Paulie Malignaggi has given thanks to the fans of mixed martial arts for believing that the former UFC star Artem Lobov has a chance at beating him this weekend.
The pair are set to meet inside the ring at BKFC 6 on Saturday night for a bareknuckle boxing bout – the first of Paulie’s fighting career.
Artem’s bareknuckle run kicked off with an absolutely bonkers showdown against UFC veteran Jason Knight at BKFC 5 about seven weeks ago – a fight he was able to edge out slightly on the scorecards.
Even with that fight as an opener, the intention always seemed to be to make the showdown between Paulie and Artem a reality for June 22.
Speaking in a recent interview with MMA Fighting, the former two-weight world champion boxer expressed his somewhat sarcastic thoughts on the very fact that the fight with Lobov is happening and how its existence reflects on fans of the sport of mixed martial arts.
“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. 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. So I catch myself and say I can only be thankful. There’s no way realistically possible to have a fight this easy against a bum of this level unless there is a fan base this stupid.”
“I expect an apology and an admittance of the lies. If I get that, there can be respect, no problem. We’re both men, and we should be up front as men.
“I’ve been nothing but up front. I think if there was mutual respect, he would admit all they did was lie and were hyping things. Then we could have respect and be cool about it.
“But if he keeps lying about it, I might beat his ass again after I’m done.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena