Adrien Broner defeated Paulie Malignaggi Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn via split decision to become a title belt holder in the welterweight division. Judges at ringside scored the fight twice for Broner (117-111, 115-113) and once for Malignaggi (115-113).
Yet, despite the fact that Broner notched the single-most impressive win on his lackluster resume to date (especially considering he’s a so-called three-division champion), remaining undefeated and jumping two full weight classes to do so, most of the post-fight hubbub was directed toward his opponent, Malignaggi.
Michael Woods was ringside for The Sweet Science.
“Indeed, this fight might be most remembered as a moral victory for Paulie more than anything else,” writes Woods, who also noted the fans in attendance at the arena “left with massive respect for Malignaggi, who showed a mastery of the ring, a solid chin, superb defensive skills, and a fierce desire to compete.”
Bleacher Report’s Keven McRae was there, too.
“Malignaggi on the other hand scored a moral victory, displaying his trademark guts and heart, in making the fight much closer and more competitive than most expected it to be in a losing effort,” McRae said in the Bleacher Report recap.
So who won again? Oh yeah, it was Broner.
Broner, who calls himself “The Problem,” seems to have a real problem on his hands. Superbly gifted and expertly connected, Broner seems to be missing one critical element: he’s not very likeable.
The problem for “The Problem” is that he doesn’t seem to get how important that is. For someone who considers himself a protégé of Floyd Mayweather, he sure seems to be missing how even the sport’s biggest superstar observes the bare minimum of decorum when it comes to sportsmanship.
After a bout, Mayweather is all class. In fact, he’s called almost every fighter he has ever faced, at least that this writer can remember, “a helluva fighter” afterward no matter how much vitriol was spewed during in the prefight build-up.
Mayweather probably wouldn’t win many outstanding citizenship awards outside the ring, but love him or hate him, when the bell rings on fight night, he is all about business (not “billions”). Sure, Money May is flashy here and there, but for the most part everything he does inside the ring is to help him accomplish one goal: win the fight.
Not so with Broner. He seems mostly interested in how he looks rather than what he’s doing, and how much showboating he can accomplish within the 12 scheduled rounds rather than how many of them he should be dominating.
And when the fight is over, he’s disrespectful to his opponent in ways not really seen before.
“I lifted his belt and his girl,” said Broner to Showtime’s Jim Gray after the fight.
If you missed what all that is about (and I wouldn’t blame you if you did) Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports succinctly breaks it down here:
That dig was a play on a pre-fight stunt Broner pulled in which he said he stole Malignaggi's girlfriend. That infuriated Malignaggi, who repeatedly screamed 'Don't talk about stealing my side piece … that's my side piece [reportedly referring to a woman Malignaggi dated]' and tried to jump in Broner's face before being yanked away.
Broner sure seems content on alienating almost all reasonably minded folk right out of his corner, and it will catch up to him sooner or later. He's a tremendously gifted fighter. He has it all: speed, power, boxing skill…you name it, he has it.
But he’ll never get any closer to the superstardom he or his handlers hope for unless he cleans up his act a little.