Nonetheless, the Brooklyn pair have exuded nothing but respect for each other ahead of their welterweight clash at their mutual borough's Barclays Center on Saturday night.
In a sport so often scarred by ugly big fight build-ups, it is refreshing to see two of the sport's elder statesmen approach such an important fight in their respective careers without feeling the need to stoop low in order to sell more tickets.
Promoters Golden Boy hope to prop the 'sold out' signs outside the venue for a clash between two fighters who, despite coming off losses, both believe they can use Saturday night to earn the right for one last big-money shot at a world welterweight title.
The 36-year-old Judah - three years Malignaggi's senior - fought with him through the amateur ranks and admitted he has often sat ringside and cheered his rival through his fights. But Judah stressed the lack of hype does not leave him any less hungry to succeed.
Judah said: "My motivation come from the opportunity - the opportunity of still being here 18 years strong and being competitive against young fighters like Paulie Malignaggi and Danny Garcia.
"There's one thing people will tell you - there's a pride about being from Brooklyn. Now I've got the opportunity after 18 years to be crowned king of it. I'm excited and that's where the motivation comes from on my part.
"Paulie is someone I've known for some time. I've watched him grow and there have even been a lot of fights where I've supported him. So now it's kind of crazy to be going up against each other, but it's the sport that we chose and once the bell rings anybody would come to their senses.
"Is there any beef or anything? There's no beef. But we're both competitive athletes and Paulie's supposed to say his skills are better than mine and I'm supposed to say my skills are better than Paulie's. That's what is going to make December 7 such a fantastic night of boxing."
Judah lost his last fight on points against Garcia in April while Malignaggi comes into the bout on the back of a highly impressive split-decision loss to Adrien Broner in June, which suggested he still has something to give at the very highest level.
Malignaggi said: "Zab is someone I respect and looked up to coming up, but winning means everything to me.
"It's not hard to get up for a fight like this. You can still respect your opponent and still get up for a fight. It's hard to go back to your fans and say you're not the best fighter in the borough. I think the motivation is from there. It's a sense of inner-pride within a city. You have to run into the other guy's fans.
"I know what it takes to get back to the top. Winning a fight like this and getting myself a chance to get another world championship in my career is something I don't doubt."
There is no shortage of lucrative possibilities for the winner on Saturday night, with the 147lbs division now stacked with marketable names, and, although advancing years may have dulled their aggressiveness outside the ring, both believe their best is yet to come between the ropes.
"As everybody can see throughout my career, I hate losing," Judah added. "After some of my early losses, I kind of went crazy. I've learned to control myself over the years but losing is something that's not in my arsenal right now, and it's something I'm not looking forward to doing."