It’s been several years since Paulie Malignaggi has called Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, New York, his home. But no matter what, the legendary gym in his hometown will always hold special meaning for one of the borough’s boxing legends.
“I was a very immature kid when I came here,” Malignaggi said during a recent visit back to his old stomping grounds. “I learned to box, I learned to think, I had a lot of hard lessons in here.”
At Gleason’s, a true sweatbox back in the day, Malignaggi first arrived as a teenage boxing fan without a honed skill set or much direction.
He developed into a two-division world champion—the first of those titles is immortalized on one of Gleason’s walls with a banner.
That banner hangs alongside those of a wave of world champions to come from Gleason’s in its heyday, including Zab Judah and Junior Jones.
Some of Malignaggi’s most brutal and eye-opening lessons at Gleason's came from sparring sessions with Jones, which hardened him both physically and mentally.
“This place was a mecca for boxing as far as a haven for learning to box, and for kids my age to come and get off the streets,” he said. “Champions could keep perfecting their craft here."