By Chris Cella
When the fight between WBA world welterweight champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi and WBC lightweight champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner first materialized, there wasn’t much of a reception by fans worldwide.
But as things got underway at the press conference, we saw a glimpse of the excitement that we can expect to see when these two champions meet at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn June 22.
Photo: Esher Lin/Showtime
The undefeated Broner (26-0, 22 KO) will be jumping up two weight classes to clash with Malignaggi and go to battle in the welterweight champion’s backyard. Both fighters possess hand speed, very sound technical boxing ability, and of course, a certain flair which makes them quite recognizable inside and out of the ring.
Malignaggi’s (32-4, 7 KO) resume reads impressive; the only four losses of his career came at the hands of world champions, and coming into this fight he has won five bouts in a row, two by way of stoppage. Early in his career he set the niche about his character with his crazy hair and decorative outfits, but inside the ring he has been a fighter who never seems to go away. Not known for his power, Malignaggi is able to utilize his jab and crafty footwork to offset opponents’ timing, elude power shots and win rounds, and he will look to execute much of the same against Broner June 22.
Never short of words leading up to a fight, Malignaggi wanted to make it clear how he felt about Broner.
“Now you’re fighting a real fighter, real fighters punch back,” Malignaggi directed to Broner. “He’s coming up to a real weight class against a real man. He’s going to get hit too.”
At 23-years-old Broner is already a two division champion and has stopped his last six opponents. But many in the boxing world have questioned the talent of the opponents he has faced, and how he would fare against a real test. Questions will be answered when he steps in against The Magic Man.
“Everyone is saying ‘He’s going up in weight. Is he going to be strong enough and fast enough to take on a world class world champion?’” said Broner. “I know Paulie is going to come out to fight like he always does, but this will be his fourth loss to a world champion. He just keeps getting whooped by champions. All of the good fights at 140 were already matched up.”
Broner has been able to use his mouth to get under the skin of opponents in the past, but Malignaggi will hardly be bothered by it. His and Broner’s road to getting to world champion status are from the complete opposite ends of the spectrum, and Malignaggi is more than adamant about Broner being handed his titles, not fighting in the trenches as he did to work his way up to the big stage.
Malignaggi continued, “Guys like you, they’re a dime a dozen. Adrien is nothing more than a Floyd Mayweather wananbe. He doesn’t just fight like him. He talks like him. He breathes like him. He needs to get his own character. I didn’t get my titles handed to me. I had to earn them. He has good speed and good timing, but his power is overrated. A lot of what he does is overrated.”
Broner has wanted the opportunity to prove that he is the real deal, and that he is a true champion capable of fighting top echelon opponents, and June 22 he will get it.
“I take him seriously, but he’s a clown,” Broner continued. “He’s going to come out with big feet, dyed hair and a crazy outfit, but I’m going to punch him until his nose is red enough to complete out the outfit. I call him the one handed bandit. He’s never thrown a right hand ever. On June 22, he’s going to wish there’s another corner he can run to.”
Paulie Malignaggi has never backed down from any opponent, and fans can expect him to come into the bout with Broner the best shape of his career as he will look to not only derail the lightweight champions’ undefeated hopes, but punish him.
The time for talk will come to an end June 22 when the first round gets underway, but I doubt we heard the last from either fighter.