Paul Malignaggi, who has a way with words, did something very rare for him during the final presser ahead of his showdown and title defense against Adrien Broner at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday night: he blew off media and cameras and an opportunity to share his viewpoint.
Exactly what irked Malignaggi to the point that he chose to exit Barclays right after he did a staredown with Broner, and paused only to answer a few questions for employer Showtime, for whom he does analyst work, isn't clear. It looked like he felt undercut by the presence of an ex flame (or semi-flame, or sorta-flame, depend on who you ask), who was brought to Barclays by Broner to get under his skin.
Broner chuckled after and the remaining media surrounded him. He swore he didn't bring the lady to stir up the pot, but if you believe then you have a serious issue with naivete.
I sat next to Zab Judah, and asked him if it ever means anything when guys yap at each other during a staredown, if he could read anything by the body language and expressions of Broner and Malignaggi. Judah said it depended on the fighter.
I don't expect this Broner stunt to affect the bout, but one does never know. If Malignaggi were drawn into an angrier state than he might like, that could distract him from boxing his way to winning rounds.
We shall have to see how it plays out but I will say this: I know a bunch of people saying they fear for Paulie's safety Saturday night, but also more than a couple who like his chances to take Broner down a peg, and expose him. This is an intriguing fight, as my friend Al Bernstein might say.
Here is the release Showtime sent out, which includes the best quotes from the session.
PAULIE MALIGNAGGI, ADRIEN BRONER,
JOHNATHON BANKS, SETH MITCHELL,
SAKIO BIKA & MARCO ANTONIO PERIBAN
FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Tripleheader
This Saturday, June 22 Live on SHOWTIME® (9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT)
From Barclays Center in Brooklyn
Preliminary Fights On SHOWTIME Extreme (7:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Tickets Still Available
“It’s gotten a little bit crazy, we’ll admit that. I can take some of the blame, but I can’t take all of it. I can only apologize for my end, but at the end of the day, this is how the creation of Adrien Broner happened, in my opinion. They put everything that’s wrong with boxing in one room, did everything that’s wrong with boxing in that room and gave birth to Adrien Broner and you people are eating it up.
“I don’t have to admit anything on Saturday night. I’ll admit he’s a talented fighter now, but there’s a lot more than talent that it takes to get to the top. I’ve been in gyms across the country, across the world and you see talented fighters all the time that don’t make it, just hanging out in the gym, working out. They just don’t get those breaks, so it isn’t about talent. A little bit of the package is talent and he’s got that part of the package; I’m not going to lie to you.
“Did anybody notice he was here a half hour before the press conference and then pretended he was late? Then he shows up an hour into the press conference trying to show up fashionably late. Stop trying so hard, bro. Just do what you have to do. You’re being a clown.
“Mr. Schaefer talked about detours and how some fighters have to take detours and others don’t. It all depends on the matchmaking. It all depends on who’s got your back. Mr. Al Haymon has taken good care of Adrien Broner and that’s why he is where he is now. There are a lot more talented fighters than Adrien Broner that don’t get the credit they deserve. I’m not saying he’s not talented, I’m just saying Al Haymon is responsible for this creation right here.
“There are detours that he hasn’t had to take. I was a talented prospect at one time too. You know what I was rewarded with my first title fight? Miguel Cotto. You know what his reward was for his first world title fight? Some guy Rodriguez, who I can’t even remember his name. OK? There’s a difference. We end up on detours because of the people that have our backs. Instead of praying to God every night he should pray to Al Haymon for making him the creation that he is.
“This guy is nothing and on Saturday night I’m going to prove how nothing he is.
[To Broner] “You remember in that locker room at Wild Card Gym a couple of years ago when you were getting ready to fight (Daniel) Ponce (de Leon) and we were in the locker room and your were all nervous about going the distance? You think I forgot that conversation you had with me? I had to explain to him how to go 10 rounds without mentally killing yourself. He gets to the fight and throws about 16 punches for 10 rounds and gets the decision. My man, you’re going 12 Saturday. I’m going to beat your ass.”
“I really didn’t come here to talk trash, we did enough of that. We’re two days out. It’s really fight time for me. It’s about business. I really wasn’t going to come up here, honestly. I really wasn’t going to come up here and talk, but that would have been disrespectful to my fans, even the ones who hate me. They’re still my fans because they want to see me lose, so I came up anyway.
“All I want to say is, I HAVE to put on a hell of a show on Saturday night. Like I said before, I’m not here to bad (mouth) Paulie. You’re a great champion, you’re a great Italian, I’m dead serious.
“I’ll be a three-time world champion on Saturday at the age of 23. With that being said, let Paulie talk his little BS. At the end of day, I’m knocking him the (expletive) out. He’s never been knocked out.
“I just say to you Paulie, who I know is a very good commentator, you asked a lot of questions about Adrien Broner. You said, ‘how is he in big fights? Can he punch? What’s going to happen when someone punches him back?’ I’m just asking you man to man if he comes in and proves this to you, as a great commentator make sure you tell the world how good this kid is. He’s not getting his accolades.
“I went from 120 to 135 pounds. I’m moving up to 147, two weight divisions, and that has not been done. I’m looking to make history and be the first current American three-time champion, so make sure you [Malignaggi] tell the public he is truly a good fighter.
“I’ll see you all on Saturday night. It’s going to be a hell of a fight…a hell of a fight.”
“I want to thank K2 Promotions, SHOWTIME, Golden Boy Promotions and, once again, the respect, honor and the hard work of Team Mitchell. I definitely respect him as a fighter and his whole team.
“Saturday night is going to be a good night. It’s going to be a night of fireworks from the main event and I think the whole card. With all the talking that’s been done at the press conference, the telephone calls, the media workouts and all that stuff, I look forward to Saturday.
“This is what I do. This is my life. This is what I always have done and this is what I’m going to be doing.
“I want to thank my team, my coach, my cut man. I want to thank everybody for helping me prepare for the fight. We’ve had a good camp and we’re just looking forward to Saturday night.”
“First and foremost, as always, I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me strength to endure some trying times in my life. I want to thank SHOWTIME for giving me this opportunity. I’m very fortunate and very blessed considering what happened in the last fight to have this opportunity to redeem myself on this level.
“This sport is very unforgiving and I understand that. I want to thank my team, Andre Hunter, my trainer, Al Haymon, who’s my advisor and I want to thank Golden Boy Promotions for sticking behind me and giving me this opportunity.
“The first fight was a tough loss for me and it took me a little while to get over it, but I truly believe everything happens for a reason. We went back to the drawing board, we did a couple of things and I’m very excited about this rematch.
“I’m thankful that Johnathon Banks gave me this rematch. He’s a class act, but this Saturday we’re not going to be nice to each other in the ring. He’s well-prepared. I’m prepared. I’m just excited. I want to thank all my fans for continuing to stick behind me. Just know that I have truly learned from this loss. I don’t talk about it much because no matter what I say I have to go out and show it on Saturday.”
“Thank you to everyone at Barclays Center. I want to say thank you to God and thank you to my trainer, Kevin Cunningham, for putting me in this position. I’m very happy to be here.
“It’s going to be a very good fight on Saturday. If you don’t have your tickets, you need to go get some tickets. This fight with Marco is going to be very entertaining. I know he’s coming to fight and I’m coming to fight too. I’m very confident that I can win this belt.
“I want to thank you to my family back in Australia and my new baby girl. She’s going to be very happy to see me come home with the belt. I’m really sure I’m going to be a world champion on Saturday.”
Marco Antonio Periban
“It’s a pleasure to be here. I want to thank all the people from Brooklyn for giving me the opportunity to come over here and fight. I’m here to put on a great fight, enjoy myself and win the world title.
“I want to dedicate this fight to a trainer of mine who passed away recently, Rudy Perez. Most of you in the boxing business know him as the great trainer of Marco Antonio Barrera.
“I look forward to seeing you all at this great event. It’s going to be a hell of a fight.”
Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions
“Weekend after weekend, fight after fight, SHOWTIME has really stepped up to the plate and has brought the best boxing has to offer to fight fans here in the United States. The man responsible for that is Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports and it is a pleasure to introduce him.
“There are different ways to get to the top. Some go straight and some take a detour. Actually, most take a detour and I think that’s what Team Mitchell experienced when they fought their last fight against Johnathon Banks.
“Seth Mitchell wanted the rematch right away. He didn’t want to take another detour. He wanted to go for the rematch straight away and so did his team and us as his promoter.
“Of course, Johnathon Banks was happy to get into the ring with Mitchell again and show what he is all about. He is going to try to repeat and Seth Mitchell is looking to correct and learn from the mistakes he made in the first fight.
“The captain of the ship, Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell, with a record of 25-1-1, is really one of my favorite people outside of the ring as well. He is polite, he’s kind, he’s well spoken and a great representative and ambassador of the sport of boxing. He has been a successful athlete before as a former Michigan State linebacker who found his true calling in the ring and has torn through his opposition leading up to the Johnathon Banks fight. Many felt he was the next great hope for the American heavyweight title. We still believe he is, and I’m excited to see Seth Mitchell on Saturday night.
“Adrien is an amazing fighter, an amazing talent, very charismatic, a great self-promoter as well. He’s really the kind of fighter who evokes emotions and there are very few fighters who have that talent to evoke emotions, good ones or bad ones, but he does evoke emotions, and as a result people watch. People want to see him win, or they want to see him lose, but people watch. Adrien Broner is one of those few, few talents who might come around once in a lifetime, once in a generation. He is one of them.
“Paulie has been counted out many times, but has always found a way to turn back the doubters and prove the people wrong. He moved up to 147, a lot of people thought he was done and he proved them wrong. He went to the Ukraine, everybody thought he was crazy, that he was never going to win and he proved them wrong. Now he wants to prove wrong all of those people who think that it’s going to be a walk in the park for Broner.”
Tom Loeffler, Managing Director of K2 Promotions
“There’s not much to be said about the main event, they speak for themselves. It’s a terrific main event, but as Richard said, the first heavyweight title fight here at Barclays Center is really something special.
“The first fight only went two rounds, but it was an electric two rounds. Seth Mitchell was targeted as the number one ranked heavyweight at that time, so with Johnathon beating him, we believe that he is the best heavyweight right now here in the United States.
“With the fight coming up on Saturday, both fighters are very respectful and very well-spoken, but you will see in the ring there will be fireworks.
“One additional note with Johnathon, he is the only fighter that I know of in history to be a trainer of heavyweight champions and also compete at the championship level at heavyweight.
“Wladimir Klitschko, the boxer that he trains, is coming to support him Saturday night.”
Brett Yormark, CEO of Barclays Center
“We are thrilled to hosting our fourth night of world championship boxing here at Barclays Center.
“Brooklyn is known for its great champions such as Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Zab Judah and we have a great Brooklyn champion fighting Saturday night in Paulie Malignaggi. We’re proud to have him back at Barclays Center defending his title against Adrien Broner.
“We are thrilled to be hosting our first ever heavyweight title bout at Barclays Center with Johnathon Banks versus Seth Mitchell. We’re happy to have three title fights here Saturday night, but we also look forward to continuing to launch the careers of other Brooklyn fighters such as Juan Dominguez and Frank Galarza.”
Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports
“With all the attention that the main event has gotten, deservedly so, it’s easy to forget that this is a tripleheader. It’s not just any tripleheader, it’s a tripleheader of evenly matched, competitive fights, and that’s what we at SHOWTIME want to become known for and, quite honestly, have become known for this year…evenly matched, competitive fights.
All three fights on this card are 50-50 toss-up fights. They’re the type of fights we’ve been showcasing all year. Our card on June 8 from The Home Depot Center was probably the most exciting card of the year…again, evenly matched, competitive fights.
“Periban-Bika is a fight that quite honestly for which you could flip a coin. It’s a very tough one. Banks-Mitchell, one of the most exciting fights of year in the heavyweight division, is a fight not to be missed as well. Of course, you can’t say enough about Paulie and Adrien and the battle that they’ve been waging outside the ring and finally will be waging inside the ring.
“I also want to acknowledge Brett Yormark and Barclays Center staff. One of the things that we’ve been trying to do is continually innovate. One of the newest innovations that Brett has been pushing is BarclaysCenter.com and the featuring content there. This press conference is being streamed on SHO.com as well as BarclaysCenter.com. The same is being done for tomorrow’s weigh-in. If you can’t make it out to Borough Hall, you can watch it on SHO.com or BarclaysCenter.com. We look forward to working with the Barclays Center and developing more content going forward.
“Finally, we are very pleased to be welcoming Bernard Hopkins in as our color commentator. The future Hall of Famer will be a temporary replacement when our normal color commentator is otherwise occupied on Saturday night.”