Paulie Malignaggi easily out-boxes fellow Brooklynite Gabe Bracero
Paulie Malignaggi won something called the “Brooklyn Championship” on Saturday, easily out-boxing Gabriel Bracero for a unanimous decision win at Barclays Center.
Maybe it’s called the “Barclays Belt” or the “Brooklyn belt.” In any event, Brooklyn’s Malignaggi, a former two-division champion, fought well against a fellow 35-year-old, showing the skills that once made him such a compelling figure early in his career when he fought the likes of Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton, Adrien Broner and a host of others. Malignaggi (36-7, 7 knockouts) won by scores of 96-94 (Carlos Ortiz) and 98-92 (Julie Lederman) and 98-92 (Robin Taylor) against Brooklyn’s Bracero (24-3, 5 KOs) on the undercard of Leo Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton.
“I knew Bracero was a counterpuncher like myself,” he said afterward. “I was just trying to be the sharper counterpuncher. We both try to set traps and I just wanted to make him earn any points that he got. At the same time, I felt like I had to earn my points. I dictated the fight with potshots and stepping over. I didn’t want to get desperate. I wanted to force him to get desperate from being behind on the scorecards. I think I did a good job of that.”
After the bout, Malignaggi showered and slipped into a suit and called the rest of the Showtime broadcast from ringside. “I’m excited to call the fights tonight,” he said. “I’m a fan before I’m a fighter. I’m excited to go to work right now.” Of his future plans he said, “I’m going to head to Italy on Tuesday, take a vacation and then think about my future.”
Bracero landed a clean left in the first round but Malignaggi took it well. Perhaps the punch woke him up because Malignaggi proceeded to take over the match from there and basically did whatever he pleased. Malignaggi darted in and out, continuously pumping his jab and reddening the skin below Bracero’s right eye. For his fans, it was vintage Malignaggi, totally in control, controlling distance and easily moving away from Bracero’s punches when he decided to initiate.
Malignaggi even backed up Bracero in the fifth round and peppered him with jabs and right hands as Bracero looked on, unable to get out of the way or fight back. The two are friends from their amateur days and touched gloves at the end of many of the rounds but Malignaggi gave Bracero a look after the fifth that seemed to say, “Come on, Bro, make it competitive.”
Bracero did, closing the distance in the seventh, landing some rights, lefts, and he began to score with heavier blows in the next few rounds, marking up Malignaggi’s eyes a bit. The two actually began trading shots in the middle of the ring toward the end of the ninth. Bracero knocked Malignaggi back with a counter-right but Malignaggi tagged him in return.
Malignaggi suggested he may retire after he was stopped twice in bouts against Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter in 2014 and 2015, but he has continued to fight on, addicted to a trade he started plying in 2001, when he turned pro. After Saturday’s win, he likely has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Bracero was arrested in February during an auto-stop and allegedly got into a physical confrontation with a police officer, according to a police source. Bracero maintains his innocence and believes the charges are trumped up and that he was targeted by police because of his previous run-ins with the law.
Bracero has been charged with assault on a police officer, three counts of criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, unlawful possession of marijuana, as well as resisting arrest, police sources said. It’s the 13th time he’s been arrested and that includes “his role in an armed robbery,” according to The Post.
In the undercard action, Tevin Farmer (22-4-1, 5 KOs) won a crisp unanimous decision against Ivan Redkach (19-2-1, 15 KOs) by scores of 99-89 and 98-90, 98-90 in a 10-round lightweight bout. Farmer cruised to victory, showcasing non-stop head movement and constant body-punching. Farmer has now won 15 straight since getting stopped by current junior lightweight titleholder Jose Pedraza in the eighth round in 2012.
Amanda Serrano defended her WBO featherweight title on the undercard in the first women’s title fight in the short history of Barclays Center with a first-round stoppage of Calixta Silgado.