You can’t call yourself a boxing fan and not know the baby-faced, loud-mouthed, self-impressed Pauli Malignaggi. The two-division, boxing world champion is probably better known for being a Showtime Boxing announcer.
As a boxer, Malignaggi is not a knockout puncher. His fighting style is a lot like his announcing style; he just keeps coming at you until you finally get so aggravated, you turn the volume down… or get beat by a decision, depending on which analogy you were following.
Boxing has always been the “Sketchy Brother-in-law” of professional sports.
It got to a point where the judging was so lopsided, it became ridiculously obvious that the judges were getting a much bigger payday than the fighters were. Boxing had to get its house in order when MMA sports started to get more popular.
But now we are taking it up a notch, with the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC)
The BKFC was founded by boxer David Feldman in April 2018. I’m just going to go ahead and say it: BKFC makes me crave fried chicken. OK so… bare knuckle fighting has been around since 1889. Each 12-round fight takes place in a circular four-rope ring referred to as the "Squared Circle". In the center of the ring are two scratch lines 3 feet apart. Fighters are told to “Toe the Line” at the beginning of each round, whereby the fighters must literally have their toe on their line. This command is followed by "Knuckle Up" which means; get it on.
Apparently, there have been 5 fight events since April 2018, including Bec Rawlings becoming the first female bare knuckle fighting champ in history because of BKFC 1, which took place on June 2, 2018. The problem is, not many people in the general public even knew about it.
Enter “Mighty Mouth Malignaggi,” who has decided to join the ranks of the BKFC.
Say what you want, the boy knows how to attract media attention, which is just what the BKFC needed. And on June 22, Pauli will be bare knuckle fighting Former UFC featherweight Artem Lobov in BKFC 6.
Even though these two have never fought in the ring before, it is being booked as a “grudge match” which always helps sell fights.
So, what’s the Grudge?
Well, Lobov and popular UFC Anger Issues Champion (AIC) Connor McGregor are buddies and train in the same camp. A couple years ago, McGregor decided to step outside of the UFC and box Floyd Mayweather. Malignaggi screamed bloody murder about how UFC fighters don’t stand a chance in the ring and how ridiculous this was, until the McGregor camp offered him big bucks to come in and spar with McGregor. Well it turns out Connor might possibly have knocked Pauli out in these closed-door sparring sessions… twice. In any event, Pauli quit and has been bad-mouthing McGregor ever since. That’s the short version.
McGregor turned down a Malignaggi fight, but his buddy Lobov has been sniping at Malignaggi for years and, having fought one BKFC fight before, decided he would take on Pauli.
Why are we hearing about the BKFC and this June 22, Pay-per-view match?
Pauli brings the star-power, media savviness and of course the mouth, but not just any mouth. This is a bionic mouth directed by a twisted, albeit creatively twisted, mind. In addition to threatening to kill Lobov and put him in a box, Malignaggi said he was going to spit on Lobov, as well. Then Malignaggi decided to simultaneously lower the classiness and up the bodily fluids ante, by saying "I'm gonna take out my d**k, after I knock his teeth out, and I'm gonna p*** in that toothless mouth." See, this is the kind of color commentary that only comes with years of experience. He was born for this stuff. The first six letters of his last name spell malign.
But c’mon we love this stuff! The concept of bare-knuckle fighting to a fan of both boxing and MMA, like myself, is fantastic! I do not like Greco-Roman wrestling, even when you call it grappling. Or is grappling different? Who the hell knows, and that’s kind of my point. But, in any event, wrestling is a little too intimate for my comfort level. So, when the MMA matches end up as grappling matches, I immediately lose interest. When kick-boxing tried to compete with UFC, I thought it would be great, but it’s like watching two hairless kangaroos flailing around the ring. This bare-knuckle thing? Not only does it have historical roots, but it promises sanctioned bloodshed. Cha-ching!
I’ll Buy It.
Do you know why, in addition to carnage, this BKFC pay-per-view business model is going to work? Because they are making it accessible to the working stiff. They are charging $39 for this event, which includes an undercard. There is a huge psychological difference between $39 and $69 for a main event that could, and has, lasted less than 30 seconds. $39 is a couple of twenties. $69 is a $50 bill PLUS a twenty. See what I mean?
I’ll Bet On It.
I will definitely buy this PPV event. I will definitely bet on this PPV event, because, for some reason, Malignaggi is a +140 underdog. Lobov is -180. People think MMA fighters are bad-asses.
Ask yourself this kids: What is bare-knuckle boxing? It’s freakin’ boxing. Lobov is an MMA fighter trained to use every appendage but one, and trained to wrestle, as well.
Malignaggi will not be standing there trading blows. He will be using angles and lateral movement. He has a learned instinct for distance and range, when to land his punches and a boxer’s sense of how to circle to the weak side, get in and out, all the while protected by a consistent jab.
If, and it is a big "if", Malignaggi can stay away from the urge to brawl and not leave himself open to that one punch, his superior skills will frustrate Lobov, who only brings one bare-knuckle boxing match to this fight.
Place a bet on Mighty Mouth to win, before the general betting public smartens up, as they tend to do the closer you get to an event.