Danny Garcia is moving up in weight to fight former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi in a 12-round welterweight bout that will headline the second Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on August 1st at the Barclays Center in New York, USA.
Promoter Lou DiBella, who made the official announcement last Monday in behalf of PBC founder Al Haymon, called the fight a “must-win for both fighters.”
Relinquishing His Throne
The unified Junior Welterweight champion avoided being stripped of his WBC Jr. Welterweight title by relinquishing the belt last Thursday. The WBC had obligated Garcia to make a mandatory defense against top contender Viktor Postol, but Garcia, who had trouble making the 140-pound limit in his recent fights, wasn’t keen on fighting again at Jr. Welterweight.
Garcia, who is also the WBA and lineal 140-pound champion, has not defended his titles since March of 2014. Instead, his last two fights have been two non-title bouts at a catch weight above 140 pounds. Garcia knocked out Rod Salka in the 2nd round of a 142-pound catch weight bout last August and then won a hard earned majority decision win over former Jr. Welterweight champion Lamont Peterson last April in a fight that was held at weight limit of 143 pounds.
Malignaggi, a former Jr. welterweight and welterweight champion, was supposed to make his much awaited ring return in the undercard of the Khan-Algieri bout last May 29th but suffered a nasty cut one week before the scheduled bout and was forced to cancel that fight. Malignaggi has not fought since losing a title challenge against then IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter in April of 2014. The 34-year old Brooklyn native won the WBA Welterweight title in 2012 with a 9th round TKO win over Vyacheslav Senchenko. He lost the title a year later to Adrien Broner in a close split decision.
Malignaggi and Garcia fought on the same fight card in the first ever boxing event at the Barclays center in October 2012. Garcia was then making a Jr. Welterweight title defense against Erik Morales while Malignaggi was making the first and only defense of his WBA welterweight title. Although both are very popular fighters in the U.S. market, Garcia will be literally walking to Malignaggi’s backyard for this contest.
Joining the Big Boys
Garcia has long been rumored to be moving up in weight in search of bigger money fights. He’s been criticized for taking on light opposition in his recent bouts but fighting Malignaggi in his welterweight debut is definitely a step up in the level of opposition although Malignaggi may no longer be in his prime.
Boxing’s welterweight division is considered as the richest, with the #1 Pound for Pound fighter and PPV King Floyd Mayweather Jr. its top dog. The weight class is also home to top rated fighters like Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, Timothy Bradley, Marcos Maidana, Robert Guerrero, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman and Adrien Broner. If Garcia debuts in style, he is expected to tab a money-rich fight with one of those top names. On the other hand, Malignaggi is 1-2 in his last three bouts and needs a win to keep his once flamboyant career alive.