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Paulie Malignaggi vs. Adrien Broner: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight

Kevin McRaeFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2013

Paulie Malignaggi vs. Adrien Broner: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight

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    The WBA welterweight title will be on the line this Saturday night at the Barclays Center as champion Paulie Malignaggi defends his belt against Adrien Broner.

    Malignaggi, who won the title last year, enters the bout on a five-fight winning streak. In his last fight, he narrowly defeated Pablo Cesar Cano by decision on the undercard of the inaugural boxing card at the new arena in Brooklyn. It wasn't his best performance, and many felt he got a win that was undeserved.

    Adrien Broner enters the fight having already won world championships in two weight classes, and despite being just 23 years old, he's considered one of the best fighters in boxing. He and Malignaggi have engaged in a vulgar war of words in recent weeks and seem to genuinely dislike each other.

    Read on for our complete preview and prediction for this Saturday's big title fight! 

Tale of the Tape

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    There are a couple of things that immediately stick out when comparing Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner. The "Magic Man" is clearly the more experienced fighter, with more fights and more rounds in the ring, but he lacks the type of dynamic power Broner has demonstrated. 

    Broner will be making a big jump in weight—his last fight was at 135 pounds—and he's never come into a fight at more than 140. Malignaggi, on the other hand, has spent his last several fights at welterweight. This could provide an advantage to the Brooklyn native on fight night.

    Record:

    Malignaggi

    32-4, 7 KO

    Broner

    26-0, 22 KO

    Height: 5'8 1/2" 5'7"

    Reach:

    70" 71"
    Weight: 147 TBD
    Stance: Orthodox Orthodox
    Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
    Cincinnati, OH
    Rounds: 286 96

Main Storylines

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    Paulie Malignaggi is the hometown fighter and will enter the ring with the vast majority of the Barclays Center crowd there to support him. He prides himself as a true son of Brooklyn and refuses to back down from anyone. His recent war of words with Broner has bordered on, and often exceeded, the standards of good taste, and he seems to genuinely dislike his opponent. 

    He's promised to not only beat but to beat up his opponent, and that makes for a compelling storyline. Whether or not he can do it is another story.

    Adrien Broner is either a once-in-a-generation talent or a brash-talking fighter whose mouth outpaces his talent in the ring. It all depends on who you ask or who you listen to. He's certainly talented and as a two-time world champion, he has accomplished more than a lot of fighters.

    But he will be moving up two weight divisions to challenge Malignaggi and fighting at the highest weight of his career. How will he handle the jump to welterweight against fighters that are bigger and hit harder than what he's seen thus far?

Strengths

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    Paulie Malignaggi is one of those fighters who has made a lot out of a little. He'll never be the strongest or most talented fighter in the world, but he has a ton of heart and will never quit in the ring. 

    The "Magic Man" is a slick boxer who uses good footwork and defense to control the pace and distance of the fight. He has an underrated jab, which he will throw a lot, and has made a career out of tapping and not getting hit in return. It might not be the most exciting, but he's a pure boxer and it works.

    Adrien Broner possesses blazing speed and great power. He likes to throw lots of punches from different angles and catch his opponent off guard. He has an underrated defense, which will serve him well in a new weight class, and isn't afraid to let his hands go.

    "The Problem" is considered by a great many people to be the top prospect in boxing, and the heir apparent to Floyd Mayweather's throne, but he will be stepping up in weight and needs all his talents in order to come through with a win.

Weaknesses

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    Paulie Malignaggi isn't known as much of a puncher. With just seven knockouts on his resume, he might not have enough power to keep Adrien Broner off of him for the entire fight. If Broner doesn't respect his power, he could potentially make it a very long night.

    The "Magic Man" was less than impressive in his last fight. Pablo Cesar Cano, who recently lost a unanimous decision to a shell of "Sugar" Shane Mosley, was able to tag him at will and scored a late-fight knockdown. Many felt he deserved the win, and if Broner is able to land that much, he has the stuff to end the fight.

    Adrien Broner sometimes lacks focus in the ring. Thus far, his talents have kept him from getting into any serious trouble, but that's no guarantee it won't happen. If there is one thing that's certain, it's that Malignaggi will not suffer from any loss of focus, and he could exploit this weakness if Broner isn't careful.

    Broner will also be making a big jump in weight for this fight, having never competed above junior welterweight, and it's unknown how he will handle the extra pounds. His body frame would seem to indicate that he'll handle it well, but it remains an unknown until he proves it.

Paulie Malignaggi Will Win If...

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    Despite being the defending champion, fighting in his hometown and competing in his own weight class, Paulie Malignaggi enters this fight as a huge underdog. That largely has to do with the perception that his opponent is a generational talent who will walk through him on his way to bigger and better things.

    For Malignaggi to win this fight, a couple of things need to go right. He'll need to be tighter defensively than he was in his last fight. Pablo Cesar Cano hit him way more often than he was comfortable with, and he doesn't have close to the speed and power of Adrien Broner. 

    Malignaggi will need to box effectively and utilize his jab and footwork to keep Broner on the outside. He's better off not engaging in firefights, despite what he says he'll do, and trying to win a boxing match, not a fight. 

Adrien Broner Will Win If...

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    For Adrien Broner, the path to victory, and the WBA welterweight title, is more varied. He will enter the ring as the faster, stronger fighter. If he remains focused, and doesn't have any problems with the extra weight, he should win the fight.

    If the pre-fight hype is any indication, Broner will attempt to make this into a fight and not a boxing match. That's where his advantages will become crystal clear. Malignaggi has been hurt and dropped in the past by fighters that don't have the speed or power "The Problem" possesses. 

    If Broner is able to force Malignaggi out of a boxing mode and into a fighting mode, he should have little problem winning the fight.

And the Winner Is...

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    Paulie Malignaggi simply doesn't possess the firepower necessary to keep Adrien Broner off of him for the entire fight. Eventually, Broner will goad him into abandoning the game plan and opening up more, which will make his speed and power advantages more apparent. 

    Expect Malignaggi to start out the fight attempting to outbox Broner and find some success in the early rounds. But eventually, his hot temper, and desire to prove something, will get the better of him, and he'll find himself in more exchanges than are good for him.

    By the middle rounds, Broner's speed and power advantages will become painfully apparent, and he'll begin breaking Malignaggi down. It'll become a one-sided affair and Broner will win by ninth-round TKO.

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