Adrien Broner was able to overcome a feisty, determined Paulie Malignaggi at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn Saturday night as he defeated Malignaggi by way of Split Decision. Scores were 115-113, 113-115, and 117-111. Broner spent the entire night backing up Malignaggi landing very clean, hard shots but Malignaggi won over the fans with his continuous combinations and what seemed to be never ending work ethic as he threw punches everywhere and anywhere he could on Broner. The fight ended in a classic work rate vs effective punching style type fight that had some people wondering if Broner may have actually lost the fight despite being an 11-1 favorite. While he managed to get a split decision win, there seemed to have been more questions than answers left surrounding a man who has claimed himself to be the next big star in boxing.
Is it fair to judge Adrien Broner on one performance against a tough veteran after moving up two weight classes to take the fight? I don’t think it is. Malignaggi said it himself that he has only lost to world champions so the fact that Broner is being questioned about last night’s performance is somewhat eluding me. Malignaggi had a good game plan, fought the best fight I had ever seen him fight, and still didn’t do enough to win. So why is everyone bashing on Broner saying that he isn’t as good as they thought he was and that he’s not going to be a big star in the sport?
Because, this is boxing. And in boxing you are only as good as your last fight. When the fans expect something to happen then it better get done or there is going to be hell to pay. The expectation last night was the Broner would walk through Malignaggi with ease. That didn’t happen. And when the comparison to Floyd Mayweather surrounds your name constantly, anything less than a dominant performance is going to lead to some major criticism whether it is fair or not. So with an unexpected tough fight victory over Malignaggi, a fight that most experts and fans did not expect Broner to have a problem with, the questions begin to loom for the new undefeated WBA welterweight champion. Should Broner stay at 147? Was it too fast and too early for him to make the jump? Would he even be able to beat the champions at 140? Is he as good as everyone says he is? I will answer all four questions with my opinion. No, 147 is too big right now. Yes, it was too early. Maybe, I think the biggest test for him there is Lucas Matthysse. And it’s too early to tell. What I 100% do not believe is that after one tough fight, Adrien Broner should be written off as just a good fighter that can never be a great fighter. Especially at the age of 23.
Malignaggi had the perfect game plan for that fight, and he was motivated. I believe more credit should be given to him for doing what he did than taking more away from Broner. He used movement, took all of Broner’s shots, and threw punch after punch to do everything he could to beat him. Broner stayed composed despite Malignaggi frustrating him and still managed to fight his fight and win. No, I know that a split decision victory wasn’t what everyone thought but it was a good test for a 23 year old kid who was jumping two weight classes to take the fight. I also didn’t think it was as close as most people thought. I had Broner 116-112 based on cleaner and harder punches.
If there is one thing I do wonder about Broner it’s the jump in weight. At times he was relatively easy to hit for someone that was smaller than him. Malignaggi despite being the true welterweight fighter doesn’t hit with a lot of power and he looked smaller than Broner in that ring. Guys like Devon Alexander, Amir Khan, Andre Berto, and Robert Guerrero are big guys with true welterweight power. Broner doesn’t have Mayweather’s defense. He is more aggressive and therefore is more suspect to getting hit. Those guys will hit him a lot harder than Malignaggi did. I don’t know how well Broner would take those punches. Of course, every style is different. Malignaggi’s game plan and smaller size perhaps frustrated Broner as opposed to facing someone that doesn’t throw a lot of punches. Malignaggi used very fast hand speed to land everywhere he could against Broner’s body which is one of the reasons why people thought he was winning rounds. I tend to think most welterweight fighter’s don’t fight like that and wouldn’t if they fought Broner. Still, 147 might just be too big for him right now.
I think that the lightweight division is dead for him too. There is no intriguing fights there. The best option is to get him back in the ring as soon as they can and to put him at 140 in my opinion. There are guys there he can fight. If they want to keep him at 147 I think he will have trouble. The rumor is Maidana could be next. Maidana just came up from 140 so it could be a good fight for Broner. Maidana will surely test Broner’s chin and would provide an exciting fight.
I don’t think last night’s performance changes anything I originally thought about Broner. He can be a superstar in boxing but his aggressive style may lead him into some dangerous fights. That isn’t a bad thing as long as he finds a way to win them. Everyone always wanted a more exciting, aggressive Mayweather type fighter in the ring, and I believe Broner provides that. But he has to keep winning, and he should start by going back to 140 and trying to be the undisputed champ of that division. As far as him being not as good as everyone thinks he is, only time will tell.