Fortuna to battle Vasquez in Brooklyn; Paulie Malignaggi out with injury

Due to an injury to Paulie Malignaggi, Javier Fortuna and Bryan Vasquez will now open the Premier Boxing Champions broadcast on Spike TV on May 29 live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, at 9 p.m. ET.

Javier Fortuna and Paulie Malignaggi

Javier Fortuna will now fight Bryan Vasquez on the PBC card in Brooklyn, New York, on May 29.

The gash looks like something from the kind of horror flick that you only watch after any kids are cleared from the room.

Paulie Malignaggi earned this ugly, eye-inflating battle scar two days ago. During a Wednesday sparring session, Malignaggi caught an elbow to his left eye, resulting in a deep, gushing open wound.

“I have a lot of scars over my left eye,” he says. “It was probably an old scar opening up.”

As the blood streamed down his face, Malignaggi knew that it was serious. Turns out he was right.

The injury has forced Malignaggi to withdraw from his May 29 comeback fight against Danny O’Connor at Barclays Center in Malignaggi’s native Brooklyn, New York.  

On the televised portion of the fight card, which airs on Spike TV, Malignaggi’s bout will be replaced by a 130-pound scrap between Javier Fortuna and Bryan Vasquez.

Malignaggi’s cut required stitches, which come out on Tuesday, but doctors informed Malignaggi that he wouldn’t be able to spar for weeks, seriously detracting from his training. What’s more, the relative freshness of the wound means that it could easily be opened once again if he was to fight anytime soon.

For Malignaggi, who’s become an increasingly in-demand boxing TV analyst since his last fight in April 2014, the postponement of his return to the ring is especially bittersweet, as he’s been engaged in the difficult balancing act of training for a fight while also working full time as a commentator.

“All that sacrifice,” he says, his voice trailing off, his usual gusto clearly muted on this day.

Malignaggi is unsure when he will be able to fight again or who it will be against. “I’d like to be back in the fall,” he says.

In the meantime, there is a silver lining to Malignaggi’s predicament. After having to watch what he ate for weeks on end now, he no longer has to worry about making weight anytime soon.  

“I’ve already had a pizza,” Malignaggi notes with at least a hint of satisfaction.

Fortuna vs. Vasquez

Javier Fortuna vs. Bryan Vasquez, which was originally scheduled to take place May 23, replaces the bout between Malignaggi and Danny O'Connor.

The 12-round title fight will lead into the highly anticipated contest between former world champions Amir Khan and Chris Algieri.

An amateur standout who participated in the first Pan American Junior Championships in 2003, the 25-year-old Fortuna (27-0-1, 20 KOs) owns victories over Abner Cotto, Miguel Zamudio and Patrick Hyland. The undefeated southpaw out of La Romana, Dominican Republic, has four earned stoppages in his last five fights.

The 27-year-old Vasquez (35-1, 18 KOs) is quickly becoming known as the preeminent pugilist from Costa Rica. The San Jose native has won his last five fights, including a stoppage of Sergio Thompson in December.

O'Connor will now fight in his hometown of Boston on May 23 on the undercard of the PBC on NBC event from Boston University's Agganis Arena.

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