Paulie Malignaggi is called himself a "completely changed" fighter.

Under the tutelage of new trainer Sharif Younan, Malignaggi believes he is on pace to reach new heights in the sport.

"So far its been the best decision I've made in my career," Malignaggi said.

Malignaggi split with trainer Buddy McGirt after a tough loss to Ricky Hatton in November 2008. Malignaggi blamed much of the loss on McGirt and his training methods.

"I'm not going to say everything was totally bad with Buddy, but proof is in the pudding," Malignaggi. "I didn't want to blame Buddy...But I was looking terrible every fight...The problem was not me...Sometimes you have to make changes that are beneficial."

Malignaggi said McGirt changed his fighting stance in a way he wasn't comfortable with.

Malignaggi said: "He wanted me to fight in a low, low stance. If you're on the ropes and you want to stay low all the time, that's fine. If you're inside and you stay low all the time, that's okay, too, because you don't want to get hit. But if [I'm] in the middle of the ring and I have my room around me, that's my time to shift. I can juke and jive and do all that stuff.

"If you're in a shell, you can't move the same way," he added. "You don't have that fluid movement. To a certain extent, staying low is good. But in the middle of the ring, I needed my fluidity...When you take away my fluidity, it makes it easier for people to track me down." 

Malignaggi (27-3, 5 KOs) has won two of his last three fights since hiring Younan. The loss, which was controversial, came to Juan Diaz in his hometown of Houston last August. Malignaggi overcame that decision and dominated Diaz in a unanimous decision last December in Chicago.

Malignaggi's promoter Lou DiBella didn't object to the change, but went out of his way to credit McGirt for his boxing expertise.

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 "I think Buddy McGirt's a great trainer. And he's my friend," DiBella said. "Paulie says what Paulie's going to say. But I'll say this. Under Sharif, he's more himself. And he's fighting like Paulie Malignaggi."

Photo credit: AP