World light welterweight contender Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi answered some critical questions concerning his ring career off of his one-sided performance February 17 against Edner Cherry (21-5-2, 10 KOs) in the HBO main event live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Malignaggi won a unanimous 10-round decision (100-90, 98-92, 98-92)
Malignaggi (22-1, 5 KOs) hadn't fought since June 10, when he lost his first fight as a pro by 12-round decision, suffering a fractured cheekbone in the process to the then WBO light welterweight champion Miquel Cotto, and switched trainers for the Cheery fight with James "Buddy" McGirt in his corner for the first time.
How would Malignaggi respond to his first lost, especially one in which he was floored for the first time and sidelined due to such a serious injury? And would Paulie be a more complete and effective boxer having trained in Vero Beach with McGirt?
"We worked on some physical improvements and I think people saw some," Malignaggi said, "but it all didn't show in the Cherry fight. I think I looked better in the gym than the ring. But some rounds Cherry came out throwing bombs like (Ricardo) Mayorga, and the next round he wouldn't engage. Nobody could have looked good against him. This was the first time he'd been dominated but it wasn't as exciting as I would have liked. I can't get into wars every fight; the Cotto fight was like three tough fights. Everybody knows I have speed and quickness, but I must have some pop, too. I hit him in the first round with a good left hook and after that he waited to counter punch.
"Once a fighter gets in there with me, I think my speed intimidates them, and that's what happened with Edner Cherry. He's a good fighter but he'd never fought anybody like Paulie Malignaggi before. I don't think he ever figured me out. I was just a little disappointed that I wasn't more exciting."
One question that Malignaggi didn't answer whom his next opponent will be, despite several names rumored in the media.
"All I can say right now is we have a lot of big plans, so stay tuned," Malignaggi concluded. "We have a couple of good options. There should be an announcement soon about my next fight - it's going to be a big one - and then an even bigger fight after that."