COMMENTARY│Expected and considered by some as “the next big thing” in boxing, Adrien “The Problem Broner” scored a split decision victory against hometown favorite Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on Saturday.
The Cincinnati fighter, Broner, captured the WBA welterweight title from the often regarded as “paper champion” Malignaggi, from this talent-packed 147 pound division. Broner at 23, became three division champion: having won world titles at super featherweight, lightweight and welterweight.
Broner now improved to 27-0 (22 KO), skipped 140 pound division to fought Malignaggi. His move was criticized. He is accused of ducking the likes of Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson, Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado. These fighters would give real problem to “The Problem” and will pose the biggest test of Broner’s talent.
Well, fast forward, he chose to fight Malignaggi 32-5, (7 KO) at 147 pound, last night on Showtime. A fight that was somehow perceived, to be an easy job for Floyd’s so called “younger brother”.
Most if not all boxing aficionados picked Broner to win via knockout or in a very impressive manner. I predicted that Broner will win unanimously in a lopsided battle. I did not predict a KO because Broner is a newcomer at welter and Malignaggi has been fighting in this division for several fights. Instead, I expect Broner to showcase more from his talent and ring prowess to outwit the feather-fisted Malignaggi.
Maybe I am expecting a lot from Broner. But what I should expect from a fighter who is positioned to be the next big thing in boxing? I expect an easy job for a pick out job.
However, although Broner won and remained undefeated, his performance is far from my expectation. Broner started the fight slow as expected, which he always did to size up his opponent. Malignaggi at 32 managed to land jabs and was the busier fighter. Broner has the lower punch output because his hands were too busy on shoulder roll and doubling up to protect from Malignaggi’s volume jabs to his head and body in the first four rounds.
Broner, increased his output in the fifth and throw more uppercuts and left hooks that find mark on Malignaggi’s head and body. But Malignaggi stuck to his game plan, he continued to keep distance using his jab and clinched whenever Broner got close.
Broner failed to adjust Malignaggi’s game plan. Knowing that he can take whatever the light hitting Malignaggi throws. He kept coming towards Malignaggi flat footedly in one direction, using his shoulder roll as the only defense. But it also prevented him to throw more punches of his own.
Broner has the upper body movement of Floyd but without the footwork. He did not use lateral and more head movement to evade Malignaggi’s jabs. The added weight made him slow and did George Foreman’s move that Muhammad Ali describes as a “mummy walk” prior to their “the rumble in the jungle” fight in 1974.
On the other hand, I saw what I don’t expect from Malignaggi; he was able to keep up the next big thing in boxing and was never in a verge of collapse or getting KO’d. He religiously stuck to his game plan from start to finish. The only thing that is lacking is the sting from his punches. If he has decent power I think it would have been a different story.