By Julio Thyme 16/03/2010
Their war of words has captivated the boxing world, but on Saturday, May 15, the time for talk will be over when two of the brightest stars in the super lightweight division – WBA Super Lightweight World Champion Amir Khan and former world title holder Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi finally settle their score at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. The bout, which will be televised live on HBO’s Boxing After Dark in the United States, also marks Khan’s United States debut which will be taking place in the back yard of Brooklyn’s Malignaggi.
In the evening’s co-feature, it’s a true crossroads fight when former World Champion Nate “The Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell tries to halt the rapid rise of hard-hitting rising star “Vicious” Victor Ortiz in a 10 round super lightweight showdown.
“Paulie Malignaggi did a great job of talking his way into this fight and I commend him for that,” said Khan. “But on May 15he’ll have to pay for the things he’s said about me and I will have no problem teaching him a lesson in his own hometown. I’m excited for my United States debut and plan on giving the great fans of New York an exciting show on May 15.”
“I’m the best fighter Amir Khan has ever fought, bar none. I’m going to make sure this is a one and done deal for this poor bloke,” said Paulie Malignaggi. “When I’m done with this guy, he’ll never want to come to the U.S. again, not even on ‘holiday.’ It’s a good thing he agreed to fight in New York rather than Vegas, this way he saved himself five extra hours of flight time agony thinking about the loss on his way back to England!”
“The talking Khan and Malignaggi have been doing over the last few weeks has been entertaining, but I guarantee that the fight on May 15 will be even better,” said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. “This is a very interesting style matchup and when you add that to the big fight atmosphere you always have at Madison Square Garden in New York City and throw in the bad blood between these two, it’s definitely going to be a night to remember. Couple all of that with a great co-feature in Nate Campbell vs. Victor Ortiz, and you’ve got a night of boxing you simply can’t miss.”
“Amir Khan believes he’s going to take over America, and on May 15 he’ll have the opportunity to prove it against one of the best 140 pounders in the world,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “He’s going to find out that Madison Square Garden isn’t Lancashire, England. Paulie Malignaggi will have the opportunity to become champion again, and Amir Khan can justify all the hype. It’s a great matchup.”
“Madison Square Garden is excited to host Amir Khan vs. Paulie Maignaggi,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Sports. “We really respect Khan, who will be making his boxing debut in America, for coming into Paulie’s backyard to defend his title. As we know, Paulie is one of New York’s favorite fighters and we are expecting a great crowd and a great night of boxing.”
“We are very excited to be airing Khan vs. Malignaggi,” said Luis Barragan, Director of Programming HBO Sports. “Amir Khan is an exceptional young talent and for him to be making his U.S. debut at Madison Square Garden against a skilled fighter like Paul Malignaggi, is a sure recipe for a tremendous “Boxing After Dark. It will be a treat for fans on both sides of ‘the pond.'”.
One of England’s biggest sports stars, Amir Khan (22-1, 16 KO’s) of Bolton, Lancashire, United Kingdom, captured the imagination of a nation when, at just 17-years-old, he took home a Silver Medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens (as the sole member from the British boxing team). In 2005, he turned professional and has since won 22 of 23 pro bouts, including four in a row. In July of 2009, the 23-year-old – who holds a win over the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera – captured his first World Title when he decisioned Andreas Kotelnik for the WBA 140-pound belt. In his first defense last December, he needed just 76 seconds to take out the previously unbeaten Dmitriy Salita. On May 15, he will attempt to defeat his second straight New Yorker, but this time on foreign soil in his opponent’s hometown.
Brooklyn’s Paulie Malignaggi (27-3, 5 KO’s) has made plenty of headlines with his mouth, but it’s his fists and his fighting spirit that have gained him respect throughout the boxing world. A slick boxer with speed and a rapid-fire jab, Malignaggi first won a world title in 2007 when he defeated Lovemore N’dou for. Since then, Malignaggi has continued to fight the best, including Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz (twice), Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton and Herman Ngoudjo. In his most recent bout, Malignaggi put on a show in defeating Diaz over 12 rounds last December. Now he’s ready to do the same thing against Khan in front of his hometown fans this spring.
Not only one of the craftiest fighters of the last ten years, but also one of the toughest, Nate Campbell (33-5-1, 25 KO’s) has reached the heights of the boxing game as a Unified Lightweight World Champion and he’s ready to do it all again at super lightweight. Unbeaten since 2006, the “Galaxxy Warrior” holds victories over Juan Diaz, Ricky Quiles and Kid Diamond, and he plans on punching his way to another title shot by taking out young gun Victor Ortiz.
Ultra-talented southpaw “Vicious” Victor Ortiz (26-2-1, 21 KO’s) has been thrilling fight fans with his exciting style and fight-ending power ever since his pro debut in 2004. In the last two years, the Ventura, California product really started moving on the fast track, stopping Jeffrey Resto, Mike Arnaoutis and Antonio Diaz over the stretch. Fresh off of a February stoppage of Hector Alatorre, Ortiz looks to repeat his 2007 Madison Square Garden knockout of former World Champion Carlos Maussa when he returns to New York City on May 15 against Campbell.