Paulie Malignaggi in the Doghouse: "I think Adrien Broner is solid, but I don't think there’s anything special about him"
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Paulie Malignaggi in the Doghouse: "I think Adrien Broner is solid, but I don't think there’s anything special about him"
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (June 18, 2013)

L-R: Paulie Malignaggi, (Bernard Hopkins, center), Adrien Broner
L-R: Paulie Malignaggi, (Bernard Hopkins, center), Adrien Broner
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Boxing fans have always loved tough guys. Fifty-five years ago, heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano was the baddest man on the planet.

Marciano disregarded pain like a New York cabdriver ignores customers.


A cut eye was like a walk in the park. A heavy punch was nothing more than a nuisance.  


In 1954, a slashing Ezzard Charles left uppercut added another nostril to Marciano’s nose. Did he say anything? Did Marciano consider quitting?


No, he knocked out Charles in the eighth round. 


Nowadays, no one measures up to Marciano. There are tough fighters, Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado come to mind, but the WBA welterweight champion might be the toughest of them all. Who is this hardy champion?  In a fight in 2007, he ignored a
broken bone in his cheek. He was also bleeding from his nose, mouth, and eye. He lost the fight, but Ring Magazine recognized him as the Comeback Fighter of the Year.

Paulie Malignaggi can barely punch his way out of a pasta bag. He’s scored seven knockouts in his 32-fight career. His lack of punching power has hurt him. In spite of this disadvantage, Malignaggi has captured titles in two weight classes. His heart has never been questioned – nor his backbone. He’s a classic boxer who always comes to fight.


On June 22, at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, Malignaggi will put his WBA welterweight title on the line against undefeated Adrien “The Problem” Broner. It’s the 32-year-old boxer’s most important fight to date and the one fraught with the most danger.


In a wide ranging interview conducted recently on the phone, Malignaggi discusses Broner’s behavior outside the ring, his fighting style, and what he needs to do to defeat the brash youngster from Cincinnati.  
   
 
John J. Raspanti: What do you think of Broner’s behavior outside the ring?  

Paulie Malignaggi: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a fighter having a little bit of an outgoing personality outside of the ring. Any kind of attention a fighter you can draw to himself is not a bad thing. I get aggravated because, call me envious, or jealous, I was doing the exact thing, only better. I doing was the hair stuff. I was doing the outrageous personality. I was doing crazy outfits. The attention it gets him is what it is.

JJR: Do you think he sometimes goes too far? (Broner was briefly arrested for biting a security guard a few months ago.) 

PM: Yeah, you don’t want to go as far as getting yourself arrested. That’s negative stuff. It’s not going to help your cause. I’ll give you an example. I just saw Chuck Liddell in a Miller Light commercial. You don’t see boxers doing commercials. You can’t push this kind of garbage and say this guy is going to be a crossover star. Crossover stars don’t get chosen by the boxing media. The boxing media don’t know sh** about who can be a crossover star. You can’t pick and choose. You can’t say a guy like Adrien Broner will be a crossover star, because stuff like that - people don’t like. He tries to imitate Floyd (Mayweather) in some ways, but even as great a fighter as Mayweather is he only crossed over because of fights with Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton. You’re not helping boxing by doing this.  

JJR: Give me your assessment of Broner the fighter.

PM: He’s got a solid foundation. He’s a good boxer. I think he’s intelligent. I think he adapts well. Granted the adapting part hasn’t been very difficult when you’re not fighting very difficult competition to begin with. Skills-wise he’s there. It’s just a matter of can he show what he’s shown when he steps up in competition. If I fight the chef down the street, I can look like a million dollar fighter too. We’ll find out June 22.


JJR: Do you see flaws that you can exploit?

PM: Yeah, I think he’s solid, but I don’t think there’s anything special about him. I think there are better prospects than him. Ok, he signed with Al Hayman. How can Ring Magazine put this guy in the Top Ten? I wouldn’t expect to be ranked in the pound-to-pound list for beating Adrien Broner, but would I expect it based on where Broner is?  Yeah, I would. If you’re going to be stupid, you might as well be stupid all year around.

JJR: Broner is undefeated. How do you beat him?

PM: Just be myself. I have to be a consistent fighter. I’ve been inconsistent in the course of my career, but you get me on a good night and you’ve got a handful. I don’t think the best Adrien Broner beat the best Paul Malignaggi. A matter of fact, I don’t even think it’s close.

JJR: You moved up to the welterweight division three years ago. Do you feel better at one hundred and forty-seven pounds?

PM: Yes, I do. It’s still work, but it’s not desperate work. It’s good work. You’re working, but you’re still strong. I remember after I lost to Khan, I don’t think very many people predicted much success for me. But, I haven’t lost a fight since and I won a world title as a welterweight. I don’t really care what people say anymore. I used to try to change peoples’ minds about me. But, they’ve been wrong so many times.

JR: Can you explain how you feel physically at thirty-two versus twenty-two?

PM: I feel a little smarter now, but I don’t feel as naturally explosive as I used to be. I feel like I can still have a very sharp night like the one I did last year with Senchenko (the night he won the WBA title) if I put together the intelligence, with the package I have left. I feel like I’ve lost a step, but not enough to lose the intelligence I’ve gained. When I was younger I was quicker, but I didn’t have the ring intelligence. I set up guys different now. I used to be able to let my speed do all the talking. I feel like I’ve learned a lot of things. I’ve changed a little bit, but that isn’t always bad. 

JR: So, give me a prediction for June 22.

PM: I see myself winning the fight wide – or stopping him late. I can’t see him in the fight. I can’t see it close. I think he’s a talented kid, but he’s not that good. I’ll explain to everyone after the fight what I was talking about. Some things he can’t do in there. Stylistically the match-up fits me well. I love the match-up. He’s not that fast. He’s going to lose power moving up in weight. I really don’t see what he can do. He’s going to come with a gameplan. I’ll have a gameplan too. We’ll see what happens. I’ll be ready June 22.  

JR: Good luck, Paulie.

PM: Thanks, John.

John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at: marlow_58@hotmail.com

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