LAS VEGAS – The vitriol was hot and heavy at Saturday morning’s press conference to officially announce the June 22 welterweight title match between Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Malignaggi, a native of Brooklyn, walked into the MGM media center wearing a T-shirt depicting Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Broner as Dr. Evil and Mini-Me from the Austin Powers films.
The 23-year-old Cincinnati native walked in with his entourage in tow (ten in all from his rap group “Band Camp”), all wearing shirts with the slogan “Hey Paulette.”
Once both camps got to the podium to discuss the Showtime Championship Boxing event, the festivities got out of hand.
Broner, who will be jumping up from 135 to 147, took a shot at Malignaggi’s lack of power, saying “I call him the one-hand bandit; he’s never thrown a right hand before. He’s got a helluva jab.
“I take him serious but he’s a clown. He’s going to come in with a lot of colors and big feet and colored hair, and I’m going to punch his nose red so he can fill out the outfit.”
Malignaggi (32-4, 7 knockouts) countered, telling Broner that he’s fought handpicked opponents, carefully chosen by powerful advisor Al Haymon. He said that Broner has never fought anyone like him and was basically handed his two belts, saying, “Guys like him in the gym are a dime-a-dozen.”
Malignaggi, 32, then told Broner to “get his [own] shtick,” referring to the belief Broner tries to be like Mayweather.
“He acts like him, he walks like him, he breathes like him,” Malignaggi said. “Hopefully I can beat some personality into him so he gets his own personality. Then we’ll know the real Adrien Broner. [He’s] a sissy dog.”
Broner (26-0, 22 knockouts) made tasteless jokes and Malignaggi didn’t take the high road, firing back with an expletive-laden tirade. But was this personal, or was it just two fighters doing their best to promote a fight?
“Personal? Honestly, he’s a friend of mine,” said Broner. “It’s just that this is a fight. I’m dead serious about the fight, now.”
“If it popped off right now, I would slap the s–t out of him, probably, but at the end of the day, you know, friends fight. I’ll take him out to eat to get dinner. I won’t get him a hot steak, I’ll get him a cold steak for his eye.”
Malignaggi seemed less certain about whether the trash talk has gone too far.
“We were cool before this, but again, he made it personal last week,” said Malignaggi. “I was working for Showtime, dude. And when I’m working for Showtime, you don’t come up to me in my work place and try to chump me, you know what I mean? You want to do that for promotional events, then, you know, that’s fine. We can promote the fight.
“But when you take it outside of the promotional events and you try to make it personal, I’m not about that. I’ll smack the s–t out of him in a second. As a matter of fact, he’s lucky I didn’t smack the s–t out of him last week because I was working. I don’t argue that much. When we’re face to face and we argue, I start smacking people.”
Video: Daniel Morales and Dominic Verdin
Lem Satterfield contributed to this report.
Follow Mike Coppinger on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger