Adrien Broner was the bigger talker and the bigger puncher Saturday night, scoring enough hard blows to beat hometown hero Paulie Malignaggi in a 12-round split decision and take Malignaggi's welterweight title.
Fighting for the first time at 147 pounds after moving up from lightweight, Broner had enough power to overcome a gritty fight by Malignaggi and remain unbeaten in 27 fights. He won his third title in as many weight classes while cementing his reputation as one of the rising stars in boxing.
With Floyd Mayweather Jr. watching from ringside, Broner talked throughout the fight to Malignaggi, who was plenty game but wasn't able to keep Broner off of him. Broner was unable to knock Malignaggi down, but won round after round to take the decision in the fight at Barclays Center.
Broner had talked plenty before the fight, too, promising to knock Malignaggi out. He wasn't able to do that, but scored enough with lead right hands and left hooks to dominate the fight from the middle rounds on.
Despite that, one ringside judge had Malignaggi winning 115-113 while Broner was favored 115-113 by a second judge and 117-111 by a third. The Associated Press had Broner winning 117-111.
"He's a world class fighter," Broner said. "To come to somebody's hometown and beat them on a split decision, that's saying something."
Malignaggi did plenty of trash talking before the fight himself, and taunted Broner several times during the fight. But while he landed a lot of punches, none of them seemed to have much effect on Broner, who kept pressing the attack throughout the bout.
"He couldn't hit me. He couldn't hit me," Broner said. "He was shadowboxing."