Paulie Malignaggi has known Zab Judah for nearly half of his life. They're friends, and they respect each other.
But that won't stop either Brooklyn-bred boxer from throwing down in the 12-round main event of Saturday's fight card at the Barclays Center, which airs at 8 p.m. on Showtime, in an unofficial battle to be king of Kings County. The bout will be contested at welterweight.
"Having that Brooklyn pride, none of us are scared of a fight," said Malignaggi, the former WBA welterweight champion.
Malignaggi, a Bensonhurst native and son of Italian immigrants, and Judah, a Brownsville native and former undisputed welterweight champion, trained together at the same gym when Malignaggi was just starting out and Judah was a rising star in the boxing world, but they've never sparred with one another.
"Zab was always a guy that was coming late in the gym," said Malignaggi, who is three years younger than his opponent. "I was always the guy who liked to get my work out of the way early."
Another reason the two never worked together is the preference of Malignaggi, an orthodox fighter, not to train with southpaws like Judah unless he's preparing for one. This fight is one of the more rare opportunities to face a lefthanded fighter, but Malignaggi isn't worried.
"I've never lost to a lefthander," Malignaggi said, "in the amateurs or the pros."