This Saturday night, two of the best trash talkers in the sport will trade the microphones and cameras for a pair of gloves as Brooklyn's own Paulie Malignaggi puts his WBA Welterweight title on the line against the undefeated talent of Adrien Broner at the Barclays Center in New York. Check out what you need to know heading into the fight as Greg Rowe and Michael Samuels break down the advantages of both fighters.
DEFENSE: Malignaggi is known as a slick and crafty boxer with good defense. He uses good footwork and upper body movement to get out of harm's way. While Malignaggi is a slick fighter, he does get hit often, as his defense has slipped a bit over the years. Broner, on the other hand, comes out with a defense copying that of the great Floyd Mayweather, rolling behind the shoulder and staying in the pocket to avoid shots. Broner has shown vulnerability in his defense, however, as he has been hit by guys like Daniel Ponce DeLeon and Gavin Rees more than he should. At this point, I would give the edge to Broner as he seems to use his abilities a bit better than Malignaggi to avoid big shots and punishment.
EXPERIENCE: The advantage in experience in this fight is easily and clearly in the favor of the fighter from Brooklyn. Broner has only been in there with three guys who have a pulse in Escobedo, Ponce DeLeon and DeMarco, and having not made weight for Escobedo, that takes away some of the importance or brilliance of the performance. Malignaggi, on the other hand, has names like Cotto, Cherry, Ndou, Hatton, Diaz, Cano and Khan on his resume. No Contest here.
CHIN: Big question mark here for Adrien Broner as his defense and skill set have made it hard to judge just exactly how good a chin he has at this point in his career. Malignaggi, on the other hand, has shown an incredible beard, having taken a 12-round beating from Miguel Cotto, who fractured his eye socket and orbital bone while Malignaggi bravely stayed on his feet. Problem is in this fight, Malignaggi doesn't punch hard enough to give us the answer to this question, and if he does, that will tell us all we need to know about Broner.
POWER: Power, no question, goes to Broner in this fight as he has shown the ability in every weight class he has fought at to hurt and take his man out. Will this trend continue at 147? Only time will tell. Malignaggi has 7 KO's in 32 wins. Enough said.
SPEED: Both fighters possess the speed to offset the other and both have been the faster fighters in pretty much every fight they have had in their careers. Broner will have a slight edge in hand speed and foot speed in this fight. Look for this to really start showing off the bat as Broner tries to take control early.
FINAL VERDICT: The lead up to this fight was as fun and entertaining as any in recent memory, with the two brash, trash-talking stars taking sometimes vulgar shots at each other on Twitter, on camera, and to each others faces. The time for talk has ended and it is time to throw blows. I think Broner looks at Malignaggi as a washed up has-been and expects nothing from him in the ring. Malignaggi, on the other hand, I believe is as fired up for this fight as any in his career. He knows what time it is, he knows what is at stake, and he wants to be the first person to end what he feels is the "Broner Hype". I look for Broner to come out, as usual, pressing the action, walking forward, and standing in the pocket trying to land his big shots. Malignaggi will try and move, show Broner different looks and angles, while trying to counter him. I feel by round 4 or 5, Malignaggi will understand he is going to have to fight and will not be able to sit back and counter the faster and stronger Broner. Malignaggi is going
to have to dig down deep and channel the Paulie that fought Miguel Cotto in this fight if he is going to come out on top. My only worry is that, if it is a close fight, it doesn't end up being wider on the scorecards than it should be because of who a certain fighter has behind him. Maliganggi must not stand and trade too much in every round. He must pick his spots to box, counter, and lead. If he can do this, he can win the fight. Malignaggi says Broner has been fighting bums and has not fought anyone to test him. Saturday night will tell if he is right or wrong.
PAULIE MALIGNAGGI BY SPLIT DECISION
DEFENSE: Both of these guys are hard to hit, but the edge has to go to Broner simply because he is going to have an easier time (as other opponents have with Malignaggi) breaking Paulie's guard when he throws combinations. I'm not so sure it's safe to assume that just because Malignaggi has fought as a welterweight for awhile that he's necessarily the stronger fighter. Broner isn't Mayweather with the shoulder roll, but he's hardly Andre Berto when it comes to implementing the style.
EXPERIENCE: This is hands down the only category Paulie Malignaggi takes in stride. Adrien Broner has fought a list of mostly mismatched opponents. Malignaggi isn't rich. He's well off, but he's HAD to take the biggest fights possible in order to maximize his revenue from a business standpoint. HBO wasn't going to pay this guy the money Broner has been getting for fighting stiffs. It's not to say that Broner hasn't earned his stripes, but rather Malignaggi knows exactly what it takes to fight at one of the highest levels the sport has. He easily takes this category. Malignaggi is probably, safe to say, the only guy Broner has fought that anyone in the public may recognize. That says plenty.
CHIN: Broner hasn't fought enough punchers, and those that he has haven't tested his beard too much. Broner appears to be filling into his body at a very reasonable rate. He's very sturdy and has good footwork, so I think it's safe to say his chin is pretty solid. Malignaggi has been stopped, but his opposition isn't a list of nobodies. He doesn't have any power in his hands, but he's got more heart than the next guy. There are probably 200 guys in gyms across the world today with more talent, athleticism, and power than Paulie Malignaggi, but they don't have the extra "it" to get it done, which is why they will never be anything more than glorified sparring partners (hey, maybe Broner's next opponent). This fight has gotten too personal of late. There's no way Paulie will go down unless he takes a brutal beating over a long sustained amount of time.
POWER: Broner is young, so moving up two weight classes will be no big deal for him in terms of his power. Some fighters have power, others don't. Broner will not suddenly evaporate into a fluid boxer who can't crack an egg if it ran into his fist. And let's not forget, Malignaggi isn't exactly the biggest, most daunting welterweight in the class. No matter what weight class Malignaggi fights in, he's never going to hurt anybody. Even with healthy hands, the "Magic Man" is not a puncher. Broner can punch and he's not going to run. This spells major problems for Paulie.
SPEED: At 130 pounds, Adrien Broner was a fast, compact puncher who could deliver the quickest and most powerful combinations within the division. At 135 pounds, the results were duly noted. At 140 pounds, well, Broner decided to skip that class altogether and go right to 147 pounds where his speed has never been tested. This will change Saturday night, and despite the claims from Malignaggi himself, who believes the speed and power Broner possesses will not transfer properly against the bigger cats in the game, it will not be an issue. Broner will be just as fast, just as quick, and just as powerful when he steps in to the ring and jumps on to the welterweight stage. Malignaggi is a quick fighter who relies more on craft than speed. Amir Khan was light years faster than Malignaggi and it's safe to say Broner will be just as fast and will cause just as many "problems" for the brash Brooklyn native.
FINAL VERDICT: The trash talk leading up for the promotion of this fight has been off the chains. It's been ugly, nasty, and personal. It has done one hell of a job of sucking the public towards this bout, which in reality is going to be a landslide. Adrien Broner will have ZERO trouble with Malignaggi. It's not to say Paulie is a bad fighter or that Broner is fighting another stiff. But styles make fights. Broner is fighting a name opponent for once, but he's fighting an older guy who is basically a full-time broadcaster looking to make the most money before retirement, who by the way, wouldn't be able to hurt Broner with his hands unless he plans on visiting Antonio Margarito before they were wrapped. Broner will find his range. He will be quicker than Paulie from the outside and absolutely demolish him from inside the pocket. Broner will give Paulie zero respect because he knows he doesn't have to. Look for Paulie to take an astounding amount of punishment before being TKO'd late in the fight.
BRONER TKO 11