NEW YORK – Adrien Broner spent months talking about what he'd do to Paulie Malignaggi when they finally met in the ring. On Saturday, he got his chance and backed up his words with a superlative effort.
But it was after the fight that the real theatrics began. Broner made it clear that he wasn't injured by Malignaggi, and then delivered another kind of blow.
"I'm good," Broner said. "I lifted his belt and his girl."
That dig was a play on a pre-fight stunt Broner pulled in which he said he stole Malignaggi's girlfriend. That infuriated Malignaggi, who repeatedly screamed 'Don't talk about stealing my side piece … that's my side piece [reportedly referring to a woman Malignaggi dated]' and tried to jump in Broner's face before being yanked away.
Malignaggi was angered by the split-decision loss.
"I'm not saying it was fixed, but it's always the most connected fighters who get the decisions," Malignaggi said.
Broner was too fast, too strong and far too accurate with his punches in his welterweight debut for Malignaggi to contend with in front of a crowd of 11,461 at the Barclays Center in Malignaggi's home borough of Brooklyn. Only Malignaggi's legendary heart kept him in the fight. But he had to listen to Broner keep up the trash talk as the fight went on. During the fight, he repeatedly told Malignaggi, "You can't hit me."
Broner captured the WBA welterweight title from Malignaggi. Judge Tom Miller scored it 115-113 for Malignaggi, but he was overruled by Tom Schreck (117-111) and Glenn Feldman (115-113), who had it for Broner.
Broner, only 23, moved up from lightweight to capture the welterweight belt.
He said he would retire if he didn't get an immediate rematch.
"I thought I out threw him, outworked him," Malignaggi said. "When it came down to it, it was about work ethic. He's a good intelligent fighter, but my pace carried the victory. I'm the defending champion. I don't think he did enough to win."
Broner essentially gave away the first three or four rounds, putting little effort into his offense and allowing Malignaggi to pepper him. Broner would take the blows, smile, shake his head no and talk to Malignaggi.
When he decided to pen it up in the fifth round, it was essentially all over. He began landing his right hand regularly, snapping Malignaggi's head like a punching bag. At one point when they were fighting on the inside, Broner wound up with his back to Malignaggi and threw a punch over the top of his head.
He got a warning for that from referee Benjy Esteves, and got another one earlier when he threw a knee when they were in the clinch. But other than that, it was a quality performance by one of the fast-rising stars in boxing.
With his idol, Floyd Mayweather Jr., seated at ringside, Broner put on a show for the crowd that included a bevy of celebrities. While he showed some flaws, Broner was good enough to win going away from a guy who had trained very hard and was determined to win in his hometown.
The only thing Broner didn't get was the knockout, but that wasn't too bad for a guy who had jumped up two weight classes.
Broner landed 32 more punches, 246-214, while throwing fewer, according to CompuBox statistics.