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Fighting Words

Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner have talked their way into what they hope will be a well-attended headline bout Saturday night at Barclays Center. Photos courtesy of Tom Casino/SHOWTIME

Malignaggi, Broner engage in hostile talk in advance of Barclays bout

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Talk isn't so cheap after all.

Not when you're trying to promote a title bout at Downtown Brooklyn's Barclays Center this Saturday night between two of the sport's most notorious and celebrated trash talkers.

Reigning WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi knows the game all too well, and so does his opponent for the headline event at this weekend's SHOWTIME-televised boxing card on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.

"You'll probably see another knockout," boasted undefeated WBC lightweight champion Adrien Broner (25-0) prior to his workout Tuesday afternoon at DUMBO's historic Gleason's Gym. "[Malignaggi's] bringing pillows to a fight that I'm throwing bricks, so you should see a lot of blood, a lot of bruising before the referee stops the fight.   

"And hopefully, the referee don't stop the fight before it get too bad and he miss out on some jobs. Because after the fight, if the ref let it go on too long, he probably will miss out on a fight, and then he will have to be at work with glasses on and I don't know how good that [will] be [for] his career."

Malignaggi's retort?

"If you look at my opponents, they all get their ass beat don't they?," queried the Bensonhurst-bred 31-year-old pugilist. "I mean do they all wind up looking like their face went through a window at the end of the fight, especially recently?  I don't see why Adrien Broner's face is going to look different at the end of the fight.  He will wind up looking like they put his face in a blender when I'm done with him."

And these, I promise you, were some of the more respectful taunts the two combatants hurled at one another in advance of their showdown in the squared circle.

Broner has dredged up some of Malignaggi's previous love interests, his lack of punching power, his aptitude -- or lack thereof -- as a ring-side analyst with the cable network that will be airing the bout. And, of course, how he wants to humiliate the local fighter in front of his home crowd. 

Malignaggi has countered by addressing Broner's immaturity, his desire to be a "copycat" of ring immortal Floyd Mayweather and his "ambitious" jumping of two weight classes to take the fight.

"This is more than just the normal trash talk," said the 32-year-old Malignaggi (32-4), who admitted during the week that he is probably closing in on the end of his career after making his pro debut at Coney Island's MCU Park in the summer of 2007.

"[Broner] went and dragged out some stuff that I thought I had buried four months ago," he added. "I don't mind trash talking about boxing, saying he's going to knock me out and stuff like that. But this is really stuff about my personal life that I wanted to keep personal."

Broner, who fancies himself the next "Maymoney" at the tender age of 22, has gone as far as to refer to Malignaggi as "Pauline".

Malignaggi has taken to calling Broner "an asxxole".

"Nobody likes the guy!" he exclaimed Tuesday before hitting the speed bag.

Like him or not, Broner is being groomed as one of boxing's future main attractions, while Malignaggi is likely another good payday or two away from hanging up the gloves and grabbing the microphone to sit alongside his fellow ring announcers.

"If I was to look at his career, I would say he was born to be a commentator," Broner snarled when asked to assess his opponent. "He looks good.  He's got the looks.  He can talk.  I mean in boxing if it isn't Adrien Broner or Floyd Mayweather then I don't really see anybody. [Malignaggi] wouldn't be a world champion if he wasn't somebody, but at the end of the day he's fighting Adrien Broner and I will be the ruler of boxing in about a year or two."

For Malignaggi, who was the co-feature in Barclay's opening night of championship boxing last October, the fight represents an opportunity to leave a positive lasting image in his home borough.

In his Downtown debut last year, the "Magic Man" retained his title with a split decision victory over Pablo Cesar Cano. But a good portion of the crowd booed the scorecard annoucements lustily, feeling the young Mexican had outfought Malignaggi that night.

A resounding win Saturday night would doubtlessly be the defining moment of Malignaggi's career

"It's the main event," said Malignaggi, who was denied that slot last October, when unbeaten lightweight champ Danny Garcia made the first of his two headline showings at the Barclays.  "I'm the world champion in the city where my family moved to.  I came here and my family came here.  When I got in the country I didn't speak English, so it's the city where my life changed kind of.  Right now I get to be on the big stage in the same city as world champion in the main event in a big arena.  It's the kind of things that you say people dream about, but really I could have never dreamt it before so these kind of fights are what stand out, not necessarily opponent.  It could have been any opponent.  I just wanted a big opponent and a name opponent that makes the fight this much bigger."

Broner is relishing the opportunity to boost his own status by damaging Malignaggi's legacy in front of what's sure to be a partisan pro-Paulie crowd.

"He could bring his siblings in the ring with him it's not going to help him," Broner said. "What I have to say is you know he needs to like stop all the cussing and all the other stuff he's doing because at the end of the day he really has a nine to five, and I really want him to keep his job on SHOWTIME.  Because after [Saturday night], boxing is really not going to be the biggest job he has."

Unlike other sports, where pre-event chatter often dissolves into nothingness, boxing provides an arena for two sportsman to literally go mano-a-mano and settle their perceived differences.

And if all else fails, they both walk away with a nice check at the end of the night, not only for their grueling minutes inside the ring, but all the noise they make on their way to it.

"It doesn't really matter," Malignaggi said of all the pre-fight bravado. "I don't really care.  I don't box to make friends.  I box to make money."

June 19, 2013 - 1:00pm


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