Malignaggi-Broner hype heats up

June, 13, 2013
6/13/13
11:49
AM ET
If the fight itself provides half the heat the trash-talk battles in advance of the June 22 clash between WBA welterweight champion Paul Malignaggi and Adrien Broner, then fans at Barclays Center will get their money's worth.

The two warred verbally on a conference call Wednesday, and at one point, the 32-year-old Malignaggi (32-4, just 7 KOs) was gently booted off the call, because he was flurrying on Broner (26-0 with 22 KOs). The people running the call, publicist Kelly Swanson and David Itskowitch, wanted to let Cinci phenom Broner get a word in.

"I'm going to beat you like you stole something," Malignaggi said, and the 23-year-old Broner chuckled, and then countered. The younger man told Malignaggi that he should expect to have to rely on his Showtime commentary gig after this fight, because he will get beaten handily. "If the ref doesn't stop it in time, he's going to have to do his commentating with glasses on and that won't be good," he said.

The WBC 135 pound champ Broner threw out some expletives, boasting that this was OK, because he isn't constrained by relationships with any corporations.

The hypefest for this bout has been NSFW much of the time, and clearly, Malignaggi is eating it up. If he were a comedian, he'd be the type who'd relish getting heckled, because he simply enjoys the opportunity to react quickly and humorously.

Most fight fans are seeing him as the underdog in this bout. Broner is seen as being on the very short list of future megastars in the game today. Malignaggi, who debuted as a pro in 2001, seems to like that underdog status as well. He uses it to fuel himself to work harder in training.

Fans, would you see a Malignaggi win as an upset? Do you agree with the Bensonhurst-bred hitter that the foes Broner has faced till now are certainly no murderers row? Is he a significant step up from anyone Broner has been in with? Leave a comment!
Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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