Fight night couldn't come soon enough for Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi. Actually meeting Adrien "The Problem" Broner in the ring on Saturday night will be a relief.
Malignaggi has very little chance of defeating Broner and he's in serious danger of losing his WBA welterweight title. But at the very least, the over-the-top pre-fight war of words should come to an end.
Trash talk is a major part of boxing. The tradition helps to sell tickets, but every once in a while the practice becomes bizarre, juvenile and tasteless—even by boxing's pleasantly skewed standards.
Malignaggi and Broner's barbs passed bizarre and tasteless when Broner decided to involve a young lady who apparently has some history with Malignaggi. In this interview from Fight Hype, Broner phones the young lady during the pre-fight press conference and puts her on speakerphone.
Broner jokes about domestic abuse and ties it into an insult of Malignaggi's limited punching power.
In the video below, this same young lady has joined Broner's entourage and is apparently accompanying him to the weigh-in.
Though Malignaggi has been known as a trash talker and colorful personality throughout his career, these tactics have apparently gotten under his skin. Per Bob Velin of USA Today, Malignaggi said this of Broner's choice to involve the young lady.
It caught me off guard. Literally within a couple weeks of (getting her out of my life) I find myself at this press conference and this guy's got her on the phone and trying to rub it in.
It took me a few months to push this person out of my life, and for him to bring it back to this extent, I don't know if he thought it was some kind of joke, some kind of game, but it was really serious.
Most times pre-fight talk is fun and entertaining. It is hard to describe what elements take this boxing ritual into Creepytown, but, without a doubt, you know when you've arrived.
In this situation, Malignaggi is like Tommy Lee Jones character from the movie No Country For Old Men, Ed Tom Bell. At 33 years old he isn't ancient, but with his gig as an analyst for Showtime Boxing, he's cleaned up his image and disposition quite a bit.
Much like the killer in the most excellent film, Anton Chigurh, Broner is a different breed in the sense that he will not obey the unwritten rules of trash talk, much like Chigurh didn't seem to subscribe to any of the criminal rules Bell was accustomed to.
While Malignaggi may have thought Broner's tactics were out of bounds, the concept simply doesn't seem to exist for the challenger.
The Magic Man may not fade away like Bell did, but there is no doubt he'll be happy when he doesn't have to deal with The Problem any more.
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