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Jason Knight, Paulie Malignaggi interested in boxing match rather than bare-knuckle brawl

Phil Lambert, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship

Jason Knight stopped Artem Lobov in a fifth-round knockout this past weekend at Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships 9, and now he’s got his eye an even bigger challenge.

The former UFC featherweight not only avenged his prior loss to Lobov but he did so in emphatic fashion by battering “The Russian Hammer” for the better part of five rounds before scoring the knockout. With Lobov out of the way, Knight likes the idea of challenging himself in the sport of boxing with former champion Paulie Malignaggi looking like the perfect opponent to make his move.

Knight called for a fight against Malignaggi just after his win over Lobov while stating that he’s happy to put on the gloves rather than challenge him in a bare knuckle fight. Malignaggi made a brief crossover to bare-knuckle competition earlier this year where he lost a unanimous decision to Lobov.

Malignaggi responded in kind when answering the challenge and explaining what it would take to put the two of them into the ring together.

“Well done Jason, solid adjustments Saturday night. I have not yet seen the fight but saw higlights and your sense of timing and disciplined game plan was very impressive to notice,” Malignaggi wrote. “You [definitely] caught onto a few tactics from my fight and fought smarter. I wish my hands could survive the impact again cause truthfully I enjoyed the experience and wouldn’t have minded facing you after your display. However I have a career history of hand problems and I cannot keep risking them or I’m gonna wind up with permanent damage to them.

“If there are interested parties that are willing to put up enough money I am not against regular boxing though where some protection for my hands is there. Maybe David can do a card where you and I glove up but instead of a ring we can fight in the BKFC squared circle with our undercard consisting of bare knuckle fights. Again its dependent on the compensation. After all, we are prizefighters. Once again though, well done and congrats on an impressive display.”

Malignaggi had previously stated that if he was victorious against Lobov that he would have probably continued with his fighting career but the loss along with two damaged hands made the decision for him that it was probably better to retire.

Still, Malignaggi can’t deny a big payday would probably coax him back into the ring again and Knight seems more than willing to welcome him back.

“I’d love to make this happen and it’s not a disrespect thing either, I’d just like the test against a real boxer and see where I stand skill wise,” Knight wrote.

Following the back and forth with Malignaggi on Instagram, Knight spoke to MMA Fighting about his desire to face a boxer and why that interests him so much.

While there are obviously opponents in the bare-knuckle arena that would probably be an easier payday with less risk of defeat, Knight says he’s only interested in the biggest possible challenges and that’s what a championship boxer like Malignaggi represents.

“I’m not a professional boxer. I don’t have a professional boxing record but I wouldn’t mind one bit going over to professional boxing and doing an actual boxing match,” Knight explained.

“Win or lose, it doesn’t matter cause it’s boxing, that’s not my sport but I’d love to go over there and test myself on another level, another combat sport. It’s something else that’s intriguing to me.”

On Saturday night just after his win over Lobov in his native Mississippi, Knight was immediately bombarded with a potential fight against fellow UFC veteran Jim Alers, who is currently 3-0 in his bare-knuckle boxing career including wins over Leonard Garcia and Julian Lane.

Knight already defeated Alers when they were competing in the UFC and truth be told the rematch just doesn’t interest him all that much, which is why he would love the chance to face Malignaggi instead.

“I would love to face a name,” Knight explained. “Jim Alers is a step back from Artem. Of course give Jim Alers the respect he’s due. Jim Alers would probably be a harder fight than Artem but name wise and selling wise, publicity wise, he won’t be as big of a fight as Artem. I would love to fight somebody with a better skill set. Somebody who is a better boxer who is going to test me more than just me showing my toughness. Jim Alers, all he’s going to do is come in and try to put me away in 30 seconds, which he’s not going to do.

“He’s going to come out and try to set a ferocious pace but I’m going to be able to take it. I’ll get through that first little storm and then pick Jim Alers apart. I’d rather fight somebody that has really good skills and makes me work really hard in my training camp to be able to level up to get to the next level of competition.”

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