Adrien Broner and his trainer Mike Stafford before the Saturday clash with Paul Malignaggi said they thought after the dust settled, the combatants could, if not be best buddies, then find some common ground. Broner said he'd whup Paulie and then take him out for a steak. After the fight, in which Broner didn't whup the Brooklyn-bred fighter, and won a split decision, with one judge heavily rewarding Paulie's considerable volume edge over Broner's power edge, Malignaggi was in no mood for hugs, even figurative ones, from Broner.
The Cinci boxer didn't exactly move the mood in a direction of serenity when he announced that he beat Paulie and took his girl, which was a reference to the seamy and unseemly brouhaha during the buildup to the fight over a woman who supposedly canoodled with Paulie, but then took up with Broner afterwards.
During the postfight presser, Malignaggi, who bless his soul can't help himself but speak truth to power, didn't back off tremendously from what he declared int he ring after the fight, that the judge who saw Broner a 117-111 winner was too enamored of Broner's advisor, Al Haymon.
Malignaggi did reduce the directness of his assertion at the early-morning presser, but not by much. His advisor Anthony Catanzaro hadn't been imbued with an overdose of acceptance by the next morning, either. He told TSS: "We saw the flaws in Broner before the fight, which is why we took it, and Paulie exposed those flaws," he said. "We were called crazy for making the fight from so-called experts and we along with the gladiator Malignaggi proved everyone wrong. The politics of boxing won last night, nothing or no one else won!"
Catanzaro said that Broner threw kidney punches and tried to knee his fighter and should have been penalized. No, sleeping on it didn't lessen his belief that his guy won. "The so called future face of the sport got a gift," he said.
Indeed, Malignaggi was the better and busier man in many minutes of many rounds. He threw more, 843-524, and judge Tom Miller rewarded that, with a 115-113 score in favor of Malignaggi. But judge Glenn Feldman (115-113 Broner) and especially Tom Schreck (117-111 Broner) liked that Broner landed more 246-214, and liked his power punching (214 to 94 for Paulie). I Tweeted as the cards were tallied at Barclays that we'd see scores in the 117-111, 116-112 range, simple because I knew that the judges would be swayed by that two or three times in most rounds when Broner connected on an obvious power punch. PauIie's sweaty head sends a spray signal that rewards his foes, that tells judges that the other guy landed clean. I wouldn't say Broner got a gift, as the two "Broner" judges were within their bounds rewarding his "effective" aggression...but I came away more impressed with Malignaggi than ever before. He's said that he thinks he is an underachiever, because he didn't get the promotional push he deserved early on in his career, but I think I'd still label him an overachiever, because what he managed to do against the super-skilled Broner, with the lack of power he is saddled with, is immensely admirable.
The Malignaggi crew, including Catanzaro and partner Steve Bash, do deserve some mea culpas from people who called them crazy, and stupid. Their guy got half a million more to fight Broner than he would have gotten to fight Shane Mosley, Mosley's style and the fact that he isn't shot could have resulted in a loss, and Paulie came pretty damned close to knocking off the next big thing. If he'd beaten Mosley, nobody would have been impressed, anyway. And what's with the ball-busting on people who decide to take the biggest challenge? People play fantasy advisor and hammer them when they take the toughest fight available, and the same people would have crapped on them for taking on a "shot" Mosley. I guess it's best course of action to ignore it, be secure if you can in knowing you did the right thing by your heart and taking some small solace in a healthy payday.
I continue to be amazed and impressed with Malignaggi's inability to filter himself. Watching the tightened lips on the faces of certain people at the postfight presser as Malignaggi talked about the supposed extra love Al Haymon fighters get, and how he shouldn't have gotten paid less than Broner and how irked he was that that he wasn't allotted more prime tickets at Barclays is marvelous theatre of discomfort. Malignaggi is a certified character, as an entertainer, as a boxer, and the sport will have lost something when he exits the stage.
Feel free to follow Woods on Twitter.