By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Paulie Malignaggi: “If you look at my opponents they all get their ass beat don’t they?”
WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs) defends his world title for the second time in perhaps the most important fight of his career, as he attempts to thwart the challenge of undefeated, two-division champion, Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner (25-0, 22 KOs). The young 23 year-old is moving up two weight classes after winning titles at 130 and 135 to challenge Malignaggi in a hotly contested grudge match at the Barclays Center in Malignaggi’s hometown of Brooklyn, NY.
SHOWTIME will televise Malignaggi vs. Broner, along with the highly-anticipated rematch between heavyweights Seth Mitchell and Jonathan Banks on Saturday, June 22, beginning at 9 PM/ET.
The two have changed volatile insults toward one another, but it appears as though Broner has gotten the best of Paulie in the verbal exchange. Often times Malignaggi has used raucous verbal taunts that include profanity and run-on statements that are often repetitive and illogical. Broner too has been no saint, as Team Broner visually taunted Malignaggi wearing t-shirts calling him ‘Paulette.’
“It doesn’t really matter if he got under my skin,” Malignaggi said during a recent conference call. “I mean I’ve been fighting for 12 years. We can get under each other’s skin or not it doesn’t matter. When the bell rings I’m focused and I’m ready and I’ve already been there already. So if I was the guy who just started this shit then okay you could say, “Hey, he’s getting under his skin. It doesn’t really matter. It’s a irrelevant question. Yeah at times I’m pissed. At times it’s tongue and cheek. I guess it depends on the moment, but it doesn’t really matter. We’ve got a job to do on Saturday night and that’s what counts.”
Malignaggi is in a big spot and there is a lot of pressure he has going into this fight with Broner. Golden Boy Promotions is hyping the young Cincinnati, Ohio native as ‘the next Floyd Mayweather.’ Whatever that means is up to Golden Boy to define for us, but one thing is for sure Broner, prior to leaving HBO Sports due to the failed relationship between the network giant and Golden Boy, has a strong backing and is getting paid well to deliver highlight-reel performances for television. Where HBO fell off, SHOWTIME has not only picked up Broner, but they have also added Golden Boy’s exotic roster along with the pay-per-view king, Floyd Mayweather to their roster.
Therefore, there is an expectation that Broner will continue to win and win in style on Saturday. The problem is that Broner hasn’t fought anyone significant in his career outside of Daniel Ponce DeLeon in March 2011.
Broner, a future star in the making, has fought severely overmatched opposition. Broner has blown through guys at 130 and 135. He captured the WBO super featherweight and lightweight titles within one year and has won all five of his world title fights by knockout. However, Broner has been criticized for fighting in weight divisions where there really was no one of significance for him to fight. Therefore. the smaller 5’ 6,” Broner is moving up in weight to fight a taller slicker fighter. Malignaggi believes that Broner shouldn’t have been pushed up to a higher weight class to fight so quickly.
“He’s a little guy,” Malignaggi said. “He’s a little guy and he’s going to see how overrated his power was. I think they were better off letting him fight a live guy, a lightweight or someone below that before him fighting live guy welterweight. He’s fighting this bigger guy all in one jump so I don’t think that was the most intelligent move on his team part. It doesn’t really matter to me.”
Malignaggi simply isn’t buying into Broner being a dazzling power-puncher. Malignaggi, although he has a dismal 22% career victory-knockout percentage, believes that he has enough power to punish Broner.
“If you look at my opponents they all get their ass beat don’t they?” Malignaggi asked. “I mean do they all not wind up looking like their face went through a window at the end of the fight, especially recently? I don’t see why Adrien Broner’s face is going to look different at the end of the fight. He will wind up looking like they put his face in a blender when I’m done with him. Whatever it is, it depends on him. It depends how bad he wants to win. I’m not going to tell you that I’m going to sit here and knock him out in one punch, but he’s going to feel a lot of punishment on next Saturday night.
The move up to 147 was a risky, but more than successful move for Paulie. The welterweight division is one of the most attractive weight classes in boxing along with the 140 and 154-pound divisions. A big fight against Broner is one of the main reasons why he left Lou DiBella, his former career-long promoter. Malignaggi left DiBella Entertainment to sign with Golden Boy – Big fights!
“There’s satisfaction in every big fight,” Malignaggi added. “The young versus the old match-ups they’re a part of boxing in general so it’s not the first time and it’s not going to be the last time this kind of fight happens. So you know that kind of thing is not really the big motivating factor, just one of many things that are involved in a fight that make it exciting.”
Malignaggi is a veteran of big fights. Quickly after signing with Golden Boy, Malignaggi became a world champion by shockingly knocking out undefeated Vyacheslav Senchenko (TKO 9) in his native Ukraine to capture the WBA strap in April 2012. In his first title defense, Malignaggi, during the groundbreaking fight card to mark Boxing’s return to Brooklyn last October, survived a knockdown in the eleventh round to defeat Pablo Cesar Pablo (W 12), via split decision.
Malignaggi also fought Miguel Cotto and Amir Khan at Madison Square Garden, Ricky Hatton in Las Vegas. His two bouts against Juan Diaz, and his two big wins over Lovermore N’Dou are amongst his very best victories, but a tremendous victory against Broner, perhaps the future of boxing according to some insiders, could be his biggest.
“It’s the main event,” Malignaggi said. “I’m the world champion in the city where my family moved to. I came here and my family came here. When I got in the country I didn’t speak English so it’s the city where my life changed kind of. Right now I get to be on the big stage in the same city as world champion in the main event in a big arena. It’s the kind of things that you say people dream about but really I could have never dreamt it before so these kind of fights are what stand out, not necessarily opponent. It could have been any opponent. I just wanted a big opponent and a name opponent that makes the fight this much bigger.”
Malignaggi vs. Broner, a 12-round fight for Malignaggi’s WBA Welterweight World Championship, will take place Saturday, June 22, 2013 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NewYork beginning at 9 PM/ET. Tickets priced at $250, $125, $75, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes and service charges, are on sale now at www.barclayscenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations, by calling 800-745-3000.