As of yesterday (Thursday), both Paul Malignaggi, the WBA welterweight champion, and Adrien Broner, the WBC lightweight champion, had signed their contracts to face off, on June 22 at Barclays.
When that fight was floated, the reaction of many pundits and fans' initial reaction was that Malignaggi, the 32-year-old Brooklyn-born hitter who now lives in LA, would have trouble with the speed-strength package of Broner.
I asked Malignaggi (32-4) advisor Anthony Catanzaro why Team Malignaggi took the fight and why he likes Paulie to beat The Next Big Thing (26-0) in a Golden Boy fight on Showtime.
"I see nothing but upside," Catanzaro told me. "Broner is projected as the future face of the sport. He's undefeated. He's extremely outspoken. Everyone thinks he's the second coming of Floyd Mayweather ... but we're fighting at 147. We like the welterweight limit. We're in our hometown, our home borough. There's no reason not to take the fight. We're very excited."
And what, if any, edges does Paulie have going in to the bout, apart from the weight class and locale? "Paulie is the bigger, stronger guy," Catanzaro said. "Broner is fast up top, moves his head and at the waist, and has good hand speed. But his foot speed is not at our level, and his stance is extremely wide. He's got to plant to get off. We've got the much better resume, the bigger fight experience. He's been the main event but against who? The only real viable person he's faced is Antonio Demarco, who couldn't match him on skill. Paulie is a fighter through and through and once you get past the glitter, I represent a fighter in every sense of the word. I've got to pull him back, if the money was right he'd fight a Klitschko."