"I have all the advantages except Al Haymon. We know with Al Haymon, you can rob somebody in their hometown, just like Adrien did when he fought Ponce De Leon in front of 12,000 Mexicans in Anaheim on the Canelo/Matthew Hatton card. He lost that fight. The arena was full of Mexicans and somehow Adrien still got the decision. When I saw that, I was like, 'Man, this guy Al Haymon can manipulate anything.' So me fighting in my hometown is a cool thing and definitely advantageous in a lot of ways, but as far as where the judges are concerned and all that stuff, I'm far from safe and I definitely feel that," stated WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi, who spoke in depth about his upcoming June 22 showdown with Adrien Broner. You do not want to miss what else he had to say. Check it out!
BT: What's up, Paulie? How's training going?
PM: I've been in the gym since February, but, you know, I raised the level about 2 or 3 weeks ago; started picking up the pace a little bit more. I felt like I was going to fight April 27th at first, so I was already starting to get in shape, but then obviously that didn't come through. When I didn't fight April 27th, I didn't want to just leave the gym completely because I felt like something would come right after that anyway, so I stayed in the gym, but I wasn't training as intense, you know. So I've been in the gym since about February, but I picked up the intensity a few weeks ago.
BT: You recently mentioned that Adrien Broner was the best offer that was presented, but before getting the fight, you were working on something that was supposed to take place in Abu Dhabi. What was up with that?
PM: There was some guys setting up a show in Abu Dhabi and initially they had contacted us because they wanted Ricky Hatton versus me. Then Ricky got back, so they couldn't make it happen and they wanted to try to make something else. It didn't work out, so they tried to come back to me. They were offering some substantial money, you know what I'm saying, they were offering some good money, it seemed pretty good, and they had sent bout agreements; not bout agreements because we didn't have a set opponent yet, but we were working on either Diego Chavez, my mandatory, or Humberto Soto. So we were working on that and then the Adrien Broner situation came up. Golden Boy had given us permission to work on the Abu Dhabi stuff, but once the Adrien Broner situation came up, basically Golden Boy kind of aborted ship with Abu Dhabi because it wasn't 100% sure. You know, it still needed some work to get done while the Adrien Broner situation could get done 100% if they committed to it. So they decided to go with the Adrien Broner situation. I think that had more to do with Al Haymon wanting that more than anything else; they wanted to make Al happy, you know, because honestly, the Abu Dhabi money was the most money I was getting offered. It was substantially more than what I'm making for the Broner fight. But as far as fights in the United States, you know, like the Mosley fight and all that, you know, the Broner fight was the most money I got offered. The Abu Dhabi fight was the most out of everything, you know, but once they didn't want to commit to it, we had to kind of go with what the best offer was in the States and the Broner fight was the top money offer in the States, you know. Like I said, I think it was more to do with Al Haymon; he wanted me to fight Broner and what Al wants, Al gets. That's boxing in 2013.
BT: When they brought the name Adrien Broner to you, were you surprised at all?
PM: Yeah. My manager and my lawyer sent me the email that they got from Golden Boy, they basically copied me on it and forwarded it to me. So I answered them back, "Are you guys serious? Is this a real offer?" It wasn't a money offer yet, but it was just like, "What do you guys think of fight with Adrien Broner?" I didn't think it could be possible, you know. I mean, this guy just went from 130 to 135; there's no way he's going to fight at welterweight, so my first initial response was, "Is this serious?" And they go, "Yeah, it looks like they're serious." I was like, "Alright, well get me an offer and we'll talk." You know, I gotta hear out the offers first, and you know, the offer was a little less than what I'm getting now, but then it went up a little bit and it was more money than the other fights, so I gotta take it.
BT: Because he's making such a big jump in weight, did you ask for drug testing just to make sure everything is on the up and up come fight night?
PM: I did. I actually asked for VADA first and I was turned down. They said they were going to USADA, but I'm still waiting on what's going on with USADA. I still have not been tested. I still have not heard anything. When I saw this whole jump, I was like, "This is crazy. This is just a big jump." One of the first things I asked for was drug testing and I asked for VADA first, but they would not do VADA. They said, "If you want VADA, there's no fight." Do you ask for VADA and lose out on a 7-figure payday or do you just say, "Alright, fuck it, no VADA," and take the payday (laughing)?
BT: So did they say they were definitely going to do USADA testing?
PM: They did. Yeah, they did say they were going to do USADA testing. I thought it would have already begun. It has not begun yet, so I'm still waiting. I thought by this point I would have been tested. I'm not saying anything, but you know, these kind of weight jumps this rapidly and this fast, you never saw in old times. It's just something you don't see.
BT: Talk to me about the press conference. That was probably one of the wildest press conferences I've been to. Were you expecting Adrien to get it started with a show like that?
PM: It was creative, I gotta say, but the thing about Adrien is everything he has is rehearsed, so he kind of has to rehearse everything he's going to do and say before he gets up there, and I recognize it and I see it. So he rehearsed a good show, he did, you know; he got it all set up nice, but because I know he has to rehears everything, once I come back at him with some things, he's gotta think on the fly, and him thinking on the fly is not a good thing. He's not able to think on the fly. The trick to Adrien is you gotta knock down whatever he comes with the rehearsed stuff. Once you shut down whatever he rehearsed, he's gotta come back at you with something that's not rehearsed, you know, he's gotta think on the fly and he's not really that smart to think on the fly.
BT: I gotta admit, that was coldblooded line when you said even his mom thought he was born a bitch. Damn (laughing).
PM: (Laughing) Yeah, it got a little heated, man. You know, sometimes, this competition gets ugly, man, you know? Me and Adrien was cool before this, but when you got two guys that want to win at all costs, hey man, things are said and done that maybe you wouldn't usually do and say, but it's a win at all costs mentality.
BT: Are they going to do an All Access for this?
PM: I don't know. It would be cool. They mic'ed us up at the press conference, you know, the Showtime cameras did, so I'm not sure if it was in preparation for All Access, I don't know if they're thinking about doing it, or I don't know if they just wanted some stuff recorded just in case they do do it. I haven't been told that they are doing it, but I definitely think it would be cool if they did it.
BT: I'm sure you think Adrien is biting off more than he can chew. Considering that he's moving up in weight and is gonna be fighting in your backyard, is it safe to say that you pretty much have all the advantages going into this fight?
PM: I have all the advantages except Al Haymon. We know with Al Haymon, you can rob somebody in their hometown, just like Adrien did when he fought Ponce De Leon in front of 12,000 Mexicans in Anaheim on the Canelo/Matthew Hatton card. He lost that fight. The arena was full of Mexicans and somehow Adrien still got the decision. When I saw that, I was like, "Man, this guy Al Haymon can manipulate anything." So me fighting in my hometown is a cool thing and definitely advantageous in a lot of ways, but as far as where the judges are concerned and all that stuff, I'm far from safe and I definitely feel that.
BT: I think it was at the press conference or maybe it was when you guys ran into each other at the Garcia/Judah weigh-in, but when you guys were going back and forth, you told him that you see bitch him. Did you hear some stuff about him in the amateurs or something; what exactly prompted you to say that?
PM: Well I know a kid that beat him in the amateurs and basically I've seen the times he's had problems in the pros was once with Fernando Quintero and another fight with Ponce De Leon. What the kid from the amateurs told me was consistent with what I saw in the pro fights. Basically, he comes out strong and then once you pressure him, he kind of stops throwing punches, he gets defensive, he gets very gun shy, he starts getting into his own shell, and basically, that's the behavior of somebody that doesn't like to get hit; none of like to be hit, but we deal with it, you know what I'm saying. That's someone that doesn't like to be hit and doesn't want to deal with it. That's the behavior of someone who doesn't want to dig down and dig deep. Honestly, man, if that was me late in that Ponce De Leon fight and I'm in an arena full of Mexicans and I know this fight is really close, I'm telling myself, "I gotta do something right now because this fight is close and this crowd will definitely influence the judges in De Leon's favor," if I'm Broner in that moment. It didn't even cross his mind to take a chance. It didn't even cross his mind to go for the win when he might not get it, you know what I'm saying. You know, I remember fighting Miguel Cotto and thinking to myself, "Man, I gotta go after him now. I'm behind and I gotta go after him; this is going to really suck because this guy can punch." You know, he was kind of in that mode. I mean, granted, he ended up getting the decision, but he was kind of in that mode where those thoughts should have been crossing his mind. Man, those thoughts didn't even cross his mind and you can tell they didn't cross his mind because he was cool as a cucumber throwing no punches and just giving up all the late rounds. It goes hand in hand with a lack of character, a lack of determination; it goes hand in hand with a lot of flash and no substance. We'll see.
BT: Everybody likes to draw comparisons between him and Floyd Mayweather. I know how closely you've followed Floyd's career and his fighting style. When you look at what Adrien Broner does in the ring, do you think he's that much of a comparison to Floyd or do you see a totally different fight?
PM: There's similarities. I mean, there's similarities in the way he shoulder rolls. There's a lot of different ways to shoulder roll; a lot of the way he tucks in and covers off the shoulder roll, there's a lot of similarities, but there's also a lot of differences. He's a copy of Floyd; he mimics him. The copy is never the original, you know what I'm saying, so he's not excatly like Floyd, but there's a lot of mimicking there. Again, it's hard to really say because, you know, can you see Floyd Mayweather having problems with Ponce De Leon? We can all pull off that style against the kitchen washer, you know, like I said, the guy who delievered the food at the press conference, we all pull off that style against that guy, you know what I'm saying, but can you pull off that style against somebody who really knows how to fight or who will really, really make you think? Can you pull that style off? You gotta be able to pull it off against the elite level, and right now, I don't know that Adrien has been on that elite level pressure situation where the pressure cooker is right on you and you got so much pressure on you and you gotta win and it's a big crowd. I don't know if Adrien has been there yet. You have to be very relaxed to pull off that style. Can you pull off of that stuff in the pressure cooker? You know, that's where you really see if he's like Floyd Mayweather because Floyd Mayweather, people mistake the talent for just, "Oh, he's scared of this. He just uses his speed." Floyd Mayweather has a lot of character. There's a lot of character behind Floyd Mayweather in the ring, you know what I'm saying. He digs deep and you don't even realize he's digging deep because he's making it look so easy. You actually don't realize how hard he's digging deep. That Miguel Cotto fight, he makes it look easy even though he's struggling. That was a tough fight for 12 rounds. It wasn't just a tough fight for 4 rounds or 5 rounds; it was a tough fight for 12 rounds. Even the rounds he was winning, you gotta really dig deep. He makes it look easy, but it's not easy, and that's the difference to me between Floyd Mayweather and Adrien Broner. There's no character behind Adrien Broner. The times he's gotten a chance to prove it, which is very, very little times because thanks to Al Haymon, he doesn't have to fight the level of competition that everybody else does, but the little rare times he's had to show it, in my opinion, he's been lacking.
CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF THIS IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH WBA WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION PAULIE MALIGNAGGI