Sunday, June 23, 2013
Takeaways from Saturday's Barclays card
By Michael Woods
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?