about the blue V cut with white drapes in the Hatton fight? Loved the shiny purple with gold and black tassels for Diaz 1. In Diaz 2, he pulled out the green leggings. For Amir Khan’s US debut, gold tiger print with black tassels would have to do.
I can go on forever, giving a fight by fight visual.
And to top it off, some legendary weigh-in costumes. Against the lesser Cotto, he showed up with a M shield painted on his chest, complete with a painted mask. And in his last bout against Shawn Porter, the Elephant trunk underwear.
Malignaggi hinted that the Porter fight may have been his final bout. Quite honestly, he should hang up the gloves. He’s carved a nice niche as a color commenter at Showtime.
He comes across as very articulate for a young man who didn’t finish high school. He’s a student of the game, well studied in the art of the sweet science. But the best part of Malignaggi’s commentary is, he doesn’t hide his Italian accent. He doesn’t hide the fact that he’s Brooklyn through and through. He’s real, whether the cameras are on or off.
If Paulie has decided to trade in the flamboyant trunks for a 3-piece suit, I say, farewell and good luck brother. You’ve entertained millions of fans inside the squared the circle. Now it’s time to bless them with top of the line button ups and stylish ties. Also, show the shoe game off every once in awhile.
Sincerely, Eric D, aka Sugar Foot