When Adrien "The Problem" Broner (26-0, 22 KO) squares off against Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KO) on Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., the challenger will push the undefeated star to his limit.
Broner comes into this fight as a heavy favorite—Bovada has the betting line listed at 1-12—but Malignaggi is a long shot worth the risk.
This isn’t just some random fighter put in front of Broner to pad his stats. Malignaggi is a seasoned veteran looking for his chance to shine against a tough fighter and prove his worth to the sport.
If Broner doesn’t take his challenger 100 percent seriously, the experience of The Magic Man will have the undefeated champion facing real in-ring adversity for the first time in his career.
Malignaggi told Lyle Fitzsimmons of Bleacher Report about his preparation for the fight and how much the bout means to the journeyman fighter:
I’ve had some very good sparring partners in camp and I’ve barely lost rounds—and that’s with guys being replaced every couple of rounds and having fresh ones brought in. I’m very sharp and it’s going to be the best possible version of Paulie Malignaggi.
When you’ve been doing this for a lot of years, you need to have the motivation to do the hard work to prepare, and this fight is why I want to show up and perform. It’s a big fight. It means the world to me for a lot of reasons. The arena is just a few miles from the hospital where I was born, which blows my mind, and it makes it that much more important.
Using his tough chin and athleticism, the Italian star will have to avoid Broner’s heavy hands by using his lateral quickness and maneuverability to stay away from his opponent’s power.
Malignaggi does not possess the power to knock out Broner, but he has the in-ring intelligence to make the younger fighter work hard and the cunningness to get inside, stick and move.
Add in the experience against the toughest fighters in the sport—he has stepped into the ring against Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan in hard-fought loses)—and Broner jumping up two weight classes for this bout, and this is likely Malignaggi’s last chance to show the world how great he can be.
At 32 years old, Malignaggi has the make-or-break moment of his career in front of him.
Broner hasn’t fought anyone of considerable notoriety in his career, and with so much experience in The Magic Man's favor, the challenger will give the undefeated champion everything he can handle in the ring.
While Broner may think he is Floyd Mayweather, Malignaggi is going to attack him as if he is just another fighter.