For weeks the trash talking between Paul Malignaggi and Adrien Broner – be it their heated face-to-face confrontation at the Danny Garcia-Zab Judah weigh-in, their kick-off press conference in Las Vegas or the back-and-forth via social media – has driven the promotion of their Showtime-televised June 22 welterweight title bout in Malignaggi’s hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Throughout their heavily covered war of words, Malignaggi, who defends his WBA 147-pound belt in Broner’s welterweight debut, has more than held his own. Broner, the ultra-talented WBC lightweight titleholder and odds favorite, loves mouthing off to his opponents but the 23-year-old Cincinnati native hasn’t been able to keep up with the quick wit of the fast-talking Brooklynite, who moonlights as a Showtime commentator.
However, during a media conference call held 10 days before their showdown at Barclays Center, it was clear that the 32-year-old veteran had grown weary of all the talk and is ready to back his words up in the ring.
Malignaggi (32-4, 7 knockouts) got on the call during Broner’s segment and initially lashed out at the cocky upstart.
“I’m gonna beat you like you stole something,” Malignaggi told Broner. “I’m gonna beat the s__t out of you.”
As Golden Boy Promotions COO David Iskowitch and publicist Kelly Swanson tried to calm Malignaggi down and get him off the call until it was his turn to speak to the media, Broner calmly asked the moderators to keep him on so he could “help him out” with some advice.
“You are retarded,” Malignaggi told Broner. “How are you gonna help me?”
Malignaggi was eventually subdued and taken off the call, leaving an amused Broner to take a few parting shots at the underdog.
“After June 22, boxing is not going to be the biggest job (Malignaggi) has, his commentary job is going to be it,” he said. “To get on the phone and talk crazy and cursing and all that isn’t going to do him any good. Showtime isn’t going to like that.
“I will make history on June 22. At the end of the day, I’m gonna f___ Paulie up. I’m not a commentator, so I can say ‘f___’ and ‘b___,’ I can say that I’m going to f___ Paulie up. If the ref doesn’t’ stop the fight in time, he’ll have to do his commentating with glasses on and that won’t be good.”
Earlier in the call, Broner (26-0, 22 KOs), who has stopped his last six opponents, said he had supreme confidence despite going from 135 pounds to welterweight.
“I’m not worried about jumping weight classes,” said Broner, who adds that welterweight is his “walking around” weight. “You will probably see another knockout. He’s bringing pillows to this fight, I’m bringing bricks.”
When it was Malignaggi’s turn to address the media the anger had passed and was replaced with an agitated, somewhat subdued tone. The two-division beltholder sounded like he just wanted to get the call over with, but being a professional, he answered the media questions.
When asked if Broner has gotten under his skin, he admitted that it has at times but added that it won’t affect his performance.
“No talking has ever gotten me out of my game,” Malingaggi said. “Some of (the trash talk) has been schtick, some of is real, but it doesn’t matter.
“I’ve been fighting for 12 years. When the bell rings, I’m focused and I’m there. It doesn’t really matter. We got a job to do next Saturday night, that’s what counts.”
Malignaggi isn’t in awe of Broner’s unbeaten record or the young boxer’s KO ratio. He points out that the last six fighters Broner has stopped – Jason Litzau, Vicente Rodriguez, Eloy Perez, Vicente Escobedo, Antonio DeMarco and Gavin Rees – aren’t exactly murderer’s row of the 130- and 135-pound division.
“They should have had (Broner) fight a live guy at 135 pounds before putting him in with live guy at 147,” he said. “I’m his first live guy and I’m the heaviest he’s fought.”
Malignaggi, who won the WBA belt by busting up the face of then-undefeated Vyacheslav Senchenko to a ninth-round TKO in the welterweight titleholder’s native Ukraine last April, vows to do the same to Broner.
“(Broner) will look like his face was stuck in a blender when the fight is done,” he said.
Most fans and media believe Malignaggi’s only chance to win is to outbox and outmaneuver Broner. A couple writers asked Malignaggi if his “legs” – or lateral movement – will be a factor in the fight, and if setting the pace of the bout is important.
“There are a lot of things I can do against Adrein Broner,” he said. “He’s fought such bums you can’t even really make a comparison as to what will or won’t work (against him by watching his fights). The guys he’s been fighting have nothing at all.
“We’re not training for him. We just prepared to get sharp and be the best we can be. We can’t prepare for the things he’s done against the bums he’s fought, because with a bum, you can do anything.”
Malignaggi closed the call by saying that he’s not motivated by fighting Broner or the perception among many fans and boxing media that the undefeated Ohioan is an “elite” boxer. He’s simply motivated by winning a major fight in his hometown.
“You always want big fights,” he said. “All fighters are motivated by the big moment in your career; you dream of the big crowd, big arena, big fight night, you dream of this moment. That’s what drives me to train hard and still do this.”
Photo / Jeff Botarri-Golden Boy