SAN DIEGO – October 20, 2012 – The last time professional prize fighting took place in Brooklyn, New York, it was still called prize fighting, the venue was Ebbets Field, and the calendar read 1931.
Tonight the new Barclays Center stages its inaugural boxing event featuring four bouts including two popular native sons. Between 10 and 12 thousand fans are expected at the Center, which has a maximum capacity for concerts of 19,000, 800 less for basketball. In comparison, Madison Square Garden seats 20,000 for boxing.
In the co-main event, observers were pleased to see that Hall of Fame candidate Erik Morales (52-8, 36 KOs) easily made the weight limit at 139.2 pounds at Friday’s weigh-in, slightly less than champion Danny Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs) of Philadelphia at 139.8. But news spread that Morales had failed a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency drug test, something he and Garcia voluntarily agreed to participate in. Friday rumors swirled back and forth about whether Morales would be retested, whether tainted meat (seriously) was to blame, whether the fight was a go or not, and whether it was even true or in jeopardy in the first place. This is not the kind of cloud that should be hanging over your main event.
Morales didn’t make weight the first fight and it was simply a mess. No one wanted to see the great champion go out like he did. Apparently Morales didn’t either. As for Garcia, he needs to do more than simply win. The pressure is on him to prove he is the real deal with a decisive, knockout victory over Morales, or he will damage the upward momentum he’s had since his fourth round KO win over Amir Khan.
Paulie Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KOs), one of the most outgoing personalities in a sport full of them, has been an enthusiastic ambassador for the return of boxing to his hometown. Should popular the Brooklyn native and self-proclaimed “Twitter King” win, talk is that he may become the next opponent for returning British superstar Ricky Hatton, assuming Hatton wins his comeback fight on November 24th. Opponent Pablo Cesar Cano of Mexico (25-1-1, 19 KOs) failed to make weight, coming in at 148.4, 1.4 pounds over the limit. Malignaggi made weight at 146.2 even. Cano was given an hour to make weight but could not. The fight is still on in a non-title status; Cano cannot take Malignaggi’s belt even if he wins, which is unlikely anyway.
Malignaggi took to Twitter Saturday morning, joking with fans and ranting about weight limits, saying, “no one seems to care anymore.” Among his comments:
“If I knew this was going to be a catch weight at 200, I would of brought the Klitschko brothers in for sparring.”
“All jokes aside! I dont care if a (blank) came in at 300 pounds 6 arms and one eyeball. I’m still gonna do me!!! #TK”
Malignaggi told fans he would try to tweet during the fight, presumably between rounds. This I have got to see.
New York native Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillan is also thrilled to be boxing at home. He will match his undefeated record of 27 wins and 20 KOs against French boxer Hassan N’Dam, also undefeated with 27 wins and 17 KOs. These middleweights should put on a good show. After the weigh-in, Quillan said “I looked real deep in his eyes. I didn’t see a cold-blooded killer like he did… I trained to destroy this guy.”
For his part, N’Dam says he wants U.S. fans to get to know him. He promised to put on a show for fans, because he is a “French showman.” The pair both looked well trained and in top condition at the weigh-in, N’Dam at 159.0 pounds and Quillan at 159.2 pounds.
Devon Alexander (23-1, 13 KOs) should have little trouble with almost 40-year-old champion Randall Bailey (43-7, 30 KOs). But we have learned to take nothing for granted lately. Bailey still has knockout power though. I would love for Bailey to knock out Alexander as he did Jones, but I’m not calling it or counting on it.
Alexander is already thinking past this fight to next Saturday. The St. Louis native will get to throw out the first pitch at home if the Cardinals make it to the World Series, and it’s looking good.
Among the warm-up fights are several Brooklyn and New York based fighters. What an exciting night to be fighting in front of home town fans in what will be the inaugural night of many great evenings of Brooklyn boxing to come, good luck to them.
Showtime’s Championship Boxing gets underway at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. If you have digital cable and receive the East Coast feed, you can also watch it live in the Pacific Time zone at 5 p.m.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group
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