Paulie Malignaggi thanks 'f**king stupid' MMA fanbase for making Artem Lobov fight possible
Malignaggi, the former boxing world champion, didn't think that he would get an opportunity to silence any members of Conor McGregor's team after the fallout from their two ill-fated sparring sessions a couple of years ago, but it turns out he now will, and this time the gloves are off.
The boxer is scheduled to make his bare-knuckle boxing debut this weekend in the main event of BKFC 6 from Tampa, Florida against McGregor's close friend and training partner Artem Lobov in a proxy battle closely connected to those sessions in Las Vegas two summers back - and Malignaggi can't quite believe his luck.
"I think of it like, thank god that this fan base in MMA is so f**king stupid that they actually have made this possible," Malignaggi told MMA Fighting.
"A fight this easy is possible in a main event situation. That’s how I look at it. I look at it in a thankful way.
"From that perspective, I say yeah, I can’t believe I’m here. I’ve been in the ring with top fighters, main events inside stadiums and the biggest arenas in the world. I’ve been announced as a world champion.
"Believe me, it all goes through my mind. And now, I’m fighting this guy, who I don’t think has ever fought a guy who’s been a world champion, let alone fight for a title."
Some observers have pointed to the fact that Malignaggi's confidence comes from the traditional world of boxing and question the fluency of how he will translate that to the world of bare-knuckle boxing, where clinching is allowed and fights often descend into what some describe as 'fighting in a phone booth'.Also on rt.com Artem Lobov's 'A+' toughness will pose real problems for Paulie Malignaggi, says coach Firas Zahabi
Still, Malignaggi appears unconcerned and flaunts his prowess in the ring compared to his opponent's.
"I’m legitimately telling you the truth when I tell you the guy can’t fight. The guy has no respectable boxing ability, and I have a hard time figuring how this fight’s going to be tough. I can legitimately say that, and if you watch his boxing, you know I’m telling the truth."
Neither man has appeared anything other than confident in the lead-in to the fight and, on this particular occasion, it was Malignaggi's turn show his confidence as he warned: "It’s going to be very bloody. I’m going to beat him to a pulp."