American youngster Adrien Broner (27-0, 22) successfully leaped from Lightweight to Welterweight and claimed the WBA title from Paulie Malignaggi (32-5, 7) in a thoroughly competitive bout that defied the odds from the start to the end.
The defending champion started well with his work rate clearly taking him the first 2 rounds with out any issue at all, in fact the only issue was whether or not Broner should have been deducted a point for a flagrant low blow. Broner started incredibly slowly and appeared to looking to scout Malignaggi and it wasn't until round 3 that the highly touted youngster finally let his hands go and made a case for winning a round.
Having seen Broner move up a gear in round 3 Malignaggi came out for 4 to try and prove that he was still the champion and appeared to claim another round as Broner took the first minute off. In fact by the end of round 4 it was obvious that Broner wasn't so much an "elite boxer" than a boxer "with elite athletic abilities". Broner was looking one dimensional, technically limited and incredibly lazy in the ring despite having a huge power edge and incredibly fast hands. For those declaring Broner the next Mayweather questions need to be asked about what they were watching.
Broner picked up the pace in rounds 5 and 6 and despite landing an elbow at the end of round 5 he did look like a fighter who had the ability to move up the gears if he needed to. Going in to round 7 Broner looked like he was going to slowly break down Malignaggi but the local fighter showed off his toughness and landed his share of shots in round 7 that could well have gone either way.
In round 8 a pocket of fans did start what felt like a forced "Adrien Broner" chant though Malignaggi did actually have an excellent round that he may well stole with his flurries and activity whilst Broner,
Broner opened up again in round 9 as he really tested the chin of Malignaggi who showed his trademark toughness and fired back every time he as caught. It was a sure sign that Malignaggi wasn't going to be intimidated by the younger, stronger man who at one point appeared to be slowing and not as lightning quick with his hands as he had been earlier.
The final 3 rounds seemed to all belong to Broner as Malignaggi's work rate had slowed dramatically. Instead of the regular flurries and movement we had seen earlier from Paulie he was happy to try and smother Broner and fight closer up. This appeared to stop Broner from getting the leverage on his shots that he needed and gave Maliganaggi a chance to catch his breath.
Sadly it was probably in those final 3 rounds that Malignaggi failed to do enough to claim the rounds he needed for a victory with the result being a highly unexpected split decision in favour of Broner.
In the post fight interview with Jim Grey of Showtime Malignaggi made it very obvious what he thought of the outlandish scorecard of Tom Schreck who had the bout 117-111 in favour of Broner. Questions do need to be asked about what Schreck was seeing, though if the words of Malignaggi are to be believed, he's in Al Haymon's pocket.
One thing we learned from this bout is that Broner is certainly a long, long way from being as good as he thinks he is.