Former two-division world titleholder Paulie Malignaggi has a comfortable job as an analyst for Showtime's boxing telecasts and is also well-known to the British public for his work on Sky Sports' boxing shows. However, the pull of the ring was too much for him to resist.
Malignaggi, who has wrestled with whether or not to retire, will return to action when he challenges England's Sam Eggington for his regional welterweight title on March 4 at the O2 Arena in London.
The bout, announced by Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn on Wednesday, will be on the undercard of the highly anticipated heavyweight showdown between British rivals David Haye (28-2, 26 KOs) and Tony Bellew (28-2-1, 18 KOs), a reigning cruiserweight titleholder who is moving up in weight for the clash.
"I am excited as ever to once again return to the U.K. and fight in front of the most passionate fans in the world," Malignaggi said. "I know Eggington is young and hungry but my experience and craftiness will be too much for him to overcome."
Malignaggi (36-7, 7 KOs), 36, of Brooklyn, New York, who has won world titles at junior welterweight, has fought twice previously in England, including most recently in December 2015 when he won a lopsided unanimous decision against Antonio Moscatiello for a regional European belt at the O2 Arena.
"What a fight this is and what an opportunity for Sam Eggington," Hearn said. "Paulie Malignaggi is one of the biggest names and personalities in the sport and still remains full of skill, heart and desire.
"Sam has consistently provided fight fans with entertainment and after his fight of the year contender with Frankie Gavin [in October]. This is an incredible opportunity to announce himself on the world stage. March 4 is going to be an incredible night."
Eggington (19-3, 11 KOs), 23, of England, knocked out former world title challenger Gavin in the eighth round in a dramatic fight.
"This is the big name and big card that I've wanted for some time," Eggington said. "I've asked for these sorts of fights for a while. I got Frankie and now I've got Paulie. He's going to be the biggest name on my record. You just have to look at what he's won and who he has boxed to see that, but I have asked to fight him for a while now and I am confident that I can beat him, and beating him is a big scalp on my record and it puts me in that world bracket which is where I want to be."
Malignaggi has won three fights in a row but against lesser opposition. His last fight was a 10-round unanimous decision against Brooklyn rival Gabriel Bracero last July.
But before the three wins in a row Malignaggi faced top opposition and lost two in a row, getting knocked out in tremendously one-sided fights by then-welterweight titlist Shawn Porter in the fourth round in April 2014 followed by a ninth-round pummelling by Danny Garcia in August 2015, after which Malignaggi openly contemplated retirement.
"He's good at what he does," Eggington said of Malignaggi, known as a skillful boxer. "He is a bit like Frankie really and fighting him has put me in good stead for this one. He's not the biggest puncher and he's smaller than Frankie, but he's won world titles and been in with everyone.
"Paulie's been at world level for so long that he's got all the tricks and probably got more to pull out on the night, so I know it's going to be a big test and it's one that I'm going to rise to. This could have been a fight without a title. Paulie is the man I want to beat. That name on the record will make people stand up and take notice and will make a splash in the U.S. too."