Usually, the “King Of Brooklyn” title is held and often disputed between rappers. Biggie. Jay-Z. AZ. Talib Kweli. Mos Def. Just to name a few. But, on December 7th, two long time friends and Brooklynites will battle in a different kind of ring. Boxing veterans, Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah, will enter the squared jungle at the Barclays Center, right in the heart of Brooklyn.
This isn’t a championship match but there will be a championship atmosphere in the air as these two duke it out. Despite both fighting in nearby weight class for over a combined 29 years, this will be the first meeting between them.
At first, the two didn’t want to fight each other because of their long standing friendship, but then they both talked it over and said “why not?”
The respect runs deep between the two boxers, something that is rare in the sport. Paulie has looked up to Zab all his career as someone who paved the way. “For a lot of years, I came up behind Zab and he kind of laid the building blocks for my generation. He was kind of the guy to look up to and to try to match his accomplishments,” says Paulie in an interview for ESPN.
Zab echos similar sentiments for Paulie in saying “Paulie is somebody that I’ve known for a long time. I’ve watched him, I’ve watched him grow and there have even been a lot of fights where I’ve supported him,” says Zab in the same ESPN interview conducted by Dan Rafael.
Both fighters are coming off of losses to two upcoming boxers, Zab to Danny Garcia and Paulie to Adrien Broner who are now title holders themselves. Even though they are fighting for the title of “King of Brooklyn,” they understand what’s really at stake here. A win could propel one of them higher in the deep welterweight class and a possible world title shot in the near future.
As far as the loser, for as long as they have been fighting and this late in their careers, this could also be their last stop. Paulie has taken up commentating for Showtime matches in between his own and Zab is running his own boxing promotion company called “Super Judah Promotions,” goes to show that both are already looking beyond boxing. So, who will be the man that stands victorious and goes on to bring back a title to Brooklyn? Well, you’ll just have to tune in and see.