As boxing press conferences go, today's show hyping Saturday's bout between WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan and Brooklyn's Paulie Malignaggi at the Theater at Madison Square Garden had a lot of entertaining verbal jabs. Reporter Arthur Staple will bring you all the important details previewing the bout in Thursday's edition of Newsday.

But I thought I'd share some fun observations and anecdotes here. My favorite exchange was one not everybody could hear between Freddie Roach, Khan's trainer, and Lou DiBella, Malignaggi's promoter. Roach took note of the inclusion of Breidis Prescott on the undercard. For those who aren't familiar with his name, Prescott represents the "1" in Khan's 22-1 record, and that one loss was by knockout at 54 second of the first round on Sept. 6, 2008. Khan was down once before being counted out after the second knockdown.

That fight actually is the reason Roach is training Khan, who took the bout on the recommendation of previous trainer Jorge Rubio, who was summarily fired afterward. When it was Roach's turn to speak today, he looked at DiBella and said, "Lou, I like the psychological warfare bringing Prescott in. Good move. Very good move." Having admitted earlier that he couldn't resist putting Prescott on the card, DiBella just grinned and said, "I've got to try every trick possible against your fighters."

Roach later discounted the loss as the kind of thing that could happen to any young fighter when he runs into a punch, and the trainer now has Khan fighting smarter. But it's a reminder of what can happen to any so-called phenom when they're in with a fighter as clever as Malignaggi.

As DiBella mentioned, Khan and Malignaggi have been trash-talking and "tweeting each other to death" throughout the promotion, and they pumped up the volume again today in comical fashion. Malignaggi called his fights in 2008, specifically his knockout loss to Ricky Hatton, "garbage" and reiterated that this chance to be a two-time world champion represents "redemption" to him. He told Khan to "be careful what you wish for," and he called his opponent a "tourist" in New York for his first fight outside the United Kingdom.

Khan said he expects a horde of Brits to descend on MSG to make it sound like a home fight for him, but they must not have materialized yet because tickets are still available, including the cheapest $65 seats, even though promoters said they expect a sellout for the HBO "Boxing After Dark" show.

"I want to send a statement to the 140-pound division," Khan ranted. "I can't wait to beat him. I'm the only guy who can beat him up properly."

The accent and the phrasing, of course, were the King's proper English, which made it all sound so civilized, but Malignaggi's crew was taunting Khan the whole time. "It's good you support your guy," Khan said, "but you're going to be crying. This is a business. I have to hurt someone. Don't hold it against me."

Are those British fighting words or what?

HBO executive Kery Davis had a take on the affair that was similar to mine. He recalled how WBO featherweight champion Naseem Hamed, who only had fought in England, made his U.S. debut against Kevin Kelley, the "Flushing Flash," in the same Theater at MSG. I covered that bout, and what a wild one it was. Kelley had Hamed down once in each of the first, second and fourth rounds. But Hamed knocked down Kelley in the second and twice in the fourth, when he won by TKO.

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"It was one of the most exciting fights we've had," said Davis, who was making his debut with HBO that night. Davis said the parallels between Hamed and Khan as Muslim boxers born in England is obvious, but he added, "The most interesting parallel is between Kelley and Malignaggi. Kevin was a brash, colorful guy who talked a lot, and Paulie does a lot of the same things. Paulie has the skill set to help us determine if Amir Khan is the marketable asset we think he is. Paulie has enough to win this fight."

That he does. Should be an interesting main event.

The undercard also promises some interesting bouts, featuring undefeated Brooklyn middleweight Daniel Jacobs (19-0, 16 KOs) and the debut of Irish junior welterweight Jamie Kavanagh, who was discovered by Roach. But the semifinal should be a terrific fight at 140 between former lightweight champion Nate Campbell (33-5-1, 25 KOs) and Victor Ortiz (26-2-1, 21 KOs), who lost to Marcos Rene Maidana for the interim WBA 140-pound title last June.

The 23-year-old Ortiz sounded like a typically laid-back California kid when he wondered on his first trip to New York, "Why do they call it the 'Big Apple.' It's kind of weird, but it's been going through my mind."

Campbell, a 38-year-old vet from Jacksonville, Fla., sounded more ominous. "I'm not going to make idle threats," he said. "I'll let my hands do the talking. I grew up in the ghetto as a foster child. I've been by myself most of my life. I'll fight anyone they put in front of me. What you do is what you do."


That's a serious man in a serious business.

In case you didn't see it in the previous blog, Marcus Henry has some comments from promoter Bob Arum, who hopes to have Philippines congressman Manny Pacquiao fighting in November, hopefully, against Floyd Mayweather. I'll have a whole lot more on that subject in my boxing column in Sunday's Newsday.