PREDICTION PAGE: Malignaggi or Broner?
Weights have been made, tempers didn't fray to the point of breaking, and it is all over but for the most important part: the actual fighting.
Please drop your prediction into our Forum, friends, so we can see your level of acumen in assessing a bout that has "experts" at odds. Most are leaning Broner, but some smart voices are saying this won't be easy, and that a Malignaggi victory wouldn't shock them.
After months of contentious trash talking, which took a slightly surprising and novel turn with the introduction of a lady who used to know WBA welter champ Paul Malignaggi, but who now is closer to lightweight ace Adrien Broner, the main eventers took to the scale, made weight, glared and barked at each other, and then sped off to eat with relish and relative abandon.
Malignaggi, who seemed heated at the tail end of the Thursday presser, and left hurriedly, told me Friday he wasn't heated, but that the day before he was in no mood to chat with the media after he'd read a characterization of the woman whose name I won't mention, because I think her introduction into the fray strayed into territory I'm not fully comfortable with, that he deemed inaccurate. "Why should I talk to the press when they're just going to write what they want?" he told me.
Malignaggi was 146.4 and Broner 146.8 at the weigh in held in front of an outdoor crowd at Brooklyn Borough Hall Outdoor Plaza. Both men exhibited the same level of confidence we've seen in the leadup to the clash, which unfolds at Barclays Center and on Showtime, which oddsmakers see being a relatively easy W for Broner.
Broner's trainer Mike Stafford told me he sees his guy stopping Paulie earlier now, because he thinks Broner has an extra edge to him now, and that could go down around the third or fourth round, rather than the sixth.
Broner promised that he'd beat up the Brooklyn-bred boxer, but, being a sport, would "take him out to eat" after that. He said no one should wish him luck, because luck runs out, and boasted that he's the biggest star, and that's why he's getting a bigger check than Paulie.
Paulie said that he looked into Broner's eyes, and saw nerves. "Every time I see him, he flashes this nervous grin," he said. "He's scared!"
Team Malignaggi seems to have less regard for Broner, with the boxer and his crew all showing the same hearty distaste for a man they think has been aided with an excessive promotional push, someone who is nothing more than a weak Floyd Mayweather knockoff.
All in all, Paulie had a more severe game face on, while Broner seemed chill, flashing his wide grin regularly. He was off to indulge in some Junior's cheesecake heaven after the weigh in.
Bernard Hopkins was in attendance; he's now Richard Schaefer's right hand man, a secret weapon who can massage egos, de-escalate growing beefs. He said the buildup to the fight, featuring the back and forth over a gal, was new to him. He said the heat is good, that usually such vitriol leads to a solid scrap. He greeted new star Adonis Stevenson, congratulated him on his win over Chad Dawson, and began his campaign to manipulate him mentally. "When we fight, and it's not if, it's when," he told Stevenson, as promoter Schaefer looked on with a jackal-y grin. The promoter said he thinks it's plausible that Hopkins get past his mandatory, which would seemingly once again be Karo Murat, as Sergey Kovalev looks to be locked into a scrap with WBO 175 pound champ Nathan Cleverly, and then fight Stevenson.
Stevenson looked to be eating up this new level of acclaim. He said he'd like a shot at hopkins, or Andre Ward, or Carl Froch.