"I know I would take another beating from Cotto, but this time I think I can win enough rounds to beat him," Malignaggi said.
Even if Hatton does beat Castillo, at this stage of the Brit's career it is unlikely he would fight Malignaggi any time soon. Hatton has made it clear he is looking only for big money fights.
There are some attractive match-ups, however, for Malignaggi, including reunification fights with current junior welterweight title holders Ricardo Torres and Junior Witter. "The Contender" runner-up and former champion Stevie Forbes, and another ex-title holder, Vivian Harris, would also be TV worthy.
The most emotional moment Saturday night was when Malignaggi, the boy who nobody wanted, was given the championship belt. He hugged it like a security blanked and openly cried.
On the under card, unbeaten 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, Andre Dirrell was facing his toughest test to date in rugged young Brooklyn prospect, Curtis Stevens, whose lone loss in 18 fights was a knockout that came in the 8th round of a 10-round bout in which he was leading on all three scorecards.
Dirrell turned the fight into a dance contest, occasionally sticking Stevens, who was five inches smaller, then running and sliding around the ring, to the distaste of the crowd, which booed his antics roundly and frequently.
Stevens, who did not show any ability to cut off the ring and did not fire many combos, and in the end landed fewer punches than Dirrell, who won by default a unanimous decision, 98-92, and 97-93 twice. In winning the total yawner, Dirrell improved to 12-0, while Stevens slipped to 17-2.