Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner have made the hype period for their June 22 fight into quite a spectacle, and they'll keep talking for the next month (at least, who knows what happens after?). Malignaggi tells David P. Greisman of BoxingScene.com that he doesn't see Broner's ability really being his biggest strength, and that he's been able to look good because he's had it easy:
"II think the puzzle of Adrien Broner was him fighting the bums he's been fighting. I don't know that ‘The Problem' was so much the power as it was the lack of high-level competition he was fighting. When you get to fight ESPN-level opponents on HBO, it's easy to look good."
Broner (26-0, 22 KO) has been often criticized for fighting weak foes, though his win over Antonio DeMarco last year was a full-credit performance. The question becomes, I suppose: Is Antonio DeMarco a better fighter than Paulie Malignaggi? With Malignaggi having struggled his last time out, it's easy to say yes. But DeMarco has struggled against fighters on a similar level as Pablo Cesar Cano, himself. It's not like DeMarco was steamrolling 135.
And that's not to say that the DeMarco win wasn't a good one. Again, it was a very good win, and Broner looked great that night. But he's moving up in weight, and Paulie is at worst, I believe, on par with DeMarco and Daniel Ponce De Leon, the two best fighters Broner has beaten, and the Ponce decision was a bit controversial anyway.
Does anyone see Paulie being underestimated, or perhaps Broner being given too much credit heading into this fight? Could Adrien get a bit of an eye-opener against a bigger, tougher, more talented opponent than he's generally faced?