CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING RETURNS TO BROOKLYN

Brooklyn is back on the fistic map! It’s over 81 years since Maxie Rosenbloom outpointed Jimmy Slattery in a light heavyweight title bout that Brooklyn has hosted another championship fight but some things are worth waiting for. Saturday night’s pugilistic extravaganza at the magnificent Barclay’s Center, featuring four world championship fights on the nine bout card, falls into that “worth waiting for” category. Over seven hours highlighted by spectacular punching prowess, some artistic ring craftsmanship and an all-around unforgettable evening. It was the first of an intended series of boxing events to be put on by Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions at this venue.

The beginning of Boxing at Barclays was ushered in with what should be the finale to a great career as legendary former 5-time world champion Erik Morales suffered an electrifying fourth round knockout at the hands of undefeated dynamite-fisted Philadelphian Danny Garcia who previously took Morales’ WBC 140-pound crown via a 12-round unanimous decision in January. This time a devastating left hook blasted Mexico’s pride, Morales, through the lower strand of ropes, draped there like a broken rag doll. The end was signaled immediately. No count was necessary. It was all over at 1:23 of Round 4, giving Garcia, now 25-0, 16 KO’s the WBA and WBC and Ring Super Lightweight Championships. Morales’ career should close at 52-9, 36 KO’s.

The battle for the WBA Welterweight Championship between the brash champion, Paulie Malignaggi and Mexican warrior Pablo Cesar Cano, started out as an artistic showcase for the Brooklyn Magic Man. A win was a step in setting up a probable Brooklyn mega-fight against Dmitriy Salita. So Paulie worked like any good—no, GREAT—artist at work painting a design in blood-red over the left side of Cano’s face, his source being a cut on the left eyelid of his opponent. For seven rounds, he captivated his audience – then, the tide changed as Cano finally zeroed in on his tormentor and became effective in backing Malignaggi up and walking through Paulie’s punches, flicking them aside and firing back, Paulie showed heart and continued fighting back, but now he was coming in second on most exchanges. In this sport, there are no medals for second place. When Cano dropped Malignaggi with an overhand right in the eleventh round, much of the crowd was roaring for the gutsy Mexican to pull it out. However, Paulie’s early lead was just a bit too much to overcome as he copped a razor-thin split decision victory with two judges giving him a 114-113 nod.

Holding up his end of the needed dual victories, Salita rushed to the arena as soon as he completed his Sabbath observance by not traveling until after sundown and climbed into the ring at approximately 7:40 PM for his six round bout. He was the complete workman against his opponent from Hannibal Missouri, Brandon Hoskins, sporting a 16-2-1, 8 KO’s record, staying on top of his man and controlling the action throughout the six rounds, landing well with a left jab that kept Hoskins on the defensive and permitted Salita to move and vary his attack, working well with brief body attacks, then moving upstairs, occasionally working short combinations, hooking off the jab and following with the right, which for the most part was used more as a diversion than as a weapon. It was a competent, well-executed performance that earned him a near-shut-out win with tallies of 60-54, 59-55-59-55. It should set the stage for a championship fight with Malignaggi.

In one of the evening’s outstanding fights, New York’s Peter “Kid Choco;ate” Quillen decisively outpointed WBO Middleweight Champion Hassan N’Dam, a guy with no quit in him, who, although being dropped 6 times—5 from from Quillen’s whip-like left hook and once from a left hook-right cross combination—continued fighting back. All three judges scored the fight 115-107 for the new champ, Peter Quillen, still undefeated at 28-0, 20 KO’s while N’Dam tastes his first defeat, 27-1, 17 KO’s.

Even the boo-birds had a chance to vent themselves as they hooted their displeasure at the lackluster 12-round IBF Championship between titleholder Randall Bailey of Miami, FL – now former titleholder- and St. Louis, Missouri’s Devon Alexander. With the arena sounding like a chorus of unhappy owls, Alexander won a rather easy, though uninspiring, decision, 116-111,115-110, 117-109, to improve to 24-1,13 KO’s. as Bailey dropped to 43-8, 37 KO’s.

Other undercard results:

West Point and Brooklyn favorite Boyd Melson, 8-1-1, fought to a draw with fellow Brooklynite Jason Thompson in a six round middleweight show-opener.

In a junior middleweight six rounder, Luis Collazo, Brooklyn 32-5-0, 16 KO’s, defeated Philadelphia’s Stephen Upshaw, 24-2-1, 6 KO’s, by unanimous decision, 77-75, 77-75-79-73

Eddie Gomez, Bronx power-puncher improved to 11-0, 8 KO’s with a spectacular second round left/right combination knockout of Phoenix, Arizona’s Saul Benitez, now 2-3.

In one of the evening’s true highlight attractions, Brooklyn’s Super Middleweight star, Danny Jacobs, followed up the greatest win imaginable, his two-year victory over cancer, with a another tremendous knockout win, a left hook/right cross to the head knocking out Josh Luteran Blue Springs, MO. Jacobs is now 23-1, 20 KO’s. Luteran now stands at 14-1,9 KO’s. No bout was bigger or more inspiring than this one.

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