By Chris Robinson
In a fight that was a little tougher than most expected, Adrien Broner won a split-decision over Paulie Malignaggi inside of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday night, becoming successful in his bid to become a three-division world champion at the age of 23.
Due to a spirited effort from Malignaggi (32-5, 7 KO’s), who never seemed to stop moving and punching in bunches despite his lack of pop, Broner (27-0, 22 KO’s) appeared to be deadlocked with the Brooklyn native over the first half of the fight. As the action wore on, Broner’s precise and more powerful punches began to find their mark as he marched towards victory.
Shortly after the dust had settled from Broner’s latest triumph, longtime HBO analyst Larry Merchant, never one to hold back his thoughts, weighed in and admitted he was a bit taken aback by how the clash played out.
“I was just a little surprised,” Merchant would state. “I thought Broner would be more explosive. But, from the arch of the fight and the comments, people think that he clearly won the fight. It was interesting to me after that he talked about going to 140, so maybe he feels he’s not able to be as explosive and destructive at .”
The reaction from Broner’s latest performance has been mixed, with some giving the Cincinnati native credit for moving up two divisions and dethroning a reigning champion while others have criticized him for not dismantling his foe in impressive fashion.
“I think it’s also the expectations,” Merchant stated. “I think he has created these expectations, which is to his credit, as being potentially the next big thing in American boxing. So, when you create high expectations and high standards and you don’t live up to it, there is a natural reaction about it.
“You get a lot of good stuff on you and then if you don’t live up to it, then that’s the standard that you’re measured on,” Merchant added.
If there is one thing Merchant seemed to be strongly against, it was the fact that Broner, during his post-fight interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray, revealed that he would like to have his next opponent be selected by hardcore enthusiasts of the sport.
“That’s crap,” Merchant sharply noted. “What is he going to do? Is he going to have a poll on Twitter? Come on. They’re looking to give him good fights and if [Marcos] Maidana is one of the guys who is in the mix, then it speaks for itself. I noticed they didn’t mention [Lucas] Matthysse. That’s just fight talk. How do the fight fans tell him who they want him to see?”