Paulie Malignaggi vs. Antonio Moscatiello this Saturday at O2, London, UK
By Dan Ambrose: Paulie Malignaggi (34-7, 7 KOs) will be fighting little known 33-year-old Italian Antonio Moscatiello (20-2-1, 14 KOs) in a 12 round scheduled fight this Saturday night for the vacant EBU welterweight title on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua vs. Dillian Whyte card at the O2 Arena in London, UK.
The previously scheduled fight for Malignaggi against 47-year-old Gianluca Branco fell apart after Branco reportedly pulled out of the fight. Despite Malignaggi, 35, being an American, he can still fight for the EBU title due to him being born in Italy and holding Italian citizenship.
Winning the EBU title was something that Malignaggi always wanted to do. It’s just too bad that he’s not fighting someone really good for the fight so that the title will mean more.
It’s thought by many that the only reason why Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn is letting Malignaggi fight on his card is to whet the British boxing fan’s appetite for Malignaggi so that he can put him in with his fighter IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook next year in 2016. By having Malignaggi fight on his Matchroom Sport cards, Hearn can attract interest in a future Brook-Malignaggi fight on Sky Box Office.
Brook is the only popular welterweight in Hearn’s promotional stable that it would make sense to match Malignaggi up against. Putting Malignaggi in with Frankie Gavin doesn’t make sense because Gavin doesn’t have a big enough fan base for it to be worth the trouble of having Malignaggi fight him.
Malignaggi has lost 3 out of his last 5 fights in the last two years. He did beat journeyman Laszlo Fazekas by an 8 round decision in his last fight in September. Malignaggi’s only other victory in the last two years was against Zab Judah in 2013.
“Fighting for a European title has always been on my boxing bucket list. I felt that this is the right time in my career and Antonio is also an Italian fighter, so that’s an added bonus,” Malignaggi said to ESPN.com. “The U.K. fans have always been so supportive towards me, and I am looking forward to boxing (in England). The fans are so passionate, vocal, loud, and the atmosphere is going to be electric. I’ve been to fights all over the world and you don’t get the party atmosphere you get here anywhere else and they are genuine boxing fans.”
Malignaggi was knocked out in the 9th round by former IBF/WBA 140lb champion Danny Garcia last September in a one-sided defeat. Malignaggi was also knocked out by Shawn Porter in 2014 in a 4th round knockout loss.
Malignaggi should be able to defeat Moscatiello without any problems. Moscatiello has never beaten any big names before during his career. He has losses to Gianluca Frezza and Leonard Bundu many years ago. Moscatiello’s fights since 2012, have been against weak opposition.
Moscatiello has won his last seven fights in the past three years. He must have some punching power because he’s stopped 5 of his last 7 opponents. This could potentially be a bad thing for Malignaggi if Moscatiello comes after him the way that Danny Garcia did.