Broner edges out Malignaggi to win WBA title
Adrien Broner (27-0) became a world champion at a third different weight after securing a split decision victory over Paulie Malignaggi (32-5) to win the WBA welterweight title on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The Judges scored it 115-113, 117-113 for Broner, and 115-113 for Malignaggi.
Broner, who had never gone beyond 10 rounds before, was stepping up two weight divisions from lightweight to take on Malignaggi in his home city.
Broner did not look good at all in this fight though, as he didn't throw enough punches. It appeared that he was just hoping to land a big shot that would hurt Paulie.
In the opening round it was Broner who was on target first with two stiff lefts that reddened the champion's face. Malignaggi stayed busy until the bell but most of his shots landed on his foe's arms.
Broner began to stalk in the 2nd round, leaving him open for incoming fire, but the fire coming in wasn't bothering him. Malignaggi wasn't shying away from exchanges, sending in overhand rights and going to the body. Broner's response came in the form of trash talking and a couple of rights of his own. Things got ugly when the two tied up and Broner kneed the New Yorker, drawing a stern warning from referee Benjy Esteves.
Broner tagged Malignaggi hard in the opening minute of the 3rd, but the champion shook the shots off and showboated before coming off the ropes and getting busy with another body attack. However, the harder and more accurate punches came from Broner, giving him the session.
Malignaggi continued to set a fast pace in the 4th, throwing punches in bunches that were point scorers, even if not intended to end the fight. Broner, on the other hand, was looking for a finisher.
In round five, Broner was on target with both hands, sending sweat flying from Malignaggi's head as the crowd tried to rally their hero. And it worked as Malignaggi fired back in the final minute of the round and again made Broner lose his cool, as the Cincinnati native teed off with an elbow. It was the challenger with the last word though, with a big right hand just before the bell.
Broner did take control of the fight in rounds 6-9, but Malignaggi outworked Broner in the 10th, bringing the crowd back into the fight, and he stayed busy in the last couple of rounds even though the harder, flush blows were delivered by Broner, who picked up another title to his collection, but not without getting a fight in the process.
"It's a tremendous accomplishment," said Broner. "Whos doing it like me in this game? Nobody."
"Paulie fought exactly how I thought he was going to fight," added Broner. "Once he saw my power, he got on his bicycle and I had to cut him off the whole fight. I didn't need to use my footwork. He ran. All I had to do was cut off the ring. He couldn't hit me. He was shadow boxing."
Malignaggi, who was making the second defence of the belt he won just over a year ago, was incencesed by the decision, saying as the champion he should of been given the nod following a close contest.
"That was disgraceful. This was a close fight," said Malignaggi.
"The fight could have gone either way. I don't think he did enough to take the belt from the champion. I thought I worked him. He was sharp with his shots, but he wasn't busy. I'm not saying it was fixed, but the politically more connected fighter always gets the close decisions."
On the undercard, Seith Mitchell (26-1-1) got his revenge over Jonathon Banks(29-2-1) with a UD over 12 rounds, but looked so unimpressive that all talk of him being America's heavyweight hope is surely now a thing of the past. Mitchell desperately needed a dominant performance to erase the memory of the 2nd round TKO defeat to Banks in November. What we got instead was a methodical and drab affair.
In the 2nd round a punch to the back of the head dropped Banks. It was called an official knockdown by referee Mike Ortega. Outside of that disputed call, Mitchell never came close to flooring his much smaller opponent. And again Mitchell's chin looked less than solid when Banks connected. In round three a looping right to the ear had Mitchell tottering. Fortunately for the big man he was saved by the bell. A tired Mitchell raised his arms upright at the final bell. There was no doubt he had won, receiving scores of 115-112, 117-109 and 114-112.
Sakio Bika (32-5-2) became a world champion on his fourth attempt, defeating Marco Antonio Periban (20-1) by majority decision for the vacant WBC super middleweight title.
Bika was cut on the forehead in the 3rd round from an accidental butt and then again in the 8th. He tried to overpower his opponent, who had not previously tasted defeat. Bika fired away with overhand rights whenever he got into punching range.
Bika won the title with scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 114-114.