BROOKLYN — WBA welterweight titleholder Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi said he is expecting “the easiest fight” he could have been offered against rising WBC lightweight titleholder Adrien “The Problem” Broner, whom he will face on June 22 at Barclays Center on Showtime.
“I have told several people this and they thought that I was crazy,” said Malignaggi (32-4, 7 knockouts), a 32-year-old winner of five straight bouts. “The media likes to think that they know a little bit more than everybody else, for the most part, but essentially, out of all of the fights that they could have offered me when they came with this — it could have been Marcos Maidana or it could have been Andre Berto (or) Shane Mosley. Those are physically demanding fights. They’re welterweights. They’re physical guys. Broner’s not one of those guys. So out of all the guys that they’ve offered me, I think this is the easiest fight, and it just happens to pay more, too. So it’s a double-bonus in one.”
Malignaggi spoke to RingTV.com on Thursday at Barclays Center while in attendance at the final press conference for Saturday night’s Showtime-televised matchup between RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia and ex-titleholder Zab Judah.
“This fight was the main motivation for winning my second world championship last year,” said Malignaggi, in a release from promoter Golden Boy. “I wanted to be in a huge main event at Barclays Center. This is a blockbuster event and I can’t wait to make a successful title defense in Brooklyn where my roots are.”
Broner (26-0, 22 KOs) has been training recently with IBF junior welterweight beltholder Lamont Peterson, who will make his second defense against THE RING’s No. 1-rated 140-pounder Lucas Matthysse on May 18 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Showtime.
“Paulette better be in some shape,” said Broner, who will skip the 140-pound class in pursuit of his seventh straight stoppage victory against Malignaggi. “On June 22, I will be a three-time world champion in three weight classes at just 23 years old.”
“Last time that I checked, you know, Adrien is a girl’s name. He’s sitting here calling me Paulette, but he’s got to feminize my name. But Adrien is already girl’s name,” said Malignaggi.
“That was Rocky’s wife, so it’s a very famous girl’s name. So, I don’t gotta feminize anything. He’s got a girl’s name to begin with. His mother must have thought that he was a b–ch when he was born.”
“I feel very good about this fight. I expect a more determined and a more powerful Seth Mitchell for the rematch,” said Banks, who stopped Mitchell in the second-round in November.
“I look forward to the challenge on June 22. I’m excited to be fighting and intend to put on a terrific performance for those in attendance at Barclays Center as well as those watching on Showtime.”
Mitchell’s Feburary return bout with Banks was canceled after Banks suffered a broken right thumb.
“I’m excited about my opportunity to rematch Johnathon Banks on June 22 at Barclays Center. I was disappointed with my last performance against him, and look forward to meeting him in the ring once again,” said Mitchell, who, like Banks, is 30.
“My team has been working extremely hard in preparation for this fight. I’m confident that my performance on June 22 will properly showcase my abilities and will reignite talks of me competing for the heavyweight championship of the world.”
Banks-Mitchell II is being presented in association with K2 Promotions.
“Once again, we’re looking forward to bringing a blockbuster fight to Brooklyn at Barclays Center. Paulie Malignaggi is the type of fighter that is not going to let anyone take his belt from him on his home turf,” said Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy.
“But he has his work cut out for him against one of the most talented fighters in the sport in undefeated rising superstar Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner. Add in the rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell, and it’s safe to say that the fireworks will be flying a few weeks before the Fourth of July.”
Broner will be on Showtime for the first time in his career, according to Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager, Showtime sports..
“All of us at the network are thrilled to have Adrien in his Showtime debut, especially in a tough fight against the very smart and crafty world champion Paulie Malignaggi,” said Espinoza.
“When this fight first came available, I jumped at the chance to have it on Showtime. This fight was one of the most talked about match ups of the year before it was even announced.”
Tickets priced at $250, $125, $75, $50 and $25 go on sale on April 27 at 10 a.m. ET. Tickets are also available for purchase at www.barclayscenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com and all Ticketmaster locations as well as by calling 800-745-3000 and at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center at noon ET. Group tickets are available by calling 800-GROUP-BK.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]