To be candid, I am not the best person to analyze the Saturday clash between WBA welterweight champ Paul Malignaggi and coming-up-from-lightweight Adrien Broner at Barclays Center. I have known Paulie since he debuted as a pro in 2001, and consider myself an acquaintance. So I am likely not operating with a full tank of objectivity in assessing this clash.
That said, I'm not going to tell you I think Paulie will win. I think too much of Broner's arsenal to say that. But I stick to what I've been saying all along, that Malignaggi deserves more respect than many fans, "experts" and even oddsmakers are offering him. You might see his KO ratio and snicker, but his heart and desire to compete and win will be most salient factors come fight night. However, I would not say a Malignaggi win would be upset of the year, let's put it that way.
I will, however, need to see how his legs look early on. He's 32 going on 33, and may not have the spring he used to, may not have the ability to move and slide and use his legs to help him be a commanding ring general. I thought he could have, and perhaps should have, used them more in his last fight, against Pablo Cano. Maybe that wasn't in the game plan, or maybe some of his mobility has been lost along the way.
I asked Malignaggi during a Tuesday workout at Gleason's about his legs, and if they are still fully functional.
"Yeah, my legs feel good, I had a good camp, you'll see Saturday night," he answered. "It's part of the plan, it's one of the main things. Because he's such a small guy, we are going to in spots stand in front of him, and show him just how weak he is. His power is overrated, I coulda knocked out twenty garbage men too, but I chose to fight real opponents."
One thing we do know, that mouth is still fully functional.