The talking never stopped from Adrien Broner. Months of back-and-forth between him and WBA Welterweight Champion, Paulie Malignaggi came to a head as the two faced off for the belt at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Broner won the fight in a split decision over the 12-rounds - one ringside judge had Malignaggi winning 115-113 while Broner was favored 115-113 by a second judge and 117-111 by a third – but failed to knock down the proud Malignaggi.
Broner consistently won round-after-round after Malignaggi came out strong in the early rounds, displaying the sort of quickness and clean punching ability that the fighter he is most often compared to possesses as well: Floyd Mayweather, who was watching from ringside.
Broner capitalized on Malignaggi’s weak punches, seemingly picking his spots to land impressive jabs and body blows that found their target. Through many stages of the fight Broner could be seen shaking his head at Malignaggi and continuing to trash-talk his opponent, often telling him, “You can’t hit me.”
"He couldn't hit me. He couldn't hit me," Broner said after the fight. "He was shadowboxing. He's a world class fighter, To come to somebody's hometown and beat them on a split decision, that's saying something."
Broner remains unbeaten with a record of 27-0 (22 KO’s), while winning his his third title in as many weight classes – he was fighting at 147 pounds for the first time in his career.
Malignaggi, who dropped to 32-5 wasn’t as impressed with Broner’s boxing skills as many in the crowd. In his post-fight interview he said Broner hardly threw any punches. Post-fight stats showed Broner landing 246 of 524 punches while Malignaggi landed 214 of 843
"He worked for about 30 seconds every round," Malignaggi said. "This was a close fight. I don't mind if you had him winning close or me winning close, it was that kind of a fight."
The Italian-American had a large following in his hometown, but still suggested that the fight may have been predetermined.
"I'm not saying it was fixed, but it's always the more connected fighter who gets the decision," Malignaggi said.
In the meantime Broner – despite, or perhaps because of his theatrics – has become one of the biggest drawcards on the boxing schedule. Coupled with his talent, and pugilistic nous, is primed to become the sport’s next big superstar. And he’s only going to get better from here.
Broner said he would let fans decide his next opponent, which would almost certainly mean they would select Floyd Mayweather, Broner’s friend and idol. It’s highly unlikely that would ever happen, but will break records if it ever comes to fruition.