'When Khabib smacked him, Artem just punked out': Malignaggi keeps taunting Lobov (VIDEO)
In a little over two weeks' time, Malignaggi and Lobov will step into the Bare Knuckle FC ring in Florida to settle (or perhaps to escalate) a dispute that began two years ago, after a couple of contentious sparring sessions weeks out from Conor McGregor's box-office bonanza, his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.
Depending on which camp you believe, either McGregor outclassed the recently-retired two-time world champion in the ring or McGregor revealed himself to have, as Malignaggi claims, 'no balls.' Photos and brief video clips from the two sessions implied one version, while 'The Magic Man' offered another, in a saga that just rumbles on. Some in the McGregor camp even suggest that the story will be fully told when footage is released for an upcoming documentary.
Malignaggi has been vocal in his request to have full, unedited footage released but, for now, he will have to settle for five two-minute rounds of bareknuckle action against McGregor's teammate and friend Lobov, as the latest chapter in his proxy war with the Irish former two-division UFC champ.
"There is a dislike for Artem, as well as that whole team," Malignaggi said to Robin Black, talking at Fight Talk on RT Sport.
"I think they're very fraudulent people. They [are] fake people, they're posers. They put up an act that is very, very far from the reality of who they are when the doors are closed and they're not in front of the camera.
"They're not as brave as they're trying to convince everybody they are. Certain situations have revealed themselves as such. If you're brave, you're brave all the time. If you're tough, you're tough all the time - not just when it's convenient for you and, if you're not, then you're a punk."
Against Lobov, Malignaggi will compete in a prizefight for the first time since his March 2017 knockout defeat to English journeyman Sam Eggington. This time, though, the ruleset which will govern his combat will be drastically different, even if the weapons are the same.
"With Artem, I have given Artem some credit for the toughness he showed in the [Jason] Knight fight, but that was more-so because he was so limited from a skillset perspective.
In reality, Artem also got punked because he let Khabib smack him around.
"I don't care if you have five guys, ten guys around you, if you [get a] smack you're supposed to react as a man. You are not supposed to take this smack."
"And Artem took it willfully, Artem took it nice and calmly, he didn't react at all. Again, he was pressed and he punked out, just like the rest of them. You know, birds of a feather fly together, punks will always stay together with punks.
If Lobov is to prove successful against Malignaggi, many suggest that the clinch will be where he does his best work. 'Dirty boxing', as well as grabbing your opponent's wrist, aren't outlawed in BKB to the same extent as in traditional boxing.Also on rt.com Artem Lobov's 'A+' toughness will pose real problems for Paulie Malignaggi, says coach Firas Zahabi
"I love it," he said. "You need enough idiots to buy into the narrative in order for the fight to sell, otherwise the fight doesn't sell. The only reason this fight can sell is that there are plenty of idiots out there that have this view. I smile when I see it because, if it wasn't for that crowd this fight wouldn't sell, this fight wouldn't get made and I wouldn't have anything to do with BKFC, or have any interest in their part.
"I need that narrative to be pumped as much as it can. When you find a bum you have to try and pump them up as much as possible so people feel like it's a real fight. I'm glad people have fallen for it without really even trying. I haven't even had to try to pump Artem up much. This is probably going to be the easiest big-money fight I've had in my career."
Malignaggi has been brushing up in his clinch work at the Serra-Longo Fight Team in New York, home of former UFC champion Chris Weidman, work, he says, that will pay dividends in two weeks when he gets his hand raised against 'The Russian Hammer.'
"I've been working with some good guys. That, along with what I naturally do well, will lead to a pretty easy victory, I assume."