Malignaggi: “The Problem’s” problem
By Donald Crisp: After many weeks of non-stop trash-talk between Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien “The Problem” Broner, the fight that many have been anticipating, if for nothing else just to see the fireworks unfold, ended leaving us with more questions than it answered. Most of the questions have to do with Adrien Broner’s merits: How good is he? Did he prove anything? Did this fight help or hurt him? And what about Paulie – if Adrien Broner is as good as he (and/or we) thinks, does that mean Paulie is still a legitimate contender?
Both men made promises in their pre-fight bashing: Broner promised to knock Malignaggi out; Malignaggi promised to expose Broner and defeat him. Neither of them walked the talk, but who came closer?
Malignaggi threw 843 punches (214 landed) compared to 524 thrown (246 landed) by Broner. Broner landed more, was more efficient, and had greater impact with each punch. Nonetheless, it is clear from watching the fight that Paulie was fighting his fight. He was in control of the pace of the fight and took the fight to Broner much more than Broner took it to Paulie. This is evidenced by the fact that the fight went into championship rounds; a place Broner had never been to. If Broner had been fighting his fight, the fight would have never made it past rounds 7 or 8, as most of the boxing community expected.
Broner was clearly the more effective puncher. His punches carried much more power than Paulie’s. They also landed with more frequency and efficiency. Broner was never rattled by any of Paulie’s punches, though he was tagged much more than anyone realistically expected. I value quality over quantity; but there is a line to be drawn. There is a point at which a fighter is being so conservative that he loses control of the pace of the fight. Broner lost control of the pace of the fight.
In terms of knockdowns, neither of the fighters suffered a knockdown. Interestingly, however, Paulie walked through most of Broner’s punches. I never got the impression that Paulie was in imminent danger of hitting the canvas, though he was visibly rattled on two occasions. Broner was definitely never in any trouble. It is no secret that Paulie has virtually no punching power. But the flipside is that Paulie exposed just how easily Broner could be hit.
I am concerned about Broner. Paulie did something similar to what Ponce De Leon did in his match versus Broner. The difference was that Ponce De Leon has some power; Paulie does not. Many in the boxing community believe that Broner lost the Ponce De Leon fight; I agree.
So what happens if you put a Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero, Maidana, or even an Abner Mares in front of Broner? All four boxers have much more power than Paulie and probably more power than the fading Ponce De Leon.
Broner has spent a considerable amount of time attempting to convince people that he is the next Mayweather. Broner is a talented boxer. He has power, speed, defense, ring-smarts, personality, and charisma: a recipe for success in boxing. A little cockiness and arrogance go far in terms event sales and intrigue. But is his bark louder than his bite? It certainly was this past weekend.
Though I am in agreement that Broner won the fight, albeit by a close margin, Malignaggi walked more of the pre-fight talk than Broner. He took Broner the distance using sheer heart, experience, intelligence, and will-power.
Broner prevailed on the cards, but Malignaggi took the night.