RingTV.com caught up to Mike Stafford, trainer of Adrien “The Problem” Broner, for his thoughts on Broner’s Showtime-televised split-decision victory over Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi to win the WBA welterweight belt on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Malignaggi’s native Brooklyn.
Although Broner (27-0, 22 knockouts) failed to earn his seventh straight stoppage win against Malignaggi (32-5, 7 KOs), he did manage to end the 32-year-old fighter’s five-bout winning streak after rising two weight classes from lightweight.
In addition, Broner’s win over Malignaggi made him a three-division titlewinner, having earned his first belt — the WBO’s junior lightweight — by third-round knockout over Vicente Martin Rodriguez in November of 2011.
During an earlier interview with RingTV.com, Stafford indicated that, in victory over Malignaggi, he would like to see Broner face the winner of a scheduled Sept. 14 clash between unbeaten WBO 147-pound titleholder Tim Bradley and four-division beltholder Juan Manuel Marquez.
In March, Bradley rose from a 12th-round knockdown for a close unanimous decision victory over Ruslan Provodnikov in defense of the title he won by disputed split-decision over Manny Pacquiao last June. Marquez is coming off a sixth-round knockout of Pacquiao last December.
Stafford realizes that his wishes for Broner are a longshot given that Broner is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and advised by Al Haymon, who are bitter rivals to Top Rank, the promoters of Bradley, Marquez and Pacquiao.
But another potential opponent for Broner, who is 23, might be hard-punching Marcos Maidana (34-3, 31 KOs), who, like Broner, is promoted by Golden Boy. Maidana’s is coming off a sixth-round knockout of Josesito Lopez on June 8 which represented his third straight stoppage win since falling by unanimous decision to current IBF welterweight beltholder Devon Alexander in Maidana’s 147-pound debut in February of last year.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on the Malignaggi fight?
Mike Stafford: Paulie Malignaggi is a great champion. He did what he had to do to survive and Adrien did what he had to do to win. We had to adjust and couldn’t go out there and just start ripping and fighting instead of being smart.
That way, Paulie would have countered and we would have been counter-punched. But we elected to be the counter-puncher, and that’s the whole story right there.
We knew that when Paulie was going to give us that right hand all night long. We knew that. So we took what we could, and that’s what we trained for: the right hand. And we knew that, eventually, that we would add the body shots. But basically, we trained for throwing the right hand. The right hand leads and the straight right hands.
RingTV.com: Was it by design that, midway through the fight, you began throwing the body shots?
MS: I told him that it was time to go to the body because we knew that Paulie was kind gassing out a little bit. I mean, for a fight like this, you have to be in tremendous shape, and we knew that Paulie would be.
But you can’t fight all night like that against Adrien’s pressure for 12 rounds. I mean, Adrien wasn’t even breathing hard. But we were cutting him off and kept on cutting him off in the ring.
Paulie’s legs started to go. I mean, he still had his slickness, but we started to cutting it down a lot more from corner-to-corner and he was running out of places to hide and had nowhere to go.
So that’s when we started to go more to the body and slowing him up. Then, that made a difference. When he started to try to go to our body, that was because he couldn’t land to the face.
RingTV.com: On a scale of 1-to-10, how would you rate yourself as a trainer, and Adrien, as a fighter, against Malignaggi?
MS: I would say a 10 because I saw that Adrien saw the shots and he didn’t take no risky chances and I, myself, the only thing that I told him to do was to basically keep the pressure on.
With the pressure, that meant that Adrien would be able to continue countering and things like that, so the only thing was I told him to pick your shots.
We knew, going in, that Paulie would hold and try not to get knocked out. We knew that he was a good defensive fighter. The s__t that he was doing, holding and trying to break Adrien’s pattern, it was a master plan by him, for real.
RingTV.com: What did Adrien gain from this fight?
MS: I think Adrien gained a lot. I told everybody that he really, really grew up that night. He showed everybody that he could go 12, hard rounds and that he could make a full-fledged welterweight look like a lightweight.
The way that he was moving Paulie around when everybody was wondering whether or not Adrien would be strong enough for the weight class, I think that he proved something to everybody.
Some people may say that he didn’t knock Paulie out, but he made Paulie get on his horse and made him back up. People thought that, the way Paulie was talking, that he was going to whup Adrien’s ass.
They may have thought that it should have been reversed and that Paulie should have been chasing Adrien around the ring. But it was a reverse situation by Adrien, making Paulie run more than ever.
I mean, he was literally running when he found out that he couldn’t hit Adrien, and that the shots weren’t affecting Adrien at all. That’s why he got out of there.
RingTV.com: Will you be discussing whether or not Adrien remains at 147 or drops to 140?
MS: Well, it depends on who is there and what the situation is, but it doesn’t matter. He’s just 23 years old, and the way that he worked, he learned to adjust to a fighter in the ring.
So at this point, Adrien can still adjust to the weights just like he did in this fight. When’s he 30 or 40, that might be different. But right now, it doesn’t matter.
RingTV.com: What are your thoughts on a fight with Maidana?
MS: I would love to fight Maidana. I would love to.
RingTV.com: Being close with Devon Alexander’s trainer, Kevin Cunningham, what did you see in Alexander’s fight with Maidana that you could pick up on?
MS: Boxing, boxing. We could just box him the way that Devon did and, eventually, take care of business, you know? Whether it be going 12 or shorter. But I don’t think that it goes the distance.
Maidana, he leans in a lot and takes a lot of chances, so, where Paulie’s got one of the best slip-games in the business, Maidana isn’t like that. Devon had his coming out party at 147 against Maidana.
RingTV.com: Who wins Mayweather-Alvarez?
MS: Oh, Floyd. Floyd, no question. Floyd is going to win just like he did against Robert Guerrero. He’s just too slick, too smart, too fast, and the kid, Canelo, he’s young.
He’s just 22 years old. Too young. He’s just too young and he won’t be able to withstand what Floyd Mayweather’s going to put on him.
RingTV.com: Who wins Marquez-Bradley?
MS: That’s going to be a tough fight, but I’m going to go with Marquez because he’s more of a technician and Bradley’s never fought a technician like that before. It’s going to be an ugly fight.
I think that they’re going to be knocking each other down and stuff, but I think that being that Marquez is a technician, that he’ll come out on top.
RingTV.com: How does a fight go between Adrien and Marquez and Adrien and Bradley?
MS: Adrien wins both of those fights. Marquez, we would probably have to fight more of a technical boxing match and we would win a decision or probably stop him.
But Marquez has so much heart, that we would have to be careful. We would have to be smart. Adrien wants to be around for years, so when you go out and try to bang with these guys, that’s when trouble comes.
By the time we would fight Bradley, he would have been in the war with Marquez and he’ll be too beat up. We would go straight down the middle. We would probably end up stopping him.
Photos / Naoki Fukuda