Jun 22, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Adrien Broner (Gold trunks) and Paulie Malignaggi (White trunks) trade punches during their 12 round WBA welterweight championship bout at the Barclay

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be: Adrien Broner W12 Paulie Malignaggi



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re•lief (rɪˈlif) n. 1. something affording a pleasing change, as from monotony.

To the relief of many, a tasteless and offensive promotion came to an end last night when Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner met at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Broner, having rifled through the skeletons of Malignaggi’s closet, found a bag of bones willing to humiliate herself for fifteen seconds of fame and two minutes of hate, and tried to drum up interest by emasculating Malignaggi via unfavorable sexual reviews of “The Magic Man.” Malignaggi, ever the sanctimonious windbag, played right along, of course, helping turn last night’s “grudge match” into the final act in a vicariously embarrassing drama. Broner won a split decision over Malignaggi in a fight that—rather fittingly—offered little by way of entertainment, but managed to pose a few questions about how Broner might fair against the best fighters at 140 and 147 pounds.

re•lief (rɪˈlif) n. 2. prominence, distinctness, or vividness due to contrast.

Malignaggi, Brooklyn, New York, began the fight the way he finished it, throwing jabs and flurrying to the body before moving to safety. Yet, for all his activity, Malignaggi was unable to do more than frustrate Broner, who by the middle rounds was mixing in uppercuts to the body and walking Malignaggi down. You can praise a fighter for being busy, and Showtime’s commentators repeatedly applauded Malignaggi’s movement and combinations; but in a prizefight, where the goal is to inflict punishment, his frenetic skirting and inaccurate punching was ineffective. Meanwhile, Broner continued to slog Malignaggi, 146 1/2, with a smattering of punches, catching Malignaggi as he finished his flurries, and getting the jump on him with lead right hands.

Outside of a left hook in the third round that wobbled Malignaggi, and a cracking right hand in the sixth, however, Broner, 146 3/4, was unable to seriously endanger his foe. Malignaggi had been stopped before, by Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan, and he was teetering on the brink at the middling fists of Pablo Cesar Cano, but he suffered no such perilous moments against Broner. What that says about Broner’s prospects at welterweight should be mitigated some by the fact that it was his first fight in the division, and that Malignaggi’s strategy made him abandon his jab and throw one shot at a time. Still, if Broner, Cincinnati, Ohio, is the future of boxing in the eyes of Golden Boy and Showtime, the future is not yet now. Not the pulverizing puncher he was at lightweight, and without a gross size advantage, Broner will have to grow as a fighter if he is to make good on expectations (hyperbolic and otherwise).

re•lief (rɪˈlif) n. 3. release from a post of duty, as by the arrival of a replacement.

re•lief (rɪˈlif) n. 4. the person acting as replacement.

But while less destructive on this night, he was virulent enough, and after twelve largely repetitive rounds—marred by a few fouls, and even more talking from two guys being paid to punch—Broner was awarded a split decision victory. The scores read 115-113 and 117-111 for Broner, with a dissenting score of 115-113 for Malignaggi, courtesy of judge Tom Miller, for whom activity seems the supreme virtue.

With his typical cringe-worthy celebration out of the way, Broner, 27-0-1 (22), offered the only intriguing utterance of the entire affair, telling Jim Grey that he would let the fans choose his next opponent. There are a number of attractive opponents available, with that number perhaps increasing in the wake of Broner’s less than dominant performance. Junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse, if a September fight with Danny Garcia fails to materialize, would surely be happy to measure himself against the supposed future of the sport. Amir Khan, heavy-handed Keith Thurman, Ruslan Provodnikov and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. would all receive votes were the brain trust behind Broner actually to allow the consumer to shape the product. That’s not how boxing works however, and these fictional polls would likely close with a shopworn Shane Mosley or some similar threat winning by a mysterious landslide.

Malignaggi would garner a vote or two himself, and could lobby for a rematch on the platform of Miller’s scorecard and the fact that he wasn’t wiped out as anticipated. After the fight, he was up on his soapbox again, the winner of a disputed decision over Juan Cesar Cano wailing on about corruption in boxing because he disliked a scorecard that saw his feathery flurries undeserving of more than three rounds. Relieved of his title, Malignaggi, 32-5 (7), will have to fall back on his vulnerability and mouth to secure meaningful fights in the future. With a budding career as a Showtime analyst, he might consider taking his leave. He has what many fighters do not: options.

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Tags: Adrien Broner Boxing Featured Paulie Malignaggi Popular Welterweights

  • Michael Nelson

    Hey JT,

    Nice recap. I was completely underwhelmed with Broner’s effort, and while I expect him to be moved carefully in the next year, can’t help but imagine the type of hurt a guy like Carson Jones would put on him, much less the top welters. Much less Lucas goddamn Matthysse if he goes down to 140. Of course, it’d be obnoxious to doom a 23 year old – he’s still fast and explosive – but that philly shell defense won’t have much of a shelf life against stronger fighters. Floyd, he is not.

    And like you said… dude, throw a fucking jab.

    Countdown to Golovkin.

    • Jimmy Tobin

      Hi Michael, thanks.

      I was underwhelmed too. I couldn’t believe Malignaggi survived. But Broner is just a kid, so as long as he’s actually interested in getting better I think he can. His trainer is a reputable guy too, if I remember correctly.

      I think Matthysse wrecks him, and Floyd has no trouble, but I like Broner to beat the rest of the field (guys he can actually fight) at 140-147. The power dip was a little surprising, but he might just need a fight or two at the weight. I would LOVE if he fought Carson Jones, but there’s no way I see it getting made.

      Oh, it’s already Golovkin time.

      • Michael Nelson

        Admittedly, the embarrassing lead-up to the Escobedo fight remains in the back of my head when projecting how good Broner might end up being. How interested he is in getting better remains an open question for me, and this performance didn’t provide any answers. Just more questions on how far his natural ability can take him against guys his own size or bigger.

        • Jimmy Tobin

          I’m hoping he takes some heat for the performance, and redoubles his efforts. But why bother when Showtime will pay you to fight Al Haymon’s best recommendation?

    • Antwonomous

      Michael,

      I also found Broner’s performance against Malignaggi unimpressive, but I think he’d be the rightful favorite against Matthysse (I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t know who Carson Jones is). Matthysse is destructive, but he’d be at a large deficit of speed and skill against Broner. Matthysse is much better than Paulie, but not nearly as crafty. He’d take a licking against Broner, even in victory.

      • Jimmy Tobin

        Hi Ant,

        The Matthysse fight is the one leading the poll on Ring TV, and it isn’t even close. I’d love to see that fight, and think Broner has the skills to win it; but Matthysse is operating at such a high level right now, and Broner is still hittable, so I like Lucas in that one. At 140 though, maybe it’s a bit more competitive.

      • Michael Nelson

        Ant,

        You should check out Kell Brook vs. Carson Jones if you get the chance man. Bloody and fun. They have a rematch in a few weeks.

        I’m not sold on Broner’s defense; he defends his head very well in lieu of leaving his body exposed. He appeared to care less that Malignaggi landed there at will, but I’d argue he should’ve cared because 1) those count as landed blows, and 2) good luck against someone with heavier hands. I haven’t seen much change from fight to fight, and I’m dubious as to whether that style will fly against Matthysse.

        You’re right though, he’d definitely land his fair share. It’d be a banger.

  • thenonpareil

    Hi JT,

    good write-up. I’m surprised (I know I shouldn’t be) at the fuss this fight has kicked up, but it doesn’t take much these days. To me, Broner appeared to take Malignaggi as a joke throughout the fight, and Malignaggi did look sort of ridiculous with many of his crazed flurries to the belt line. If he hit Broner more than 10 times to the head with a power punch, I’d be shocked.

    Malignaggi put up a good effort, though, and the fight was more fun than I thought it would be, but that’s not saying much.

    Michael seems to think Broner is overrated because of this performance, but I think he may just have to become accustomed to the weight and not view his opponents as absurd….which is what the matchmakers are supposed to do.

    • Jimmy Tobin

      Hi CA, thanks.

      The backlash Broner is currently experiencing (that he was exposed, or or whatever) rivals the current of hyperbole that carried him into it. Energy doesn’t dissipate, it just changes form, or some shit, I can’t remember…

      Malignaggi was busy, but like you said, there just wasn’t a lot landing for the guy. And the idea that Broner took Malignaggi as a joke makes sense too. He just walked through stuff and laughed, but what he should’ve done is walked through it and beat the brakes off a guy who couldn’t hurt him.

      Maybe that comes with seasoning at both the weight, and as a fighter. I dunno. But I put very little faith in the matchmakers at Golden Boy to actually develop the guy. They don’t have to (and usually suck at it).

      I hope he stays at 147 though, and acclimatizes against a Maidana or something, while the crop at 140 readies to move up.

  • Dennis Wise

    Hey, great points. He will have to grow as a fighter particularly if he wants stay at 147, but I think 140 will require it as well. He is going to win far more than he loses, but it is not likely he’ll be able to brag about an undefeated record in 5 years. When he reaches the elite he’s going to have to win some brutal firefights.

    I was in the nosebleeds. I thought Malignaggi did as well as he possibly could at this point. The hand speed is long gone and his punches had even less on them than usual, so to see him have any success was fun to watch. The Broner fan base in the stands went from loud, obnoxious if occasionally funny, to disappointed and quiet by the final few rounds.

    The nosebleeds also chanted “HBO HBO HBO” during the HW let down. Wish that made it on the broadcast but it couldn’t have been loud enough. Maybe next time.

    • Jimmy Tobin

      Hi Dennis, I hope Broner doesn’t remain undefeated–the last thing I want is a guy ducking challenges to preserve his 0. And I’m all about brutal firefights. If that’s the kind of stuff Broner gives us it’s better than any “next Floyd” narrative conjured up by a network. There’s room for improvement for Broner, and there’s also plenty of time. Who he chooses to fight next (and in what division) might tell us just how interested he is in growing.

      That HBO chant is fucking brilliant! What a pathetic performance by Banks–especially considering how easily he handled Mitchell the first time. You’re telling me Mitchell improved that much? Get outta here!