Saturday 22 June 2013: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Malignaggi vs. Broner fight poster
Malignaggi vs. Broner fight poster

Television: Showtime (USA), BoxNation (UK), RPC Channel 4 (Panama), Main Event (Australia), Super Channel (Canada)
Time: 9:00PM ET / 6:00PM PT

WBA World welterweight title
12 Rounds

Paul Malignaggi 32(7)-4 vs. Adrien Broner 26(22)-0

The lead up to this fight has had some sensational trash-talking — with Malignaggi getting the better of it. But next week, the time for talking will be over.

Malignaggi is both overrated and underrated. He’s overrated in the sense of name value. At the biggest stages, he’s come up short. He’s lost to Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Juan Diaz, and Amir Khan. Yet, each time he’s lost he’s shown grit and determination. Malignaggi’s chin has been tested — and it’s been found sturdy.

Which is one reason Malignaggi’s also underrated. Say what you will about his punching power — and many people say he has no power — the man wins titles. He once held the IBF title at light welterweight, and now holds the WBA title at welterweight.

In addition to his chin, part of what makes Malignaggi so effective is his fine mastery of distance. Malignaggi knows how to hit and not get hit. Utilizing footwork and head movement, Malignaggi strikes at his opponents with combos, then makes them miss.

Broner for, his part, is the favourite. It’s hard not to be excited for what he brings to the table. Sporting an 85% KO ratio, Broner is an exciting offensive-minded fighter with a killer instinct.

Many have taken to comparing Broner to Floyd Mayweather Jr., but that is a mistake. Mayweather is a defensive virtuoso who takes no chances, then dismantles his opponents whenever they make a mistake. Broner, on the other hand, has defensive skills but being defense-first is not in his nature. He looks to end fights early, and towards that end, has no problem walking his opponents down.

Before we go nf proclaiming Broner as the next superstar, we must discuss his very real flaws. In order to generate the power that he does, Broner adopts a wide stance. This leads him open to anyone who can control distance — as was the case when he fought Daniel Ponce De Leon and, more recently, Gavin Rees. So far his power and Philly shell defense have been able carry the day, but some day someone with superior footwork may expose Broner.

I should also mention one other vulnerability Broner has. He’s moving up two weight classes here. After winning titles at 130lbs and 135lbs, he’s taking an enormous risk by moving all the way up to 147lbs. Thus, he’s coming to this fight with no size advantage, and I’m curious to see if he’ll be able carry his power up.

Could Malignaggi win this? If age hasn’t completely caught up with him, maybe. Malignaggi has the discipline to stay on the outside and catch Broner at a distance. However, at age 32, Malignaggi no longer has the legs he once had.

Prediction: Broner by UD.

12 Rounds

Johnathon Banks 29(19)-1-1 vs. Seth Mitchell 25(19)-1-1 II

When Banks is not training world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, he has his own career as a prizefighter.

Other than a TKO loss to Tomasz Adamak when he was a cruiserweight, and a draw to Jason Gavern, Banks has done all right for himself. He has wins over Nicolai Firtha, Saul Montana, Travis Walker, Marcell Zeller, and Javier Mora. On top of that, he’s a former IBO titlist at cruiserweight.

But Banks’ best achievement so far is his stoppage of Seth Mitchell in the 2nd round of their first fight. Mitchell, until that point, was pegged as America’s best hope for a future heavyweight title. But live on HBO, Banks quickly upset Mitchell.

It was a major setback for Mitchell — who quickly went from hyped to exposed. But Mitchell here can make amends should he win the rematch.

Indeed, perhaps it’s too early to say Mitchell’s no longer a contender. After all, he’s already beaten Chazz Witherspoon, Timur Ibragimov, Hector Ferreyro, Evans Quinn, and Taurus Sykes. These are all respectable journeymen so it should be acknowledged that Mitchell is a heavyweight talent.

Maybe the best weapon in Mitchell’s arsenal is his power. He has a 70% KO ratio. Even for a heavyweight, that’s considered good. Still, in his last fight Mitchell showed some major defensive flaws, especially in his inability to clinch.

Prediction: Banks by KO5.

vacant WBC super middleweight title
12 Rounds

Sakio Bika 31(21)-5-2 vs. Marco Antonio Periban 20(13)-0

It’s questionable this should be a title fight. In my opinion, Andre Ward should still be the WBC super middleweight titlist. Neither Bika nor Periban would win should they face off against Ward — so it’s highly questionable that this be a title fight. But it is.

In a recent HBO broadcast, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones Jr. recently derided Bika as a limited player with a homerun punch. Certainly, he has his limits, but to say that Bika lacks talent is unfair. Bika does have skill. 

Against Nikola Sjekloca, which was his last fight, Bika showed his boxing ability. Sjekloca, who was 25(7)-0 at the time, really only had an argument for winning a couple rounds. I, myself, scored every round for Bika.

Bika also has wins against Dyah Davis, Jaidon Codrington, and Donny McCrary. On top of that, he’s won an IBO world title against Peter Manfredo Jr., and avenged a defeat to Sam Soliman. On the other hand, Bika has lost to Andre Ward, Lucian Bute, and Joe Calzaghe. All these fighters, though, are considered elite.

Until now, Periban’s been considered a prospect. He’s beaten some decent journeymen in Samuel Miller, Francisco Sierra, Gerardo Diaz, and Jose Alberto Clavero. He’s also beaten the previously undefeated Jesus Angel Nerio.

Periban, though, has never fought anyone in Bika’s class. In fact, this should be considered a major step up. Should he win, Periban should be considered a top 10 super middleweight. This is a tall order, though.

Prediction: Bika by UD.

Light middleweight
10 Rounds

Julian Williams 12(7)-0-1 vs. Joachim Alcine 33(19)-4-1

This is a superb match-up — a good example of a crossroads fight.

Williams is a prospect who’s riding a 3 fight KO streak. So far, the best win on his record is against Jeremiah Wiggins, but this should be tempered with the fact he drew with Francisco Santana.

Now he’s facing off against a known spoiler in Alcine. Alcine is recently known for upsetting David Lemieux but he’s also a former WBA World light middleweight titlist who won it by defeating the previously undefeated Travis Simms.

Alcine, though, is 37-years-old and is thus getting long in years. In fact, he’s on a 2 fight loss streak — both resulting from KOs. Still, Alcine has a little bit of fight left in him, and may pull off the win.

Prediction: Williams by KO6.

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