Boxing: Adrien Broner

Malignaggi weighs in on Broner's flaws

December, 16, 2013
He's been telling us, and not in subtle fashion, not resorting to hints or implications. No, Paul Malignaggi has told us for a long spell that Adrien Broner is not the heir apparent, not the new Floyd Mayweather, definitely not the future of boxing, as the fighter himself has been stating for the last couple of years.

Judging by what fight fans saw of Broner on Saturday night, in a welterweight clash against rugged rumbler Marcos Maidana of Argentina, it is clear that all should have been paying more heed to Malignaggi.

The Bensonhurst-bred boxer -- who had his hand raised in his last scrap, on Dec. 7 against Zab Judah at Barclays Center -- was a Broner doubter even before he faced off with the Ohio-based 25-year-old who lost via UD to Maidana in San Antonio. The doubts for Malignaggi, who worked an analyst chair for Showtime and saw Broner floundering on Saturday, increased last June when he clashed with Broner at Barclays. The cocksure Broner beat Malignaggi and exited with the New Yorker's WBA welterweight title via split decision, but Malignaggi's certainty that Broner had more flaws than his backers acknowledged grew immensely. Those flaws -- his lack of calmness when in trouble, his inability or unwillingness to adapt to a game plan that isn't working, his disdain for using his feet to get better angles or remove himself from being exposed to punches, his desire to manipulate the circumstances to gain an edge from an official instead of fighting his way out of trouble, the immaturity he has demonstrated both personally and professionally -- became apparent to all the folks who swallowed the hype.

"Broner can fight," Malignaggi told me, "and there's nothing wrong with being a very good fighter, which he is, he just isn't and was never going to be this generation's best fighter. He can be one of this generation's high-level fighters, but to crown him what the media tried to crown him is just ridiculous."

To strike a note of solidarity with my media brethren, I will say oftentimes we do simply act in a "we report, you decide" manner. Broner himself pushed the idea that the Mayweather era was passing and he was taking over the mantle, and yes, perhaps some of us could have examined his bona fides more judiciously. But ultimately, I think the magnifying glass and critiques are best aimed at the boxer, rather than the promoters who hyped him and the media which reported the hype chatter. And indeed, you see in the days after the Broner loss that fans agree; the level of contempt for the fighter is considerable and cringeworthy. You had some folks saying they don't need Santa to slither down the chimney, that Broner losing is all they need to make their holidays merry ones.

Check back for more from Malignaggi about what if anything Broner can do to rebound, and who he wants to target next.

Old pros Malignaggi, Judah look to Dec. 7

November, 26, 2013
Paulie Malignaggi and Zab JudahGetty ImagesPaulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah will go at it in 'The Battle of Brooklyn' on Dec. 7.
Both men can be combustible, and often are.

Paul Malignaggi showed his zest for trash talk not long ago at the presser to announce his Dec. 7 clash, "The Battle of Brooklyn," against Zab Judah, when he laced into the media for being know-nothings more interested in parading their ignorance and delving into National Enquirer-level material than being respectable journalists.

And Zab Judah showed a wide range of his personality the week of his April 27 clash against Danny Garcia, when he was up in arms at the prefight presser for that Barclays Center bout, because, he said, he'd been cooped up in a room, for hours, without water, because event planners didn't want him and Garcia to fight before the fight.

Those two gents, though, were nowhere to be found on a Tuesday conference call to hype their showdown on a Golden Boy card, which will determine if rooters from Judah's Brownsville or Malignaggi's Bensonhurst will be more merry that evening. The 36-year-old Judah and the just-turned-33 Malignaggi were the height of professionalism, and had basically nothing but kind words for each other.

Both made sure to mention while they had mutual respect, this wouldn't be a sparring match, a pugilistic "friendly," and all involved made it clear the two vets are both still in the mix with the elite.

"This is nowhere near my last fight," said Judah, who noted that Floyd Mayweather, Juan Manuel Marquez and Bernard Hopkins are all still competing on a high level, though they are up in years. "I am the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world," declared Judah, 1-2 in his past three bouts.

"This fight has the potential to be the greatest fight the Barclays Center has seen," said Malignaggi, a skilled seller who was labeled the best color commentator working today by promoter Richard Schaefer. He surprised to the upside, in the eyes of many, in a loss in his last outing to Adrien Broner.

These are two slick, smart pugilists, and the fight will likely not be a slobberknocker special, one to appeal to the masses who aren't as keen on the sweetly scientific elements of the sport. But even if the scrap isn't a Fight of the Year candidate, the card is pretty packed, and tickets start at $25, so it should be a good night of fights.

Mikey Garcia: Great fighter, impressive man

November, 12, 2013
Mikey GarciaTom Pennington/Getty ImagesHow does Mikey Garcia celebrate a big win? It's probably not how you'd expect.
I'm a sucker for the humble warriors -- people who you know could care for your toddler in an emergency. Promoter Bob Arum has a couple of those types. One of them, Manny Pacquiao, fights Nov. 23 in Macau. Another one, Mikey Garcia, won in Texas on Saturday, stopping Rocky Martinez 56 seconds into the eighth round to take the WBO junior lightweight crown.

Arum said he's impressed with both Garcia the fighter, and Garcia the citizen, as a guy who never gets involved in drama, or stoops to toxic trash talk to sell his fights. The 33-0 (28 KOs) fighter is disciplined in the ring, calmly assessing the situation and rarely leaving himself open to being countered. That mindset fits his choice to attend and graduate from California's Ventura County Police and Sheriff's Reserve Officer Academy in January 2010.

"After his boxing days are over, Mikey will excel as a law enforcement officer as he has as a boxer," Arum said. "He will handle himself with the grace and decency he has always shown."

OK, he's a promoter, so maybe you think he's too predisposed to give a positive assessment. I'll give you insight into the sort of guy Garcia is.

After he downed Martinez, Garcia was thrown after-party offers. What did he do -- hit a club, snag some bottles and blow off steam? Nope. "I went to Whataburger, had a burger and went to sleep," he said in a Monday phoner.

Garcia has creeped up peoples' pound-for-pound lists. And in fact, one writer posted a column Monday afternoon in which he posited that Garcia has looked as good as Floyd Mayweather did at the same stage of Mayweather's career. I clued Garcia into that quote, and he reacted with humble gratitude. "That's really big, to be considered with a guy like Floyd," he said. "But I gotta keep proving myself."

Garcia showed his worth in New York on Jan. 19 when he beat Orlando Salido (TD8) at the Theater at MSG. Area fight fans would be more than pleased to get him back in the area for another look. Garcia said one name he's heard is Yuriorkis Gamboa. Garcia said he'd happily jump to 135 from 130 for that rumble. WBA junior lightweight champ Argenis Mendez is another possibility. "That's a very good, close fight," he said. "He is skilled, fast, doesn't give a lot of openings, while Gamboa does present more openings."

Having a varied array of personalities to cover in the sport is a fine thing, from a writer's perspective. The trash talkers, the Broners of the world, are always good for some sensational actions that stir the pot. But in the grand scheme of things, as a global citizen, as someone who, like all of us, looks for touchstones of sanity and decency in a too-frequently unstable and fearsome world, it's good to have Mikey Garcias to look up to and admire.

Mellow Zab, fiery Paulie hype Dec. 7 bout

October, 15, 2013
Paulie Malignaggi will battle Zab Judah at Barclays Center on Dec. 7.Nick Laham/Golden BoyGetty ImagesPaulie Malignaggi will battle Zab Judah at Barclays Center on Dec. 7.
Both boxers are coming off clashes they lost at Barclays Center, scraps which featured heated trash talking. But Zab Judah and Paul Malignaggi were on their best behavior Tuesday afternoon as they hyped their Battle of Brooklyn, which will unfold at Barclays Center on Dec. 7, on a Golden Boy card which will run on Showtime.

That isn't to say the presser at Barclays Center didn't feature some verbal bomb-dropping. But it was the Bensonhurst-bred Malignaggi (32-5 with seven KOs; age 32) who put that forth, with a scathing takedown of the boxing media, which he slammed for being too keen on printing gossip. He was riffing off resentments which bubbled up in the leadup to his last outing, against Adrien Broner on June 22. Malignaggi said the boxing media too often acted like "The National Enquirer," because material was printed about a relationship he had with a woman who later became involved with Broner.

Also, he said, boxing writers are often too busy crafting pound-for-pound lists, instead of reporting on substantive issues, like performance-enhancing drugs. He took a slap at "experts" who didn't think he was neck-and-neck with Broner, who won a split decision in their bout. He took the stance that writers who don't take serious stands on deep issues have no right to opine on a boxer, for example, coasting to a decision win instead of gunning for a stoppage.

Brownsville native Judah (42-8 with 29 KOs; age 35), who looked solid in dropping a UD12 to Danny Garcia on April 27, was comparatively mellow. There was zero hint of danger, or premature violence, as there was during the first Judah-Garcia presser, which nearly devolved into a full-scale brawl.

Judah said that he had an edge over Malignaggi in "hand speed and power," and predicted Malignaggi doesn't have the pop to rebuff him at all. "Paulie has fast hands, too," he allowed. "But he doesn't have what it takes to hold Zab Judah back."

Malignaggi not keen to share spotlight

September, 26, 2013
Paul Malignaggi, the Bensonhurst-bred former junior welter and welterweight champion who doubles as a Showtime analyst, is between fights. He seems to be enjoying the downtime; the boxer relished bites of a cupcake at Gleason's in Brooklyn on Thursday, during a workout session to hype the Monday Golden Boy card at Barclays.

The frosted treat had been purchased by publicist Kelly Swanson for the Monday headliner, Sadam Ali, a birthday boy on Thursday, as he makes his Golden Boy debut against Jay Krupp.

As Malignaggi licked the last bit of frosting from his fingers, he got NYFightblog up to speed with his current status as a boxer. We'd heard that a fight with Zab Judah was imminent and asked him where that all-Brooklyn mash-up stood.

"You get one shot to make me and Zab," he said, explaining that he sees that scrap as a main event in Barclays, not as a support bout with other principals topping a Dec. 7 Barclays card. "It's not a co-main event with Zab."

Common sense says the budget for the main support bout isn't in the same ballpark as a main event, and, he implied, he's not keen at this stage of his career to accept lesser-light status and the paycheck haircut that would result.

Malignaggi said that a match with Shawn Porter, an ascending welter, had been brought up to him, but he didn't seem enthused. He also had gotten wind of a theoretical scrap against interim WBA welter champ Keith Thurman, but Thurman is locked in with a date against Mexican rumbler Jesus Soto Karass on Dec. 14 in Vegas. An Adrien Broner-Marcos Maidana tussle tops that Vegas promotion, and Malignaggi would be pumped to face the winner. He acquitted himself more than adequately against Broner, losing a split decision to the cocky Cinci stylist on June 22 in Brooklyn. But he's pretty pragmatic, and knows he'll likely not be handed that honor. "I've got to come back with something," he said. "I do feel I shouldn't have to tap-dance for a shot but I think I will have to stay busy."

For Collazo, Monday is truly Labor Day

August, 31, 2013
Luis CollazoElsa/Getty ImagesLuis Collazo, right, hopes that a win on Monday yields an Adrien Broner or Keith Thurman matchup.

It's Labor Day Weekend, and for many, there is no resting their weary bones or minds. There will be some rest, but not much, for Brooklyn-born Queens resident Luis Collazo as he counts down to a Monday contest in Texas.

The 33-year-old former welterweight titlist, who is keen on getting back to that apex he enjoyed in 2005, is fighting Alan Sanchez at Cowboys Dance Hall in San Antonio (Fox Sports 1).

Collazo (33-5, 17 KOs) hasn't had to go far to fight of late. His two most recent contests -- wins against Steve Upsher Chambers last October and Miguel Callist in April -- came at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

I recently reached out to Collazo and asked him what brought him to Texas for a Labor Day weekend gig.

"I was originally supposed to fight Shawn Porter," he said. "I said yes, but it fell through. So this was another fight Golden Boy came up with. I just want to fight. This is something I love doing. I like entertaining the fans."

Collazo will be fighting Sanchez (12-2-1, 6 KOs), of Fairfield, Calif., for a minor welterweight title.

"Alan Sanchez is tough, young and hungry," said Wilson Oswaldo Naranjo, Collazo's manager. He's coming off of seven straight wins. But we are pretty confident."

And if Collazo wins, what's next? Is he nearing a title shot? "I'm not sure of the promoters' plan, but I know my plan. That's to bring the belt home, back home to Brooklyn," Collazo said. "That's my plan."

Naranjo clued me in a bit more: "After the win, we would like to fight Keith Thurman or Adrien Broner."

Broner is expected to clash with Marcos Maidana next. Thurman (21-0, 19 KOs), who holds a welterweight world title and doesn't yet have a scrap set, would seem to be the smart bet for Collazo.
Paul Malignaggi is enjoying the freedom that comes with not having to monitor every calorie that enters his orbit, if not the sting that remains from being on the short end of a split decision, which came June 22 at Barclays Center against Adrien Broner.

Malignaggi, 32, chomped pizza at his adviser Anthony Catanzaro's pizza place in lower Manhattan on Monday, and chatted with NYFightblog about his near future. Beyond unfettered bites of pizza and munchkin doughnuts, the fighter said he isn't thinking about when he will glove up just yet -- though he did say he didn't think Broner is going to push for a rematch, to try and remove lingering doubt about his win or his performance.

Malignaggi, when not in fight mode, works for Showtime as an analyst, and will be in the booth July 27 to call the Andre Berto-Jesus Soto Karass bout put on by Golden Boy, from Texas. I asked him to assess that scrap between Berto, who has lost two of his last three, to Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero, and needs a solid win to regain lost buzz and momentum, and the 30-year-old Soto Karass, a Mexican journeyman-type who through perseverance has elevated himself to a place where he could obtain a title shot soon.

"I think it's an entertaining fight," Malignaggi said. "I have my doubts as to how much it deserves to be a main event, but I do think the fight is entertaining. I think Soto Karass has earned his way up the ladder, the hard way. I think Soto Karass is catching Berto at a time where you might want to catch an Andre Berto."

Berto (28-2, age 29), in a bid to freshen things up, dumped Tony Morgan and is now with trainer Virgil Hunter. Will that pay dividends so quickly?

"We'll see," Malignaggi said. "You need time to adapt. About Andre Berto, I'm not going to say he's overrated, but does he have any wins over big-time opposition? This fight is a tossup in that way, you can't take Soto Karass and see his record (27-8-3) and say Andre Berto is going to walk through him. Berto hasn't beaten anyone high level. This is a tough fight for Andre Berto. If he wins it, you got to give him some credit."

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The case for a Malignaggi-Broner rematch

July, 12, 2013
Paulie Malignaggi, Adrien Broner Al Bello/Getty ImagesCould we see a Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner rematch sometime in the future?
Paulie Malignaggi, many smart and studied boxing folks said leading up to his June 22 clash with Adrien Broner, was quite likely to get steamrolled into oblivion at the Barclays Center. Broner -- the younger, stronger, faster fighter -- would be a bridge too far for the Brooklyn-bred Malignaggi, who turns 33 in November. The fight itself would be simply a formality, a torch-wresting exercise, they reasoned.

It didn't play out that way, as is often the case.

Then-welterweight titlist Malignaggi didn't disgrace himself in the least and proved he wasn't in over his head against a man tabbed by some as a leading contender to be the sport's top performer within a few years. One judge, Tom Miller, was taken with Malignaggi's showing, especially his volume edge, and scored the fight for the vet 115-113. He was outvoted by Tom Schreck (117-111) and Glenn Feldman (115-113), who both decided Broner's power edge spoke louder than Paulie's busy work.

In the week after the bout, Team Malignaggi litigated the scrap, making their case that Broner didn't win and in fact was exposed as an overhyped attraction, and pushed for a rematch.

Malignaggi adviser Anthony Catanzaro makes some solid points when he lobbies for a rematch:

It was a success at the gate, with 11,461 fight fans showing up at Barclays Center to take in the card that night, he pointed out. Also, the headline clash drew a peak of 1.3 million viewers during the broadcast on Showtime, he noted. Since Showtime began tracking individual fights in 2009, Broner-Malignaggi is its second highest-rated bout, trailing only Austin Trout's victory over Miguel Cotto in December. This being the boxing business, that the fight did well in that arena looms large. Money and eyeballs were generated, which has to factor into a decision to do it again.

"It was a very entertaining fight that Paulie won, so why not?" Catanzaro said to NYFightBlog.

Barclays and Nets CEO Brett Yormark told me he thought Malignaggi won as well, so Catanzaro has good backup to point to.

I'd be curious to see what Malignaggi could and would do differently in a sequel. From my semi-expert seat, I think he'd have to at least consider factoring in that many, if not most, judges prize power over volume and might have to alter his strategy to attack the body and sub in more head shots. That could open him up to fire and potentially make a more explosive, and less tactical, bout.

What are your thoughts?

Boxing at Barclays has quieted critics

July, 2, 2013
Back in July 2010, when the people from the Brooklyn arena that hadn't been built yet, Barclays Center, announced they were getting into boxing, with an exclusive deal with California-based Golden Boy Promotions, it's fair to say the reaction wasn't shock, awe and optimism across the board.

After all, the topic was boxing, that much-maligned throwback sport whose best days were in the rearview mirror of the Camaro. A niche sport, they sniffed, relevant once or twice a year -- and probably for not that much longer, once Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao packed it in.

I confess, I had doubts myself, whether the NYC region would sustain the demand for regular dates at the Barclays Center. At the time, I recall asking Brett Yormark, the CEO of Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets, if the arena would have a micro-arena built, a theater to accommodate 5,000 or so fans, max. The implication of my question was clear: I don't think you can find enough boxing fans to fill up the barn on a regular basis. He assured me then that there would be no mini arena and that the fans would come.

Fast forward to today; I admit my skepticism was misguided. Barclays and Golden Boy has put on four boxing shows, the most recent one taking place on June 22, topped by a Paulie Malignaggi-Adrien Broner welterweight tussle. The attendance for each event has been healthy, and 11,461 people watched Broner take a split decision from the Brooklyn native.

I sat down last week for a chat with Yormark and asked him to reflect on the journey, getting boxing back to being more of focal point, not just a side dish, in the region.

"In some respects I feel vindicated," he said. "We've been able to do exactly what we hoped for, and more, and that's to bring an incredible sport back to Brooklyn, where it has a heritage, and have it flourish. And in less than a year we've been able to do that."

The grumblers, the tear-down artists, were out in force at the start. Boxing debuted on Oct. 20, 2012 at Barclays, and the "I told you so" crowd noted that they saw ticket markdowns and package deals available everywhere in the weeks leading up to opening night. They cited that as proof the endeavor would fail. In fact, audience response has been quite respectable, Yormark said. The first show drew 11,112; the second, on March 9, 2013 drew 12,293; the third, on April 27, drew 13,048. All the main events and select undercard bouts were televised on Showtime.

Critics mumble under their breathe that those figures represent a large dose of "comps," or freebies, to paper the house. Not so, Yormark told me.

"We did not comp," he said. "We're not comping. There are very few comps. The first two fights we discounted probably a little more than we wanted to, but we have not comped. We don't believe in comping here. One of the things we had to learn, we had to learn price it right, and in the last two fights, I think we really priced it right."

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Floyd Mayweather showed up at Barclays Center last Saturday and took in the main event, a welterweight scrap between Adrien Broner and Brooklyn's own Paul Malignaggi, and drew one of the loudest cheers of the night when his face was shown on the giant screen.

This was no given, as Mayweather's detractors often outnumber his devotees at public appearances.

[+] Enlarge Floyd Mayweather
AP Photo/Rick BowmerFloyd Mayweather Jr. is the sport's current pound-for-pound king.
A not-uncommon reaction that night: Wouldn't it make sense for Floyd, who gloves up Sept. 14 in Las Vegas against Canelo Alvarez, to do one of his fights in Brooklyn at Barclays Center?

It turns out that sentiment is shared by high-level suits at Barclays. I reached out to Barclays, and a source there told me the thunderous reaction to the sport's top draw was an immediate catalyst to explore how to get Mayweather to fight at the arena.

On fight night, Mayweather sat with Barclays Center and Nets CEO Brett Yormark, and he met the man responsible for bringing the much-buzzed-about arena to Brooklyn, Bruce Ratner.

Ratner, I am told, has become much more of a fight fan since Barclays started hosting cards put together by Golden Boy last October, and could be open to helping bring "Money" to BK.

"There is certainly interest in both the ownership and the building to bring Floyd here," the Barclays source told me.

In the past, one hurdle to bringing Mayweather, the top earner last year in sports, has been the tax structure in New York state. Entertainers get a chunk taken from their earnings in New York, as opposed to in, say, Las Vegas, where they are not taxed. When you make around $30 million a fight, as Mayweather does, that becomes a consideration.

Somehow, that tax issue would likely have to be massaged, or worked around, for Mayweather to agree to hit Brooklyn for a bout.

Money aside, one could see other compelling reasons to lure Mayweather to Brooklyn. Among them: Floyd fights the second bout in a six-fight deal with Showtime in September. His foe, Alvarez, is probably the most anticipated of fighters from the opponent pool of those likely to get a shot against the mouthy 44-0 hitter. A fight with Broner would garner great buzz, and that could build into a high-demand option, but it isn't yet ... and besides that, Broner said he respects Floyd and wouldn't take the challenge even for $20 million.

So a Floyd fight in New York would add another level of buzz and hype that could serve to aid any promotion, even one featuring a "B side" that doesn't excite the majority of boxing fans.

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Team Malignaggi wants Broner rematch

June, 26, 2013
It's been four days since he lost, via a split decision, his WBA welterweight title, but on Wednesday Paul Malignaggi's face still registered some of the fire and fury that he during the fight and after it was announced that Adrien Broner had bested him at Barclays Center.

Malignaggi came to Gallagher's steakhouse in midtown today, to offer his support for New York boxing, with ex-promoter Lou DiBella co-promoting a show at Foxwoods on Saturday night, along with K2.

Paulie came with advisor Anthony Catanzaro, whose stock in many circles edged up, because as he predicted, his kid didn't get steamrolled by the Next Big Thing, Broner, as so many experts had predicted. With Malignaggi still the slightest bit in "gameface" mode, I asked Catanzaro what's next for Malignaggi, who admitted post-fight that, at 32, he didn't know if he wanted to try and keep getting up for training camps.

"We are very interested in a rematch with Broner," Catanzaro told me. "We feel the fight itself warrants it, it did very well financially at the gate, and the Nielsen ratings were fantastic. We feel strongly that we won and [co-advisor] Steve Bash and I will do everything possible to make a rematch."

In the coming weeks, Catanzaro said, Team Malignaggi will broach the subject of a rematch with promoter Golden Boy Promotions.

Takeaways from Saturday's Barclays card

June, 23, 2013
The postfight media conference ended after 2 a.m., so it was a marathon session at Barclays Center on Saturday night, with the card starting at 4:30 p.m. Here are the main things still kicking around my head the day after.

1. Paulie's not done
This morning, I woke up and pondered the main event, and my first thought was: Malignaggi showed them again. The kid was gonna get demolished, it was gonna be ugly, this was a bridge too far and Broner was going to hammer the Brooklyn-bred hitter in nasty fashion. Didn't happen that way, did it? The fight was a moral victory for the 32-year-old and left me admiring his ring generalship all the more. It's no use to indulge in an "if" session and ponder what he could do with a bit more pop; instead it's more constructive to marvel at what Malignaggi does despite having the least pop of just about any (now former) titleholder out there. There is zero room for regret for Malignaggi, who "lost" by split decision. People in the know understand that, in many ways, he won on Saturday.

2. Broner's real good, but ...
Malignaggi did expose Broner a bit, it could be argued. If this kid is the next big thing, the heir to Floyd Mayweather Jr., should he perhaps have put it to Malignaggi the way Miguel Cotto did, the way Ricky Hatton did, the way Amir Khan did? I don't want to drift towards excessive negativism, but I do think that Broner would be well served to punch more. Throwing only some 500-plus punches in a 12-round bout isn't the sort of volume you'd like to see from "the heir." Imagine if he had opened up on the throttle more? And why didn't he? If you know a man can't dent your chin, why not take some more chances, press him and gun hard for the stoppage?

3. Banks holiday
Long after the heavyweight semifinal between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell had ended, I found myself fixating on the scrap and looking to solve a mystery bouncing around my brain: What the heck was going on with Banks? He had some moments early and buzzed Mitchell, who is a fairly buzzable type ... and then coasted. The crowd at Barclays let both men have it for the long stretches of staring, and you couldn't blame them. It's understandable why Mitchell fought in that manner; Banks had stopped him in Round 2 in November. So he's still figuring out how to mix offense and defense. But wouldn't it have made sense for Banks to blitz Mitchell, give him a flashback to their first contest? I tweeted on Saturday that I was looking forward to hearing Banks' alibi, and I still am. I am left to wonder: Does he want to be a fighter, or is his heart not in it?

4. I'm down with Browne
After every one of his appearances, I sense buzz surrounding Staten Island's Marcus Browne. Some folks think he has the most upside from any member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic class. He has snarly intent, pop in both hands, a charming personality and willingness to use it. Count me among those who are most eager to see where his total package takes him.

5. Four's a charm
He might be the least technically polished of any man to get four world title cracks, but you must hand it to Sakio Bika. He is an example of what one can do with stamina, strength, a superb chin and perseverance. Bika picked up the vacant WBC super middle title with a win over the game Marco Antonio Periban, finally snagging an elusive belt. His form can be borderline atrocious, but he still functions at a high level. Now, can his status as a titlist help make a case that the term "world champion" has been watered down to a ludicrous level? Sure. But that's a matter of acknowledging that the system is deeply flawed, and he shouldn't bear the brunt of our ire at the state of the game. Good for Bika...

Readers, what did you learn from the Saturday Brooklyn card?

Broner beats Malignaggi via split decision

June, 23, 2013
Brooklyn-bred Paulie Malignaggi promised during the buildup to his Saturday night clash with Adrien Broner, a faceoff between pound-for-pound top-10 trash-talkers, that he would take Broner into deep waters and test him.

That he did. But the WBA welterweight champ has to be content with a moral victory, because the judges at Barclays Center gave Broner a split-decision win.

Malignaggi boxed super smart and out-threw the Cincy boxer 843 to 524. But Broner had a power edge, 418-376, and Broner's right hand and left hook, which snapped Malignaggi's head back and sprayed his sweat into the lights, delighted two of the three judges.

Judge Tom Miller saw it for the Brooklyner 115-113, while judge Glenn Feldman saw it 115-113 for Broner and judge Tom Schreck saw it 117-111 for Broner.

Broner said after that Malignaggi ran, but that wasn't my perception. The first part of the night, Paulie moved a bunch, but later he stayed in tight and did work in close. He worked to the body, to the chest, and his defense I think was tougher for Broner than he had envisioned.

Paulie ranted that he thinks this was the usual political B.S. that infects boxing and that Broner got the nod because he is with influential adviser Al Haymon.

There were 11,461 fans in attendance.

Promoter Richard Schaefer said after that he'd consider putting Broner in with Marcos Maidana. How about a rematch? Schaefer indicated maybe at least an interim fight for each first.

"If Paulie had some power, it could have been a difficult fight for Adrien," he said.

Herring gets win at Barclays

June, 22, 2013
Coram, Long Island native Jamel Herring went to 4-0, with a unanimous decision over Calvin Smith in the first bout from Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.

The judges saw it 40-35, 40-36, 40-36 for the Marine who repped the US at the London Olympics. Mike Stafford, the trainer for the headliner Adrien Broner, was in Herring's corner. He had to like a lot of what Herring did; the lefty who now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, was aggressive, busy, threw some nice combos and was a step in class above the loser, who dropped to 2-4.

Promoter Golden Boy has been starting these cards at 4:30. Why not? They have an immense roster, might as well keep 'em busy. And as long as the building is open...

Weigh-in goes smoothly; Schaefer exhales

June, 21, 2013
NEW YORK -- Promoter Richard Schaefer breathed a sigh of relief when the Friday weigh-in for the Saturday card at Barclays Center concluded, and no premature violence broke out.

The event unfolded at Brooklyn Borough Hall Outdoor Plaza. Welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi and up-from-lightweight Adrien Broner talked trash and glared at each other, but held it together and no melee occurred.

Schaefer's ace in the hole is fighter Bernard Hopkins, who works for Golden Boy and was right there, in between the main-event boxers as they did a staredown after making weight. "I can take a step back and I don't have to worry about it and I know Bernard will have it under control," Schaefer said. "He's my secret weapon."

Schaefer said he thinks some last-minute smart money will go toward Malignaggi, and the 11-to-1 odds in favor of Cincinnati boxer Broner set by the smarts might be too high.

If Broner beats Malignaggi, a scrap with Marcos Maidana could be in the works, Schaefer said. "Who wouldn't want to see that?" he asked.

Other possibilities for Broner, if he prevails, include the Andre Berto-Jesus Soto Karass winner; Devon Alexander; Amir Khan; or veteran Shane Mosley, who won in his comeback fight against Pablo Cano last month.

Schaefer also said that the winner of a Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse fight, which Schaefer is working on, would be a good fit against Broner.

Asked about the rumor that 140-pound standout Garcia is more likely to first have a rematch with Zab Judah than meet Matthysse, his mandatory, Schaefer said, "I don't know where those rumors came from about Zab."

He said both teams indicated to him that they want to get it on. Judah will be in the mix again soon, the promoter said, but the people are demanding Garcia-Matthysse. "I don't believe in marinating too much," he said.