Barclays Winners Squared Circle

By Robert Ecksel on October 20, 2012
Barclays Winners Squared Circle
“Brooklyn was behind me. New York City was behind me today. I love you. I love you."

The four fights broadcast on Showtime did not come off without a hitch. But three of the four fights were entertaining, and two of the four were even competitive…

The inaugural fight card at Brooklyn’s spanking new Barclays Center was a smashing success. The four fights broadcast on Showtime did not, however, come off without a hitch. There were two failed drugs tests, an inability to make weight, and there were no upsets. But three of the four fights were entertaining, and two of the four were even competitive.

The main evening of the evening featured super lightweight champion Danny Garcia (25-0, 16 KOs) defending his WBC/WBA titles in a rematch with Erik Morales (52-9, 36 KOs). Morales had failed two pre-fight drug tests yet he was given a green light to fight. The reasons for this are as inexplicable as they are inconclusive. What was neither inexplicable nor inconclusive is what Garcia was able to do to Morales in the ring. Danny started strong and finished strong by flattening Morales with a devastating left hook at 1:23 of round four. Garcia landed 54 punches to 40 by Morales, and in the power punch department, Garcia out-landed Morales 47-20.

No one likes seeing an all-time great like Morales go out like he did. But as befits a gladiator of his stature, he went out on his shield, and who could ask for more than that.

At the fights conclusion Garcia said, “He’s a crafty veteran. He landed a couple of good shots but I bounced back. I noticed from the first fight that I showed him too much respect. I was letting him back me up and I was just trying to counter and he was catching me at the end of all his shots. So this fight I wanted to press the action behind my jab and set my big punches up. Honestly, I thought it was going to go 12 rounds because he’s a warrior. He knows how to take a good punch. That left hook I get from my mom. All her side of the family is left-handed. That’s my genetics right there.”

Morales, not surprisingly, was despondent. He said “I’m okay,” putting to rest our worst fears in light of the Garcia KO. “I was prepared today to win this fight but I couldn’t do it. I want to thank the crowd for all their support throughout the years. This is my last fight in the United States. I want to say goodbye in Tijuana, Mexico. In Tijuana, Mexico I will fight. Time passes by. I came to fight, I was ready. And I had one good blow. But it’s early signs that it’s over.”

In the co-main event, WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs) successfully defended his crown by defeating Pablo Cesar Cano (25-2-1, 19 KOs) by controversial split decision. A slicing right by Malignaggi in round two opened a deep gash over Cano’s left eye. The cut bled throughout the fight and it looked like the bout might be stopped on more than one occasion. But Cano to his credit came to Brooklyn to fight. He wasn’t about to let a little (or big) cut or a little (or big) bleeding get in the way of his trying to win. Cano’s persistence was all the more admirable in light of his having failed to make weight, rendering what was supposed to be a title fight into a non-title affair. But Malignaggi is one tough cookie. He was dropped in round 11, after struggling with Cano for most of the fight. But there’s no quit in Paulie Malignaggi. Two judges scored it 114-113 twice for Malignaggi. One judge had it 118-109 for Cano. Paulie landed more jabs than Cano, 160-97. But Cano connected with 262 punches overall to Malignaggi’s 217. He also landed 165 power shots to Paulie’s 57. In the end, Malignaggi got the decision but may not have won the fight. Call it home cooking. Call it what you will. But the fight was a good contest any way you cut it.

“I thought I won it,” said Malignaggi. “I thought I was boxing handily. I thought I was controlling the action. I know he was pressing the action, but he wasn’t really landing the harder shots. He’s a warrior. I have a ton of respect for Pablo. I can into the fight with a lot of respect for him. I knew he was going to come to fight. He was definitely strong. He was a good fighter. But I thought I won it pretty handily.”

Cano disagreed. “I definitely don’t agree with the decision. I came to fight and in the second half of the fight I felt much better. It’s great that the public here is backing me up, and also in Mexico. I’m going to come back. I feel as though I should have won the decision here.”

The best fight of the night was the scintillating match between WBO middleweight champion Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (27-1, 17 KOs) and his more-than-capable challenger Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (28-0, 20 KOs). Big things have been expected of Quillin for some time, and he delivered when it mattered most—in front of a hometown crowd in his beloved Brooklyn. Few people had seen N’Dam fight before, but those who saw him saw him Saturday night can’t wait to see him again soon. The fight was classic give-and-take as both fighters dished out and received punishment in equal measure. Quillin dropped N’Dam twice in round four, and N’Dam came roaring back. Quillin dropped N’Dam twice in round six, and N’Dam came roaring back. Quillin finally dropped N’Dam two more times in round twelve, sealing the deal and winning the first major title of his career. N’Dam took Quillin places he’d never been before, and Quillin proved, if nothing else, that he’s ready for the big time. All three judges scored it 115-107.

“Brooklyn was behind me,” an exuberant Quillin said,  New York City was behind me today. I love you. I love you. I want to thank Grand Rapids, Michigan for making me a fighter and New York City for making me a man. I’m very fortunate and blessed. I hope through this I inspire people that hard work can get you anywhere in life.”

In the fourth fight of the night, Devon Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs), using speed and ring generalship, befuddled former titleholder Randall Bailey (43-8, 37 KOs) to win the IBF welterweight crown. The fight looked more promising on paper than it appeared in the ring, which was less the fault of the fighters than of their contrasting styles. Watching Bailey fight means waiting for Bailey to explode, and Bailey, for all his vaunted power, was never able to hurt the slick and iron-chinned Alexander. Brooklyn being Brooklyn, the crowd reacted to the lack of action with rip-roaring choruses of boos. But in the end it was academic. Alexander landed 120 punches to Bailey’s 45, and outscored him 91-28 in power shots. The judges scored it 115-111, 116-110, and 117-109 in favor of Alexander.

During the post-fight interview, Alexander was asked about the booing during the fight.

“I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,” he said with a laugh. “I know I can do way better. But, you know, Randall’s a veteran and I had to be cautious. I expected him to be strong. He got more knockouts than I got wins. He hits hard, but I got a chin. I knew I was going to come in here and be smart. And I knew Randall was going to come to fight and throw every bomb that he got—which is the right hand, so I had to be smart. But I’m going to continue to learn. This isn’t by last go-round. I’m champion again, three-time world champion at 25 years old. So that’s nothing to scratch your head about.”

The always emotional Bailey said, “He was young and he was fast. He moved a lot faster than I thought. I couldn’t get him to stand in front of me. I couldn’t get set and fight my fight. He had the youth.”

Alexander may have had the youth, whereas the rest of us, no matter our age, had the fights in Brooklyn to make our night.

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  1. Don from Prov 10:06am, 10/22/2012

    As for Morales: Told him a looong time ago chill out with a drink at the beach-

    Shit happens when old guys leave the shaded area of the beach.

    As for Kid Chocolate: I guess I’m one of the few not blown away by him.

  2. the thresher 09:48am, 10/21/2012

    The biggest winner last night was Daniel Jacobs, God Bless this lad

  3. Jose 09:18am, 10/21/2012

    Danny Garcia my man. Took that old fart out. Next.

  4. THE THRESHER 08:31am, 10/21/2012

    Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam vs. Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin made the long night worthwhile. WOW!!

    Three 10-7’ and still game.

  5. the thresher 06:30am, 10/21/2012

    Morales was almost decapitated.

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