Malignaggi nearly splits the Problem
Adrien Broner became a three-weight world champion after coming through an entertaining fight with former WBA welterweight king Paulie Malignaggi in Brooklyn on Saturday night.
The pair had clashed repeatedly in the weeks leading up to the fight- adding spice to what had seemed to be a relatively mundane match-up with Malignaggi’s lack of power always likely to be a decisive factor.
As it was, Malignaggi was by far the busier fighter in the early stages- comfortably capturing the opening session as Broner followed the relaxed template he’d used to defeat Gavin Rees in February.
The 23-year-old could have been docked points for hitting on the break and kicking out at his older rival, but referee Benjy Esteves Jr. failed to spot a number of Broner’s petulant outbursts.
Malignaggi appeared to slow in the middle rounds, however returned with gusto in the final four sessions to eradicate any prospect of Broner forcing a late stoppage.
The young American, showing a complete lack of respect for Malignaggi’s punching power, always appeared as if he had extra gears at his disposal if necessary, although the champion’s heart and desire made the fight closer than it needed to be.
Scores of 115-113 each way and one of 117-111 in favour of Broner, gave the American his 27th straight professional victory.
For Malignaggi, the fight proved that he still has something to offer at or near the top table of professional boxing, whilst, Broner’s seemingly inevitable upward trajectory continued unchecked.