Garcia Destroys Morales!
Opens Barclays Center with Crushing KO!
October 20, 2012 - Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Ringside Report: Mariano A. Agmi
Photos: Ed Mulholland
TO LICENSE PHOTOS CLICK BELOW
Unified junior welterweight world champion Danny "Swift" Garcia delivered an explosive knockout to cap the first boxing show at the newly minted Barclays Center, defending his WBA and WBC titles in spectacular fashion with a fourth round technical knockout of Erik "El Terrible" Morales. The fight was the main event of a card that featured nine bouts, five popular New Yorkers, and four world championship bouts.
The bout between Garcia (25-0, 16 KOs) and the legendary Morales (52-9, 36 KOs) was a rematch of their meeting in March of this year, a bout Garcia won by a twelve round unanimous decision for the vacant WBC junior welterweight title.
This bout was mired with controversy, however, as Morales failed two drug tests administered by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The future Hall-of-Famer was found to have clenbuterol in his system, a drug known to increase aerobic capacity and oxygen transportation. Off label, clenbuterol is used as a weight loss drug similar to ephedrine.
Garcia, a native of Philadelphia, PA, took some time to decide whether to proceed with the bout, but in the end, his desire to fight in the new arena and his million dollar purse convinced him to let the show go on.
It turned out to be the right decision. From the beginning of the bout, the 24-year-old Puerto Rican took the fight to the aging legend, digging to the body with left hooks every chance he got.
"I showed him too much respect in our first fight," said Garcia when contrasting his approach to this bout as opposed to their first meeting. "This time I pressured him and was more aggressive. I was more confident and I knew I could set up my punches and land some big shots."
Indeed, Garcia's left hook to the head began landing as early as round two, and he mixed up his offense in round three with a double jab and a right hand that stunned and nearly dropped the proud Mexican. Never shying away from a fire fight (even at 36-years-old), Morales responded with a jab and a right to the body.
Just when it looked like the fight was getting warmed up, Garcia launched a huge left hook in the fourth round that landed squarely on the chin of the living legend. The shot caused "El Terrible" to spin around before crashing to the canvas, his head lying on the bottom rope. The scene was enough for referee Benjy Esteves to immediately waive off the bout, ending the contest at 1:23 of round four.
"That left hook, I got that from my mom," joked Garcia. "Her side of the family is all left-handed and that's what I caught him with."
With wins over Morales, Amir Khan and former champion Kendall Holt, the unified champ now looks ahead to exciting possibilities in a stacked division that features vicious punchers Lucas Matthysse and Brandon Rios.
"You know I'll fight anyone," agreed Garcia. "I never duck anyone, I fight the best. Keep lining them up and I'll knock them down. I have the belts, you can come get them but it won't be easy."
Sadly for Morales, this result should signify the end of the line for a future hall of famer who gave fans nearly twenty years' worth of thrills. From his first title winning effort over Daniel Zaragoza for the WBC super bantamweight title in 1997 to memorable trilogies with arch rival Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao, Morales always gave his all in the ring.
"I'm ok, I was prepared to come in and fight, but it was hard to get my movement," admitted El Terrible. "Time passes by and this is an early sign that it's probably over. This is my last fight in the United States and I want to end my career in Tijuana."
Garcia vs Morales Photos
Malignaggi Survives Cano; Gets Split Decision!
In the co-feature, Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs) survived an eleventh round knockdown and a late surge from Mexican Pablo Cesar Cano (26-2-1, 20 KOs) to win a twelve round split decision, retaining his WBA welterweight title that Cano could not win because he failed to make the 147-pound limit at Friday's weigh-in.
Malignaggi boxed well in the early rounds, controlling the bout with his left jab. Cano, who failed in his first attempt at a world title via tenth round TKO to Erik Morales, was cut in round two and was losing the exchanges to the quicker, sharper Malignaggi.
Cano focused his attack on Malignaggi's body in the mid-rounds, but the Brooklyn native displayed superior speed and boxing skills and seemed to be winning the rounds.
"El Demoledor" began scoring more frequently in round seven, landing left hooks and right hands to the head. His eye swelling shut, Cano fought with far more urgency in round eight, digging shots to the Magic Man's body and finally stunning Paulie with a right hand, left hook combination.
Cano seemed to be landing with more and more frequency as the bout progressed, particularly with his right hand. A perfectly placed right hand to the chin in round eleven finally gave fruit to the Mexican, dropping Malignaggi for an eight count. The Magic Man got up, but spent the rest of the round and the twelfth absorbing right hands and left hooks to the head, suffering a cut under his left eye in the process.
"I was buzzed, but I recovered pretty well," admitted Malignaggi of the knockdown. "I was hurt more by punches that I got caught with standing up. Some of them were clipping me, I’ll admit, but I was also rolling with a lot of them and countering to the body. I felt like I was getting into a little bit of a groove with my jab and maybe I just started sleeping on him."
Despite doing good work from rounds seven on, the late surge was not enough to convince all of the judges. Judge Glenn Feldman scored the bout 118-109 for Cano but was overruled by Tom Muller and Nelson Vasquez, who each saw the contest 114-113 for the Magic Man.
"I know I won the fight," stated a dejected Cano. "Listen to the crowd; they know I won the fight."
Naturally, the Magic Man disagreed: "I think people got excited about the knockdown but I thought I won the fight. I was outboxing him handily. I thought I was controlling the action. He was strong. I have a lot of respect for him, but I thought I won it pretty handily."
Putting the close decision behind him, Paulie revealed that he would love to face Ricky Hatton at the Barclays Center in a rematch. "I plan to watch Ricky fight on November 24th. If he looks good, I'm ready for a rematch."
Malignaggi vs Cano Photos
Quillin Wins WBO title in Spectacular Fashion!
In the fight of the night, Peter Quillin (28-0, 20 KOs) won a piece of the middleweight title in spectacular fashion, knocking down then-WBO champion Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam (27-1, 17 KOs) six times in the process.
While the pugilists showed the grit and determination that is required of undefeated fighters, it was Quillin's power that made the difference in this firefight. While "Kid Chocolate" could take N'Dam's best shots, the same could not be said of his French opponent by way of Cameroon.
The fight was competitive in the early rounds, as N'Dam dug to Quillin's body and trading left hooks with the Cuban American. Quillin was having success of his own, however, as he stunned N'Dam with a left hook, right hand combination. The Cameroonian punctuated the round with a big right hand at the bell.
The left hook and right uppercut proved to be the keys to victory for Quillin, as each knockdown was either set up or punctuated by one of those weapons.
"Kid Chocolate" stunned N'Dam during the fourth round with a short right uppercut that had the champion reeling against the ropes. A huge leaping left hook then dropped N'Dam hard to the canvas. N'Dam beat the count, only to be knocked down by a follow up left hook.
N'Dam seemed to recover in round five, engaging the challenger and trying to land a big right hand. The fighters traded shots in round six, and a left hook again dropped N'Dam, who immediately rose to trade shots with his brash challenger. It was not the best approach; however, as N'Dam found himself on the deck once more after a fierce exchange.
"One thing I know is I have a really big heart," said N'Dam. "I was trying to get my legs back underneath me, but I couldn't. I kept saying to myself, 'Get up and keep fighting.'"
The warrior from Cameroon must have been in great shape to survive to this point in the fight, but he had to avoid exchanges in order to be successful. Quillin seemed to hurt N'Dam every time he landed cleanly, however by the ninth and tenth rounds, it seemed that the challenger was tiring as the champion was beginning to visibly stun his opponent.
N'Dam continued to take advantage of Quillin's lack of activity and began clawing his way back into the bout by the championship rounds, landing a left hook in round eleven that caused Quillin to spew blood from his mouth.
"You cannot take credit away from Hassan," stated Quillin. "I've seen the lion in the eyes of this guy. He wanted to win, and I can't take anything away from that."
N'Dam went for the kill in round twelve, and it proved to be his ultimate undoing. While trading shots with Quillin against the ropes, the contender connected with a left hook on the button that dropped N'Dam on the seat of his pants. A follow-up right hand dropped N'Dam again, sealing the deal for the charismatic Cuban-American in his hometown.
"That was me licking the emblem," Quillin explained of the last punch. "I sealed the deal. I can't get too cocky from this performance. I have to learn what I can from it and become a better fighter."
Judges Julie Lederman, John Stewart, and Don Trella scored the bout 115-107 for the new champion.
"I felt like I was winning rounds, but he knocked me down, so he won them," stated N'Dam. "I did my best, but I got caught a couple of times and that was too bad."
An ecstatic Quillin addressed the crowd following his huge victory: "I want to thank Grand Rapids for making me a fighter and New York for making me a man. I am an inspiration that shows you that you can do anything in life. This is a historic event, and I am happy to open the Barclays Center by becoming a world champion. Brooklyn was behind me; New York City was behind me. I love you!"
It looks as though fans might be in for a repeat of this exciting fight, as the former champion stated in no uncertain terms that he had a rematch clause that he plans to exercise.
"I definitely want a rematch," affirmed the former champion. "I signed a rematch clause. I only had a month to prepare for this fight. I was knocked down for the first time and that surprised me. Next time I'll be way more prepared."
Quillin vs N'Dam Photos
Alexander vs. Bailey Disappoints Brooklyn
In the first world championship bout staged in Brooklyn in 81 years, Devon Alexander "The Great" (24-1, 13 KOs) became a two-division titlist as he lifted the IBF welterweight world title from "The Knockout King" Randall Bailey (43-8, 37 KOs).
Bailey entered the ring with a strange neon blue mask a la Bernard Hopkins' executioner days.
Alexander boxed cautiously from the start of the bout, landing right jabs and circling the powerful Bailey, who stalked Alexander in an attempt to close the distance and land his vaunted right hand.
Bailey was successful to an extent early on, momentarily knocking Alexander off balance in rounds one and two but unable to follow it up with anything of significance. The crowd 'oohed' and 'aahed' whenever Bailey landed a right, but he was unable to land his money punch.
A feared puncher, Bailey patiently moved forward with the swagger of a man who knows he can end the night with one big shot. Unfortunately, "The Knockout King" did not let his hands go enough to create openings and instead waited for the perfect opportunity to land his vaunted massive right hand.
Aware that this was Bailey's primary weapon, Alexander knew too well that he only needed to avoid the right hand to win the fight. "I was cautious," stated the new champion. "I had to be smart because he's a veteran. I could have let my hands go more, but you have to fight smart".
Unfortunately for the jeering crowd, the contest took on the pattern of Alexander either doubling up on his jab and clinching or throwing a lead straight left hand and spinning Bailey out of position.
Bailey finally landed a significant right hand during round five, but he tripped to the canvas as he tried to follow up. To the relief of the crowd, Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. tried to end the clinch-fest in round six by taking a point away from each fighter.
In round eight, Bailey responded to a straight left from Alexander by landing a right uppercut and a straight right hand, but he was just not throwing enough punches to create openings.
Alexander won the championship rounds by simply outworking Bailey, who only landed 45 of 198 punches (23%) the entire night. To put that into context, Bailey landed less than 4 punches a round, the fewest in a twelve round bout in the 27 years of Compubox history.
A former two division titlist and one of the hardest hitting boxers pound-for-pound, Bailey never found the opening he was seeking to end the fight.
"He had youth on his side tonight," stated the dejected former champion. "I felt like I hurt him with my jab. I should have worked harder. He moved a lot faster than I thought. He stayed moving so I couldn't get set and fight my fight."
Also aware that the crowd did not enjoy this clinch filled bout, Alexander admitted that he could have done more but was too concerned with Bailey's power to open up.
"I know I can do way better" said Alexander between loud jeers. "He hit hard, but I got a chin. I expected my work rate to be high. The only thing he has is a right hand".
Judges Tony Paollilo, Don Ackerman, and Waleska Roldan scored the bout 115-111, 116-110 and 117-109 for the new champion.
Alexander vs Bailey Photos
Collazo Looks Sharp in Return!
"The People's Champ" Luis Collazo returned to championship form in his hometown after a disappointing 2011 following a long layoff as he outboxed Philadelphia's Steven Upsher Chambers (24-2-1, 6 KOs) to win a unanimous eight round decision by scores of 80-75, 79-73, and 77-75.
After pressuring Chambers in the opening stanza, Collazo (32-5, 16 KOs) opened up in round two, mixing heavy right hooks and straight left hands to the body and head. The tables turned in the last 30-seconds of the round when Collazo appeared to tire and Chambers began to unload with trainer Steve "Breadman" Edwards imploring him to go to the body.
Collazo relaxed in round three, using his boxing skills to counter Chambers and land straight lefts to the body. Chambers occasionally landed a left hook to the head, evidenced by the reddening on the right side of the face of Collazo.
Collazo continued to box effectively in rounds four and five, avoiding most of the incoming punches and countering with his own stinging lefts to the head while the crowd chanted "Lou-ie, Lou-ie!" Collazo landed his right jab at will, making Chambers pay for keeping his left hand low.
By round six, Collazo was teeing off on Chambers as the Philadelphian found himself trapped against the ropes. Chambers attempted to up the ante in round seven, trading power shots with Collazo in the center of the ring. It was too little, too late, however, as Collazo dominated the eighth and final round, landing flurries to the body and huge shots to the head.
Collazo vs Chambers Photos
Salita Wins Workmanlike Decision
"The Star of David" Dmitriy Salita (35-1-1, 18 KOs) won a hard fought, workman-like unanimous decision over Brandon Hoskins (16-3-1, 8 KOs) in a six round welterweight bout.
A veteran of 37 bouts, Salita was the more skilled boxer, but he squared up and was hit more than he should have been against a fighter of the level of Hoskins.
Although Salita won the majority of the rounds, the game Hoskins was able to land several right hands that snapped Salita's head back. Following trainer Nirmal Lorick's advice, Salita adjusted in round four, boxing and countering off of the jabs of Hoskins.
Salita began to open up in round five, landing solid right hands and a left hook that opened up a nasty cut on the right eye of Hoskins. Salita closed the show at the end of round six, stunning his opponent with about 30 seconds left and following up with left hooks and right hands as the contest came to an end.
At this point in his career, Salita should not be struggling against C-level fighters in six round bouts, but "The Star of David" did enough to win by scores of 60-54 and 59-55 twice.
Salita vs Hoskins Photos
Jacobs Makes Triumphant Return to Ring!
Brooklyn middleweight "The Golden Child" Danny Jacobs (23-1, 20 KOs) returned from a long layoff after being treated for a spinal cancer named osteosarcoma and made short work of Josh Luteran (13-2, 9 KOs).
The Brownsville native obliterated the "Existential Outlaw" of Blue Springs, Missouri with a left hook on the button and a follow-up hook, right uppercut combination that knocked Luteran unconscious at 1:50 of the opening stanza.
"This moment meant the world to me," stated Jacobs. "They told me I would never walk again. They said I wouldn't box again. I gave a great show and I wanted everyone in Brooklyn to be proud."
Jacobs vs Luteran Photos
Gomez Crushes Benitez!
In a junior middleweight contest, Eddie Gomez (11-0, 8 KOs) of the Bronx landed a crushing left hook to drop Saul Benitez (1-3) of Phoenix, Arizona for the count, winning by knockout at 1:23 of round two.
Gomez vs Benitez Photos
In the opening bout of the evening, Boyd Melson (10-1-1, 4 KOs) and Jason Thompson (5-6-2, 4 KOs) fought to a six round draw. Boyd survived a first round knockdown to drop Thompson in the third round with a big straight left hand. Judges John McKaie, Robin Taylor and Frank Lombardi scored the junior middleweight contest 56-56.
Melson vs Thompson Photos