By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Paulie Malignaggi didn’t just question Adrien Broner’s power after their 12-round welterweight title fight Saturday night.
The out-spoken Showtime commentator and former two-division champion completely dismissed the promotion of Broner as boxing’s next superstar. Malignaggi said Broner was “a lot less than I expected,” despite that Broner beat Malignaggi by split decision to take his WBA welterweight title at Barclays Center in Malignaggi’s native Brooklyn.
Following the emotional promotion of a fight that remained very personal for both boxers even once it ended, Malignaggi also declared the 23-year-old Cincinnati native unfit to become the next face of boxing.
“This guy’s getting covers on Ring magazine, he’s getting promoted as the next thing for boxing,” Malignaggi said. “But did boxing really win tonight? The kid is not an example for anybody to look up to. The kid has no manners. Even after the fight, he had no manners. He’s not a good person.
“I’m not going to say he’s an average fighter. He’s got some talent, but he’s not a guy with the talent that can carry the sport. He’s a good, little fighter. But there’s a lot of good fighters in other weight classes, or even in our weight class, that have more star power than Adrien Broner. Adrien Broner is a wannabe rapper that can box a little bit, that they gave a welterweight title to tonight, so on paper he’s a three-time world champion. You know? And he’s got Al Haymon backing him, so.”
Malignaggi (32-5, 7 KOs) didn’t finish that thought, but he made if perfectly clear how he feels about Haymon’s influence in boxing both before and after he battled Broner (27-0, 22 KOs).
Broner’s handlers admonished Malignaggi later in the post-fight press conference for failing to accurately assess Broner’s ability and not properly crediting the undefeated fighter for moving up two weight classes to become a three-division champion.
Malignaggi just does not think, though, that Broner was as good Saturday night as Amir Khan was the night he stopped Malignaggi in the 11th round three years ago in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. According to Malignaggi, Broner isn’t as good as Miguel Cotto was, either, when Cotto out-pointed Malignaggi seven years ago at Madison Square Garden.
“As far as Miguel and Amir, compared to Broner, come on,” Malignaggi said. “You guys saw the difference. AB fought a 32-year-old Paulie Malignaggi. Miguel fought a 25-year-old Paulie Malignaggi and Amir fought a 29-year-old Paulie Malignaggi. You could see the differences in the performances. I think AB’s pretty ordinary. I think he’s pretty ordinary. And again, it’s because he stands right there. He’s right there for the return. He’s not easy to hit clean in the head, but you can bash him to the body. You know what I mean? He’s there.
“He’ll talk. He’ll tell you you’re not hitting him clean, but his work [rate] proves otherwise. If you’re not hitting him that clean, why is he not punching back then? So at the end of the day, Miguel just hits so hard and he was just, technically, very sound. And Amir’s speed, he was just on another level at that time. I feel like Amir has slowed down a little bit for other reasons. Maybe [because] he’s been in tough fights. But Amir, when I fought him, was just so fast, I mean so fast. You couldn’t even compare the speed from Broner to Amir Khan at that time.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.