Paul Malignaggi did a damn bit better than many folks thought he could, but sadly for him, he's not blessed with power. Adrien Broner's power edge spoke loudest after 12 rounds in the main event at Barclays Center, which was televised on Showtime, and promoted by Golden Boy. Broner won a split decision, by scores of 115-113 (Broner-Feldman), 115-113 (PM-Miller) and 117-111 (Broner-Schreck), but many if not most in the building left with massive respect for Malignaggi, who showed a mastery of the ring, a solid chin, superb defensive skills, and a fierce desire to compete.
Indeed, this fight might be most remembered as a moral victory for Paulie more than anything else.
Broner said after Paulie fought like he thought he would, that he ran after he felt Broner's power. (I disagree.) He said he does respect Paulie as a boxer. He then boasted that he took Paulie's belt and his girl. Next? He said he will let the fans pick his next foe.
Paulie after said it was a close fight, and that Broner didn't work hard, tat he fought 30 seconds of each round. "The fight could have went either way. You have to take the belt from the champion," he said. Paulie ranted that the ending was BS, and that this is typical of boxing. "Someone should stand up and do something about it," he said. "It's BS," he repeated.
He was asked by Jim Gray if the fight was fixed. No, he said, but the politically connected guy always wins.
PM went 214-843, to 246-524 for Broner.
Broner (age 23; 26-0 entering; from Cincinnati, Ohio) was 146.8 while the WBA welter champ Malignaggi (grew up in Brooklyn, lives in LA; 32-4 entering; age 32) was 146.4 on Friday.
The fight was set up as a steppingstone for Broner, to provide another notch on his belt, his top scalp to date. Malignaggi came in as a rugged vet, and the Broner crew had to hope their guy would send a message by stopping Malignaggi conclusively. His corner had pulled the plug on him during round 11 against Ricky Hatton in 2008, and the ref stopped his fight with Amir Kahn in 2010 in round 11 as well. If Broner were able to stop Paulie early, he'd be due some respect. For Malignaggi, it was business as usual, with naysayers declaring he had no chance against a younger, stronger foe.
In the first, both men landed a few clean shots with Broner having a power edge. Paulie looked to work the jab and touch Broner to the body and arms. AB's jab landed hard a few times.
In the second, Paulie had luck with left hands to the body. "You can't hit me," he said to Paulie. Broner drew a warning from the ref for trying to leg Paulie's groin in a clinch.
In the third, straight rights hit Paulie clean but he hung tough, touched Broner to the chest a lot.
In the fourth, Paulie took it with volume. He stayed busy, nothing crazy powerful but enough to keep Broner on the defensive.
In the fifth, Broner buzzed Paulie at the end of the round, after Paulie worked hard to try and take the round.
In the sixth, Broner landed several hard, clean shots. Was Paulie getting tired? Broner's left hooks looked heavy. In the seventh, it was a pretty tight round. Broner generates great power from in tight, and his power edge won him the round.
In the eighth, Broner looked fresh and his right hand was a nasty weapon, landing hard and clean.
In the ninth, Paulie ate a few solid rights and the crowd helped Broner with roars.
In the tenth, Paulie's superb defense impressed. A left hook during a trade knocked his head back and maybe gave Broner the round. In these later rounds, PM wasn't moving as much, and was in tight, fighting smart in close.
In the 11th, Paulie stayed active. He worked to the chest and made Broner work for openings.
In the 12, Paulie was right there; he ate a clean right, but he was right there, boxing smart, to the end. We went to the cards.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?