Malignaggi-Broner: Barbs to bombs?
Talk has been cheap -- and often filthy -- but the fighters promise more than words
Since the fight was made in April, welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi and lightweight titleholder Adrien Broner have been on extended trash-talking sprees. That's what happens when two of the mouthiest, cockiest fighters in boxing are matched together.
Paulie Malignaggi-Adrien Broner
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
When: Saturday, 9 p.m. ET
Their nonstop banter has been at times amusing and at times downright vulgar, which is what made an early May news conference to formally announce the fight almost impossible to quote from because of the heavy sexual innuendo and foul language that flew as the fighters verbally sparred over the fact that Broner was flaunting his relationship with a former Malignaggi girlfriend. Broner even dialed her up on his phone at the news conference and put her on speaker.
Yeah, this promotion has gone down that low road.
And it didn't stop when the fighters stood face-to-face again at Thursday's final news conference.
Broner began his remarks as though he would take the high road.
"We did enough of that," Broner said of all the insults. "It's fighting time for me. It's about business. I gotta put on a helluva show. I'm not here to bash you, Paulie. You're a great champion. You got good talent."
And then Broner, who has taken to calling Malignaggi "Paulette," concluded: "I want you to keep your day job [as a Showtime commentator]. I will be a three-time world champion on Saturday night at 23. I'm gonna knock him the f--- out."
When it was Malignaggi's turn, he spent some of his time flailing his arms, shushing and admonishing chatterbox Broner.
"You're a clown," he told him. "It's gotten out of hand, a little bit crazy. It takes more than talent to get to the top. It's a little bit about talent. He don't have the rest of the package. ... Come Saturday, I'm gonna beat your ass."
And so it went as the fighters had their final say in advance of their much-anticipated clash Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET; preliminary bouts on Showtime Extreme beginning at 7 ET/PT) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
In the co-feature, heavyweights Johnathon Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs), 30, of Detroit, and Seth Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs), 31, of Brandywine, Md., meet in a rematch of Banks' upset second-round knockout win in November. In the opener of Showtime's tripleheader, Sakio Bika (31-5-2, 21 KOs), 34, a native of Cameroon living in Australia, will face Marco Antonio Periban (20-0, 13 KOs), 28, of Mexico, for the super middleweight belt recently stripped from Andre Ward.
Although Malignaggi is fighting in his hometown and defending his belt against Broner, who is jumping up two weight classes to challenge him, a rarity, it is Broner who will earn the bigger purse: $1.5 million to Malignaggi's $1.125 million.
Tale of the tape: Malignaggi-Broner
|Reach||70 inches||71 inches|
That's just one of the various aspects of the promotion that has had Malignaggi seemingly constantly annoyed and wanting to shut Broner up.
"It doesn't really matter if he got under my skin," Malignaggi said. "I mean, I've been fighting for 12 years. We can get under each other's skin or not, it doesn't matter. When the bell rings, I'm focused and I'm ready and I've already been there already. Yeah, at times I'm pissed. At times it's tongue-in-cheek. I guess it depends on the moment. But it doesn't really matter. We've got a job to do on Saturday night and that's what counts.
"No talking has ever gotten me out of my game. The things that have gotten me out of my game in the past have definitely not been talking. ... I'm going to dominate him, punish him and make him quit on his stool."
Said Broner: "He's going to wish there's another corner he can run to. You'll probably see another knockout. He's bringing pillows to a fight that I'm throwing bricks [in], so you should see a lot of blood, a lot of bruising before the referee stops the fight."
Malignaggi has made it clear that he has no respect for the relatively weak level of opposition Broner has faced, despite Broner's having won belts at junior lightweight and lightweight. And Malignaggi has a point.
Although Broner (26-0, 22 KOs), of Cincinnati, is physically gifted with speed and power -- many view him as a younger version of his idol, Floyd Mayweather Jr. -- he won a vacant 130-pound title against the unknown Vicente Rodriguez in 2011, defended it against Eloy Perez and then blew weight for his next defense before knocking out Vicente Escobedo in what became a nontitle bout. Not exactly Murderers' Row.
Then Broner moved up to lightweight for his best victory, a knockout of Antonio DeMarco, to win another title, but his lone defense at 135 pounds came against Gavin Rees in February.
"He's never been through what the deal is -- deep water," Malignaggi said. "He's never been 12 rounds. He's been 10 rounds once, and he struggled [in a controversial decision against Daniel Ponce De Leon in 2011]. He better try real hard to get me out of there early and he better succeed, because he's going to end up in deep water. I'm ready for that kind of fight.
"His power is overrated. I could have knocked out 20 garbagemen or laundromat workers too, but I chose to fight real opponents in my career."
Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs), a two-division titleholder, is as battle-tested as they come. Although he lost, he has faced Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan, all in world title fights.
In April 2012, Malignaggi was the underdog when he traveled to Ukraine and stopped hometown favorite Vyacheslav Senchenko to win a welterweight title by a ninth-round, cut-induced knockout. Malignaggi, 32, got dropped and struggled to a split decision win in his first defense, which came against Pablo Cesar Cano in October, also at the Barclays Center.
Because Malignaggi looked shaky and doesn't possess much power, and because Broner has been destroying opponents, Malignaggi is a significant underdog -- 10-1 in some places.
Highest jab rate -- active fighters
|>>Compubox average: 41 percent|
-- Statistical support from Compubox
"I could care less about the odds," Malignaggi said. "I could care less about anything. They're going to ring a bell on Saturday night and it's going to be me and Adrien Broner. He's saying he's coming to kick my ass. I'm coming to kick his ass. I think he's looking at it too much like one-way traffic.
"A few years ago, I might have been saying, 'Man, why does everybody think I'm going to lose this fight? You know, I don't understand it. I thought I was a good fighter. I feel like I'm a good fighter.' Literally, now, I could care less. I fight for myself, and that's the one thing I told myself I would do after the Amir Khan loss, because nobody was going to think positively about me after that loss. And you know what? I'm going to stop trying to make everyone happy and just fight for myself. I have yet to lose a fight since, and there's reason for that."
Broner, with a smile on his face at all times, has remained confident that he will handle Malignaggi and send him into commentating full time.
"He could bring his siblings in the ring with him -- it's not going to help him," Broner said. "What I have to say is, you know he needs to stop all the cussing and all the other stuff he's doing because at the end of the day he really has a 9-to-5, and I really want him to keep his job on Showtime. Because after [Saturday], like, boxing is really not going to be his biggest job he has.
"I'm going to get this money and my checks are bigger than his, and at the end of the day, he better keep practicing his lines. And hopefully the referee don't stop the fight before it gets too bad and he misses out on some jobs, because after the fight, if the ref lets it go on too long, he probably will miss out on a fight. And then he will have to be at work with glasses on, and I don't know how good that'll be to his career."
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