Paulie Malignaggi inspired supportive chants with a game effort on his home turf Saturday night at Barclays Center, but Adrien Broner successfully jumped up from lightweight to seize Malignaggi's WBA welterweight crown by a split decision.
Judge Tom Miller scored it for Malignaggi (32-5, seven KOs), the volume puncher, 115-113. But Glenn Feldmann (115-113) and Tom Schreck (117-111) scored it for Broner (27-0, 22 KOs). Newsday gave Broner a 117-111 edge after he landed 214 of 418 power shots.
"He couldn't hit me," Broner said. "He was shadowboxing."
The 33-year-old Malignaggi came in as the home borough hero, having been written off earlier after losses to Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan, only to come back and find a way to win a title from Vyacheslav Senchenko in Donetsk, Ukraine. But as the cocky, undefeated champion in two weight classes at 23, Broner was favored, and he introduced a personal aspect to the promotion by feuding with Malignaggi over a young woman both had dated.
Reality show host Maury Povich was unavailable to referee, so it was left to the two fighters to settle their differences. Through the first three rounds, Malignaggi was an active puncher, but Broner stood his ground, used quickness and a tight defense to minimize the punishment and delivered pinpoint rights and lefts to Malignaggi's nose.
In the second round, Broner was warned for kneeing Malignaggi, who had his hands around Broner's legs. By the third round, Broner not only was delivering hard shots in flurries but was accompanying them with a steady stream of commentary to Malignaggi.
In the fifth, Broner put together a series of hard combinations, connecting with a right near the end of the round that momentarily wobbled Malignaggi. At one point, Broner pirouetted out of a clinch and just missed an uppercut coming out of the spin. When Broner stepped up the pace in the sixth, Malignaggi stuck out his tongue, a lame response.
In the sixth, Broner stepped up his pace and peppered Malignaggi with hard combinations. In the eighth, he landed a triple left hook-right uppercut combo. There was no denying Malignaggi's toughness and will to do battle, but he was catching major shots.
Malignaggi pinned Broner on the ropes in the 10th and flailed away until fatigue stopped him before Broner ended the round with another hard right.
Notes & quotes: Coram Olympian Jamel Herring (4-0, two KOs) led off the card by scoring a unanimous four-round decision over Calvin Smith (2-4) in a lightweight bout. Herring scored heavily with a body attack and caused Smith to touch a glove to the canvas in the third round, though it wasn't ruled a knockdown.
"I wanted to show that I could do it all, that I could box, brawl, put the pressure on my opponent," Herring said.
Sakio Bika (32-5-2, 21 KOs) won a majority decision over Mexican Marco Periban (20-1, 13 KOs) in a wild slugfest for the vacant WBC super middleweight title. Heavyweight Seth Mitchell (26-1-1, 19 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Johnathon Banks (29-2-1, 19 KOs) in a rematch of their November bout won by Banks with a TKO2.
Staten Island heavyweight Marcus Browne (5-0, five KOs), who was on the 2012 Olympic team with Herring, scored a TKO2 over Mexican Ricardo Campillo (7-7-1, five KOs).