The Entire Package

By Gordon Marino on June 18, 2013
The Entire Package
The combatants have repeatedly demonstrated a heavyweight antipathy for one another.


WBC lightweight world champion Adrien Broner (26-0, 22 KOs) is on everyone’s top-10 list of best pugilists on the planet. On Saturday at the Barclays Center, Broner will leapfrog two weight divisions and try to wrest the WBA welterweight crown (147 pounds) from Brooklyn’s Paulie Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs).

Broner, who campaigns in a style that closely resembles that of Floyd Mayweather, has speed, pop and a tight defense. “I’ve been watching this kid,” Sugar Ray Leonard recently said. “He is one of those rare fighters who has the entire package.”

“The Problem”

Broner is a master at carefully closing the distance in the ring. Once in range, he whips one of the most punishing right uppercuts in the gloved game. Known as “the Problem,” the 23-year-old Cincinnati native also causes problems for his foes with short and explosive left hooks.

Though Broner tires of the comparisons, here is one anyway. “Mayweather is a defensive-minded fighter with an exceptional offense,” legendary trainer Naazim Richardson said. “Broner is an offensive-minded fighter with a great defense.”

The Opposition

Reminiscent of Hall of Famer Maxie Rosenbloom, who notched 222 victories with only 19 KOs, Malignaggi might hold the belt for the lightest-punching titleholder in the world. Less than a quarter of his victories have come by knockout.

That said, the fact that he is able to win big fights with so little power is a testimony to his extraordinary boxing ability.

At age 32, Malignaggi remains highly elusive. He boasts terrific lateral movement, a durable chin and a highly effective left jab.

In the run-up to this clash, the combatants have demonstrated a heavyweight antipathy for one another. Malignaggi is dismissive of the Broner fanfare. “He’s a little guy,” said Malignaggi, “and he’s going to see how overrated his power was.”

Malignaggi, nicknamed the “Magic Man,” is a commentator for Showtime, which will be telecasting the bout. Last week, Broner sneered that after the fight, “Malignaggi will have to be at work with glasses on and I don’t know how good that will be for his career.”

A professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, Gordon Marino writes on boxing for the Wall Street Journal. He is on the board and works with boxers at the Circle of Discipline in Minneapolis, as well as at the Basement Gym in Northfield, MN. You can follow him on Twitter at @GordonMarino.

Special thanks to the Wall Street Journal

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  1. Mike Casey 08:09am, 06/20/2013

    I hear that both gentlemen will be hosting a pre-fight seminar on Humility. Who speaks first will be decided by which one of them can observe a minute’s silence for more than five seconds.

  2. Don from Prov 06:38am, 06/20/2013

    Good Lord, I pray that Bronehead doesn’t become a fighter I have to admire

  3. Pete The Sneak 04:38am, 06/20/2013

    Toro, we prefer the term “Photogenically Challenged.” Peace.

  4. Thresher 02:53pm, 06/19/2013

    You know, Paulie no trip to Hollywood, but Broner is truly one ugly dude!

  5. Ted 02:52pm, 06/19/2013

    Hmm. what we have here is an orgy of agreement.

  6. Michael Hegan 02:39pm, 06/19/2013

    Geez….is Paulie Malignaggi still fighting….????  Seen him in the commentator’s chair more than in the ring….lately….*cupla three years)

  7. Clarence George 12:38pm, 06/19/2013

    I’m in complete agreement, Pete.  I think that’s exactly how it’s going to play out.  And I do indeed think that Paulie wants to “cash out” and become a full-time commentator for Showtime.  And, hey, why not?

  8. Clarence George 12:30pm, 06/19/2013

    Ted:  I think Malignaggi is the better boxer, if only somewhat, but that won’t be enough to save him, given the combination of Broner’s own skill and hitting power.  What Malignaggi has most going for him is Broner’s coming up in weight, but even that won’t do it.  He can’t hurt Broner, but Broner can and will hurt him.  I see Broner winning by late-round stoppage, probably by TKO in the 10th.

    I don’t quite see this as the litmus test you do, but I’m pretty much in agreement in where to rank Broner—14 or 15.

  9. Pete The Sneak 12:26pm, 06/19/2013

    I also don’t include ‘The Problem’ in my top 10 List. That will take some doing. As for Paulie taking the fight, well he’s gone on record saying that he is ready to cash out. Still, Broner is going to smoke the feather fisted Paulie into oblivion. The Brooklyn crowd will be lively and Paulie will have that adrenalin flowing and look good; even winng a couple of rounds early. But Broner will look to cut off the ring as he progresses and will be connecting with some serious right hands that will eventually lead to a corner ending stoppage of Paulie in the late rounds. Peace.

  10. Ted 12:05pm, 06/19/2013

    Right now, I have him around #12 or #13

  11. Ted 11:59am, 06/19/2013

    Clarence, How can he be “better” than Broner but lose to Broner?

    This is the litmus test for Broner IMO. If he beats up Paulie like Hatton and Khan did, I think he moves comfortably up in the P4P rankings. But it must be a convincing beat down.

  12. Clarence George 09:30am, 06/19/2013

    I don’t want Gordon writing a strongly worded letter of complaint to my brother, who can be quite tiresome on occasion, so first let me say that I’m impressed by both the writing and the analysis, both of which I find very…clean.

    But I, too, don’t have Broner on my top 10 list.  He’s good, but overrated. He’s also a guttersnipe, and he once wore pink gloves.  Pink gloves!

    As for Malignaggi…true, he’s as feather-fisted as Rosenbloom, but he doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as Maxie.  And, while I don’t think his ability is “extraordinary,” he’s better than Broner.  Which is not to say he’ll win.  He won’t.  In fact, I think he was very foolish to take this fight.

  13. Mike Schmidt 05:29am, 06/19/2013

    Nice write up. Top Ten—HELL NO—not on Boxing.com top ten and sure not on mine. Who has he beaten to merit that elevation? He has the makings of something special but let’s hold off on the top ten list for the moment. There is a little man with a big punch down Nicaragua way Roman “El Chocolatito” and a host of others just below that merit over this so far hype job—win or lose this weekend—still does not prove much—get him with the young Lions—Lucas M., Gamboa or if he is campaigning at welter, there is a host of guys. Until then lets not get tooooo carried away.

  14. Thresher 05:01am, 06/19/2013

    But nicely written article

  15. Thresher 05:00am, 06/19/2013

    Gordon, with all due respect and humility, I must disagree that Malignaggi “remains highly elusive. He boasts terrific lateral movement.”

    I believe he has become a stationary target that will allow the Problem to slice and dice him like he was on display at a butcher shop. Against Cano, Paulie looked very vulnerable. An aging Hatton and a suspect Khan had their way with him. Broner is no Hatton or Khan. Once he opens up with his own hand speed, Paulie may well be looking for a pair of glasses to hide the damage.

    Paulie’s chin is not granite. His fists are brittle. He has slowed considerably. He is ripe for a blowout.

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