COMMENTARY | Late Saturday night it was announced that WBC lightweight champ, Adrien Broner, would be moving up two full weight classes to take on defending WBA welterweight titlist, Paulie Malignaggi on June 22.
Despite the headlines it has generated so far, Broner-Malignaggi makes no boxing sense whatsoever and, actually, stands in the way of several better fights that could (and should) be taking place with both boxers.
The worst part of the whole deal is that the 23-year-old Broner would be skipping right over the jam-packed and infinitely interesting junior welterweight class. Rather than work his way up to super-stardom against the likes of Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Lucas Matthysse, Amir Khan, or even Zab Judah, Broner has opted for the path of least resistance in moving straight to the significantly less top-heavy welterweight division.
Moving back down to 140 lbs. after the Malignaggi bout is a possibility, but a rare one given the fact that main stage fighter rarely move down in weight as they get older. Broner might also be able to fight some of these guys if they make the move up in weight, but something will be lost in any such fight's significance. There's no substitute for taking legacy-defining bouts when they make sense and in the division where they make the most sense.
Broner, as a young fighter making his name and establishing his legacy, has opted to bypass everyone worth fighting in the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions. And he has made that leap of faith for no good reason. The ill will and bad public relations generated by blatantly skipping out on his toughest challenges would only make sense if there was a huge reward on the other end of that leap.
Instead, he will face Paulie Malignaggi, a paper champion holding a worthless title.
If Broner beats the haircare product out of Paulie, he'll get little credit for doing so. Malignaggi has been pummeled by every elite-level fighter he has ever faced and only recently escaped with his belt via "fortunate" decision against unheralded junior welter, Pablo Cesar Cano.
If Broner loses, however, any sort of run at superstar status is off the books. Superstars don't lose to Paulie Malignaggi-- even if they are coming up two weight classes to do it. In other words, Broner-Malignaggi could be considered a lose-lose for Broner.
Team Broner's basic logic behind making the bout is sound enough-- It's going to be a nice payday for what should be an easy fight. It will also ease some of the weight-making burden from Broner, who walks around as a junior middleweight and has had some weight issues in the past.
But 23-year-old fighters with pound-for-pound ability and superstar potential don't take such a cynical path so early in their careers. This apparent career path could test the boundaries of modern marketing. Can a fighter become a superstar without ever paying his dues or going through a series of legacy-defining fights? Can a fighter become a superstar just because he's supposed to be a superstar?
As for Malignaggi, he's likely giddy over this idea. The feather-fisted Brooklyn native is currently Golden Boy's Thanksgiving turkey, kept in the back yard and fattened up, all with the understanding that he will be fed to the next fighter the promotional company wants as WBA champ. A Broner fight would bring in a bigger payday than just about anyone else in the weight range (except for guys like Mayweather and Pacquiao) and would also offer him the slightest sliver of a chance at an upset. And even if Paulie does get battered and beaten, Broner could very well vacate the belt right after he wins it and allow for the former junior welterweight titlist to once again sneak in through the back door to reclaim the title.
By fight time, good promotion may actually turn this silly and ill-conceived bout into a well-received HBO main event. It should be pointed out, though, that Broner-Malignaggi means we may never see Broner-Garcia or Broner-Matthysse. It means that we may be robbed of seeing at least a half-dozen awesome potential match-ups for one of boxing's brightest young stars in favor of one big meaningless exhibition.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.Source:
Scott Christ, Adrien Broner vs Paulie Malignaggi set for June 22 at Barclays Center, Badlefthook.com
- Sports & Recreation
- Paulie Malignaggi
- Adrien Broner