Artem Lobov and Paulie Malignaggi will settle their beef inside of the ring on June 22 in a bare knuckle boxing grudge match.
It will be an entertaining matchup between a former UFC brawler and a former boxing world champion, which is simply something combat fans have never seen. We got to witness Lobov’s teammate and former UFC champion Conor McGregor square off with undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in 2017, but those guys were wearing 8 oz. gloves.
Things will be quite different this time around as Lobov tries to take his recent bare knuckle debut win over fellow UFC veteran Jason Knight and take out growing rival Malignaggi, who was last seen getting knocked down by McGregor in a sparring session before May-Mac. Despite Malignaggi’s belief that “Russian Hammer” will be out of his element when the two meet this summer, Lobov thinks the former boxer isn’t ready for the pace of a five-round bare knuckle fight.
“It’s only nine or eight weeks now until the fight. He needs to learn the trade of the clinch. He needs to learn the different pace. He needs to get in shape because he just came off the couch. Big fat pudding. I’ve seen him. Who is going to coach him now? He needs fucking weight watchers to coach him. That’s who he needs to coach, because he’s just a fat guy off the couch. He asked for the fight to be at 154-pounds when he used to fight at 140. What does that tell you? Lazy and fat. Can’t make the weight. Doesn’t want to make the weight. Doesn’t want to stop eating the pizza. Doesn’t want to put the box of donuts down.
“I find it hard to even worry about this fight. What is he going to do? Even in Conor’s spar for example, they did the twelve rounds but the only reason he somehow made it to the twelve round’s end because he did nothing. He was very, very passive. He never let the right hand go, he threw a couple of jabs and covering up the whole time. The head gear and the big gloves, of course, that saved him. So what’s he going to do? Honestly, I’m just thinking back to that spar where I got to witness him live, watched a bunch of his fights now, what’s he going to do to me?”
Malignaggi, who once held the WBA welterweight and IBF light welterweight titles, hasn’t competed professionally since a knockout loss to Sam Eggington back in 2017. The 38-year-old has since transitioned into the commentary booth and has done more talking than fighting over the past two years.
That said, Lobov has never encountered a trained striker quite like Malignaggi. Sure, Lobov has trained alongside McGregor over the years, but even “Notorious” can’t offer the same looks in the gym that Malignaggi will inside of the ring.
Fight fans will just have to wait and see who really has the advantage in a bare knuckle showdown. If Malignaggi comes to the fight out of shape and incapable of finishing the ultra-durable Lobov, “Magic Man” could be in for one of the bloodiest nights of his life. But if Malignaggi comes prepared for war, Lobov will find out the hard way that there’s levels to this game.
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