Malignaggi (33-5, 7 KOs) is coming off a win over Zab Judah and will face Shawn Porter (23-0-1, 14 KOs) on Saturday in Washington DC. He’s doing some interviews to promote the fight, and he made some shocking comments about Pac-Man in the process.
While speaking with ESPN’s Dan Rafael, Malignaggi downplayed Porter’s experience sparring with Pacquiao by taking a few shots at the Filipino champion.
“Once you become world champion I think you set yourself apart from the rest of the class, and Shawn did that by winning the world championship,” Malignaggi told Rafael. “All that other bulls— 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 bulls— 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.”
Well, that certainly came out of nowhere.
I could understand people dropping Pacquiao down a few pegs after the decision loss to Bradley and the knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez, though I would have disagreed. But after he soundly beat Bradley in the rematch, I really can’t understand how a boxing analyst like Malignaggi could say that about Manny.
Pacquiao has been a very good fighter throughout his career and is still a very good fighter. As far as him not being very intelligent as a fighter, I think his speed and skill is so good that it stands out above everything else. In other words, Pacquiao doesn’t really have to outfox opponents because he’s just better.
So what prompted Malignaggi’s comments?
Malignaggi’s shots at Pacquiao could be rooted in distrust. Several years ago, Paulie said he believed Pacquiao was on steroids. He’s maintained that belief in recent times. Maybe Malignaggi doesn’t give Pac-Man respect simply because he believes he’s cheating.