Britain’s WBA light-welterweight champion Amir Khan said he was living a dream by fighting at Madison Square Garden, but challenger Paul Malignaggi promised him a rude welcome.
Khan is making the second defense of his title against the Brooklyn boxer on May 15.
“Coming to the mecca for my US debut boxing at Madison Square Garden, it’s been my dream,” Khan told reporters on Tuesday at a news conference at the Garden. “Everybody wants to fight here where Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and everyone have fought. “I’ll have my name in the history books.”
Malignaggi said Khan would not like New York.
“This fight is going to be in front of a crowd where when Amir gets punched in his mouth they’re going to love it,” the challenger said. “Madison Square Garden is pro-Malignaggi. This is New York City. This is my city. When Amir’s head is getting snapped back with blistering combinations the crowd is going to love it.”
Malignaggi already created some ill will with his comments concerning suspicions that Khan might be on steroids as he trains at Freddie Roach’s gym along with Manny Pacquiao, who scuttled a title fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr because he would not agree to an Olympic-style doping protocol.
Roach warned Malignaggi he would be paid back in the ring.
“I know some people have made some comments about them using steroids and that pisses me off a little bit,” Roach said about Khan and Pacquiao. “Why can’t they just accept that these two guys work hard and they are great fighters? You’ll see that on the 15th and Paulie, you will definitely see it.”
Former IBF champion Malignaggi said he respected Khan.
“I made my comments and I stand by my comments,” he said. “I never said Amir was a cheater. It never came out of my mouth. Somebody asked me a question, did it cross your mind, have you thought about it, being as he has the same team around him. I said I’d be lying if it never crossed my mind. But he hasn’t given me any right to think that.”
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