by David P. Greisman
The marketing for Paulie Malignaggi’s fight with Adrien Broner this June has so far been carried by the trash talking between the welterweight titleholder from Brooklyn and the lightweight titleholder from Cincinnati.
The trash talk continued on Friday, May 17, with Malignaggi in Atlantic City to work the Showtime card featuring Lamont Peterson vs. Lucas Matthysse. He spoke with David P. Greisman of BoxingScene.com and Tim Starks of Queensberry-Rules.com.
Q: How’s training camp going right now?
Malignaggi: “Very good. I’m training in L.A. I’m working hard. I got two sparring partners right now. We’re going to add a third and fourth one in the coming weeks. Right now we’ve got Karim Mayfield and Steve Forbes. We’ve got Karim for physicality and Forbes for slickness. We’re going to add one or two more guys. We’ve been working hard. We’ve been working well.”
Q: How do you see Broner’s style changing, if at all, with his move up in weight?
Malignaggi: “I think a guy has to adjust to me. I don’t think his style changes so much for the weight. I think his style has to adjust to fighting me. We haven’t really seen him against a guy who moves or doesn’t stand in front of him, who if he gets in front of him, it’ll just be for short bursts and then change his spots, change the look. He has to adjust more so for me than for the weight. I don’t really see the weight as having to be an adjustment.”
Q: Do you expect him to be at 147, or a little bit lighter?
Malignaggi: “I haven’t really thought about it. It doesn’t really make a difference to me. I think about certain aspects of the fight. I don’t think it has anything to do with anything about the fight.”
Q: And how powerful he is at the weight wouldn’t adjust how you approach him?
Malignaggi: “I don’t really anticipate him being very strong at all, actually. I’ve been in with big punchers, so if he is, I’m not worried about hm. I don’t think the whole puzzle of Adrien Broner is really his power. I think the puzzle of Adrien Broner was him fighting the bums he’s been fighting. I don’t know that ‘The Problem’ was so much the power as it was the lack of high-level competition he was fighting. When you get to fight ESPN-level opponents on HBO, it’s easy to look good.”
Q: Are you almost enjoying all this trash talking going on with Broner? Is it motivating you even further?
Malignaggi: “Yeah, I’ve always been a trash talker, just as I got older, I kind of toned it down, just because I’ve become more laid back, not because I’m not a trash talker. But for somebody like this, he’s kind of brought it back out of me. We’ll go back to doing what I did when I was younger. I can talk with the best of them. It’s not like that stopped being in me. I always had that in me. Just as I got older, it kind of got less.”
Q: We’ve heard of people who use trash talking to get into their opponents’ heads. How do you keep this from derailing me?
Malignaggi: “It doesn’t really derail me. It’s more like motivation, like OK, you’re putting yourself at a point where you can’t lose the fight. You start talking so much, you want to make sure you come out the winner. It motivates you in training, it motivates you to win the fight. And of course, some of it sells the fight. It’s interesting. People read about it and talk about it. I don’t think there’s anything negative with trash talking.
“This is combat sports, and boxing is not at the forefront of major sports in the United States anymore, so I think any time the major media covers boxing is when something like this happens, with trash talk or a weigh-in brawl. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it getting a little out of hand. It’s two people fighting. It’s not ping pong in there. It gets out of hand. There’s a little bit if discontent for each other. The animosity is very real, and it shows. It’s fine. Either way, we’ve got to fight.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]