By Luis Sandoval
As BoxingScene.com reported on Saturday night, WBC lightweight champion Adrien Broner (26-0, 22KOs) intends to move up by two weight divisions to challenge Paulie Malignaggi (32-4, 7KOs) for the WBA welterweight title in an HBO televised main event, likely on June 22 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Malignaggi, who has started training camp at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, CA, confirmed to BoxingScene that he’s confident Broner will suffer the first loss of his career if they step in the ring.
“I think he's a good little fighter. He's got some skills. I just don't' think he's big enough. I don't care who he spars. I spar in the gym; I don't spar on fight night. His trainer, who's a good trainer Mike Stafford, he said Adrien spars with middleweights so he can handle me. Hey whatever. If the move up doesn't bother him then why not. Like I said I think he's talented, I think he's good. I just think there are weight classes for a reason and if we fight, I intend on showing that,” Malignaggi would tell BoxingScene.
It’s a surprising move for Broner to leap frog a division especially considering the one he’s jumping over is one of the deeper divisions in the sport. In his defense, most of the guys at Junior Welterweight are currently tied up fighting each other and they wouldn’t have enough time to prepare for a fight in June.
Despite Broner being the one who is making the drastic move up, most would probably still favor him in this fight. Regardless, Malignaggi is confident he will beat Broner and be the first true test of his career.
“I like the fight. I like the fight a lot. I seen some people saying oh Khan's speed bothered me and Broner's speed will bother me but it’s a different kind of speed and a different kind of style. Different kind of height really makes a big difference. He's a little guy; he's about 5'4. I've stood next to Adrien and he's not a big guy at all. I don't care how wide his shoulders are because height is this way [up], not this way [side to side]” said Malignaggi.
“I do think he has skill I just haven't seen someone who can punch him in the mouth yet and I have enough speed and skill to catch him. We'll see what happens but like I said, I'm not trying to knock the kid. It’s an ambitious move to move up 2 weight classes. It’s an ambitious move by his team but I think they're biting off more than they can chew."
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter @Truewest007. You can also tune in to The Boxing Lab, Boxingscene’s official audio show every Tuesday from 6-8PM PST with hosts Ernest Gabion, Luis Sandoval, and Ryan Burton.