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Danny Garcia unleashed a wicked left hook on the chin of Erik Morales, planting the future-Hall-of-Famer nearly out of the ring altogether to retain his WBA, WBC and Ring super lightweight titles on Saturday evening at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The technical knockout came halfway through the fourth round after Garcia essentially dominated the opening three rounds. It's certainly an candidate for Knockout of the Year.
Garcia improved his perfect record to 25-0 with 16KO's, while Morales fell to 52-9, 36 KO's.
Morales seemed willing to let Garcia back him down into corners and onto the ropes and punch his way out. Right at the end of the third round, Morales was practically saved by the bell as Garcia nailed him with a right cross. Morales nearly dropped to a knee but was just able to avoid Garcia's follow up left, stumbling into the ropes as the bell intervened.
Maybe Morales should have just called it quite then, because halfway through the fourth round, he was nearly spun around a full 360 degrees and out of the ring on a perfect, sweeping left hook by Garcia. Garcia now owns two victories over the Mexican legend Morales and one over Amir Khan, so the impressive wins are starting to pile up. He's unquestionably the world's top 140 pounder, and with more crowd-pleasing performances like Saturday's highlight-reel knockout, he's going to be one of the world's most popular fighters as well.
Paulie Malignaggi won his homecoming fight in Brooklyn on Saturday, but it wasn't the dream scenario he had envisioned. Malignaggi struggled through 12 rounds with Pablo Cesar Cano, eventually winning a split decision on scores of 114-113 twice for Malignaggi and one card of 118-109 for Cano. Cano dropped Malignaggi in the 11th round and seemed to get stronger as the fight went on.
Early on, Malignaggi opened up a cut right above the left eye of Cano, giving the champ a target for the rest of the night. Cano, however, appeared to be much faster than Malignaggi had expected, which resulted in Malignaggi eating a few big shots in the first half of the fight. Also, with Cano missing the 147-pound weight limit in Friday's weigh-in, he was clearly the bigger fighter on fight night.
In the eighth round, Cano staggered Malignaggi with a solid counter-right hook to the body. As the fight wore on, Cano's body work seemed to have an effect on Malignaggi, who slowed down considerably in the later rounds, taking his one clear advantage away. Malignaggi also became visibly frustrated in the latter stages, once nearly lifting Cano off the ground during a clinch.
In his post fight interview with Showtime's Jim Gray, Malignaggi said he thought he won the fight, that he controlled the action and out-boxed Cano. What he probably didn't envision in his first major fight in his home borough of Brooklyn was the vociferous boos guided towards him after the fight. With many Mexicans in the crowd seemingly in support for Erik Morales in the night's main event, Malignaggi was a bit of a road warrior in his backyard.
To his credit, Malignaggi did bust up Cano's face, took a lot of power shots and held on to perhaps win the 12th round against a much bigger man. Malignaggi retained his WBA welterweight title and moved to 32-4, 7 KO's, while Cano dropped to 26-2-1, 20 KO's.
It took 12 breathtaking rounds to decide the WBO middleweight title fight between champion Hassan N'Dam and Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin.
This wasn't quite the triumphant return of championship boxing to Brooklyn.
In the first major world title fight in Brooklyn in 81 years, Devon Alexander outpointed Randall Bailey in a listless fight to win the IBF Welterweight belt to open Showtime's telecast of the rematch between Danny Garcia and Erik Morales at the brand new Barclays Center. Alexander won on scores of 115-111, 116-110 and 117-109. SBNation New York scored it 107-109 for Alexander.
When Bailey won the IBF welterweight title back in June, he sat back and waited to hit Mike Jones with his thudding right hand. That night, he connected, and knocked Jones out in the 11th round after being out-boxed badly to that point. On Saturday, he hoped the same would happen against Alexander, but it wasn't the case.
It wasn't pretty, as many expected, but Alexander did what he had to do, mostly staying away from Bailey's powerful right hand. Both fighters were reluctant to engage, and the Barclays Center crowd voiced their disproval, raining boos down on both fighters throughout most of the bout. In the sixth round, referee Arthur Mercante took a point away from both fighters for holding. On second thought, Mercante might have been the most exciting man in the ring.
Like in June against Jones, Bailey did land a big right uppercut in the 11th round, but Alexander took it well and was able to hold on for the wide decision win.
One of seven hometown fighters on Saturday's Barclays Center boxing card in Brooklyn, Dimitriy Salita improved to 35-1-1, 18 KOs with a unanimous decision victory over Brandon Hoskins in a six round junior middleweight fight. Salita won on scores of 60-54 and two 59-55 cards. The loss was Hoskins' third of his career, dropping him to 16-3-1, 8 KOs.The bout was on the undercard of Danny Garcia-Erik Morales II.
Salita's impressive record is a bit misleading, for sure, as most fighters with that many scraps under their belt are done with four or six round swing bouts. In his only high-profile fight, Salita couldn't get out of the first round as he was blasted by Amir Khan, who dropped him three times to the canvas. But with the Barclays Center having a chance to become a very solid fight venue, Salita can certainly carve out a nice living for himself while fighting locally.
The fight came after Danny Jacobs' emotional return to the ring after beating cancer, when the Brooklyn-native scored a first round TKO of Josh Luteran. Other early winners on the card were Luiz Collazo, Boyd Melson, and Eddie Gomez.
Up next, IBF Welterweight titlist Randall Bailey defends his belt against Devon Alexander in the first of four bouts on Showtime's main card.
Back inside a boxing ring for the first time in nearly 18 months, Danny Jacobs wasted no time in wiping out Josh Luteran with a vicious left hook-right uppercut combination to score the knockout at 1:13 of the first round.
The curtain was raised on Brooklyn's first boxing event in 80 years at approximately 5:11 p.m. EST when hometown fighters Boyd Melson and Jason Thompson squared off to open a nine-bout card on Saturday at the Barclays Center. The two fought to a six-round draw with all three judges scoring the fight 56-56.
The questions surrounding Erik Morales' USADA drug test have dampened the excitement of Saturday's main event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
After more than 80 years of waiting the borough of Brooklyn was bequeathed a boxing card headlined by four world championship fights. But thanks to a challenger failing to make weight, the one featuring the hometown kid as champion is expected to be a non-title affair. And the other, while still scheduled, could be in jeopardy with the failure of a drug test.
Danny Garcia will take on Erik Morales in the main event on Saturday night at the Barclays Center.
Some quotes from Thursday's press conference in Brooklyn, three days before four world championship fights headline the Barclays Center in boxing's return to the historic borough.
Major boxing returns to Brooklyn on Saturday night, but the night's main event is now in jeopardy. Multiple outlets are reporting that WBC and WBA Light Welterweight challenger Erik Morales may have tested positive for a banned substance, as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said it found "irregularities" in Morales' system when testing him for his fight against Danny Garcia at Barclays Center. Golden Boy Promotions says for now that the fight is still on, but Morales' second sample is due to come back on Friday, and an official decision is expected to be made.
The 36-year-old Morales (52-8, 36 KOs) is hoping to avenge his March loss to Garcia, who enters the fight off a career-defining win over Amir Khan back in July. The undefeated Garcia (24-015 KOs) has become one of the most exciting fighters in the sport, and is one of the top guns in the 140-pound division after his dramatic knockout of Khan. Garcia also owns wins over Morales, Kendall Holt and Nate Campbell.
If the fight is canceled, chances are Brooklyn-born Paulie Malignaggi (31-4, 7KO) would headline the night in his WBA welterweight defense against 23-year-old Pablo Cesar Cano (25-1-1). Two other world title fights are on tap for the show, as Peter Quillin (27-0, 20 KOs) challenges Hassan N'Dam (27-0, 17 KOs) for the WBO Middleweight title, and Randall Bailey (43-7 37 KOs) faces Devon Alexander (23-1, 13KOs) for Bailey's IBF Weltwerweight title.
Paulie Malignaggi will lace up his gloves and step into the ring on Saturday night in front of thousands of fans, right in his backyard. His defense of his WBA Welterweight title against 23-year-old Pablo Cesar Cano will precede the night's main event between Danny Garcia and Erik Morales, but such a high billing in this high-profile of a card was no guarantee for Malignaggi just six months ago.
Boxers love fighting in their home towns. There are many reasons for this, but one of them is certainly the fact that the possibility of a "hometown decision" is always there. Rarely do fighters go on the road, only if they absolutely must. Last April, Malignaggi earned a shot against then-WBA Welterweight titleholder Vyacheslav Senchenko. The fight took place in Donetsk, Ukraine, about 250 miles from Senchenko's hometown of Kremenchuk.
Senchenko was undefeated coming in, and Malignaggi's low-knockout record made him a sure underdog. The best way to avoid a hometown decision is to make the decision yourself, and Malignaggi did exactly that. Malignaggi was all over Senchenko and eventually the fight was stopped in the ninth round, with Malignaggi registering just his seventh career knockout victory.
Nearly two years ago when Malignaggi was a promotional free agent, the deck was stacked in favor of Golden Boy Promotions, since the company had already made a commitment with the upcoming Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Malignaggi always wanted to be a part of the first card in his home borough.
It feels great. It feels great, man. This is one of the main reasons I was happy to sign with Golden Boy two years ago, that I could be a part of this show and I could be a part of this event on a big stage in a big fight. And I was glad I did my job and Golden Boy did a tremendous job bringing me back, and now the moment is here and I'm ecstatic for it.
Malignaggi is on a three-match winning streak since moving to welterweight in December of 2010. His fight prior to that was a TKO loss to Amir Khan where he was barely competitive, as Khan matched Malignaggi's speed and then some. He's 31-4 in his career, but for someone who many boxing fans will just never give the proper credit to, you can make a case that Malignaggi has never had a bad loss. Conversely, a case can be made that every time he has stepped up into an elite class he has lost, but his four losses have come at the hands of Khan, Juan Diaz, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto. The loss to Diaz was one of those risky propositions of fighting in an opponent's backyard, as Diaz won a dubious decision in Houston. They rematched four months later in Chicago and Malignaggi avenged the questonable loss with relative ease.
Either way, Malignaggi is getting towards the end of his career. He acknowledges it, but with a wealth of talent in the welterweight division, there are still big fights out there if he can continue winning.
I continue to fight because I stay hungry. I stay hungry because I have a lot to prove to myself because I didn't achieve what I wanted to achieve. I'm a two-time World Champion, but I had so many more goals that I had set out for myself when I turned pro, and I'm probably not going to achieve them all, because there's just too many and there's not enough time, but I just want to achieve as much as I can before I call it a night.
A win over Cano won't launch Malignaggi into any sort of superstardom. He's about as popular as he ever could have been given his style. But each win moves Malignaggi closer to one more big-time fight, like those earlier in his career against Cotto and Hatton. The win against Senchenko was crucial to keep Malignaggi relevant. Now that he's there, fights like Saturday's must keep the train rolling.
Thankfully for Malignaggi, this time he doesn't have to travel very far.
Last year, Danny Jacobs was diagnosed with spinal cancer. On Saturday night, the one-time middleweight contender steps back into a boxing ring when he faces Josh Luteran.
Danny Garcia's next fight isn't any title defense with your average hype, bells and whistles. A rematch with veteran Erik Morales, who he defeated to swipe the WBC title in March, is the co-main event of Brooklyn's first championship fight in 80 years on Saturday.
For the first time in 81 years, when Maxie Rosenbloom defeated Jimmy Slattery by a unanimous 15-round decision at Ebbets Field to retain the light-heavyweight title on August 5, 1931, Brooklyn will host a major championship main event this Saturday when Danny Garcia defends the WBA junior welterweight title against Erik Morales.