Danny Garcia’s light welterweight world title rematch with Erik Morales headlines a card of four title fights today at Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center.
Garcia, a 24-year-old from Philadelphia, who holds the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council belts, earned a unanimous decision over Mexican star Morales when they met in March.
He’s coming off a fourth-round stoppage of ex-champ Amir Khan in July, which took his record to 24-0 with 15 knockouts.
Garcia said he knows he needs another stand-out performance to justify his billing on the highly anticipated card, which will bring top-flight boxing back for the first time in decades to the New York borough of Brooklyn — birthplace of former heavyweight world champ Mike Tyson.
“I always go for the knockout,” Garcia said. “The fans love it. That’s what I do, I bring the knockout power. I definitely expect to win. I’ve been training so hard. I’m too smart and I can’t see myself losing to anyone anytime soon.”
Morales, a four-division champion with a record of 52-8 with 36 knockouts, naturally has other ideas.
“We’re totally prepared,” he said. “We’re very hurt over what happened in March and we have done everything possible to be ready for this Saturday.”
The venue will also be on show. The Barclays Center is the US$1 billion home of the NBA’s Nets as they relocate this season from New Jersey.
It will stage the first major fights in Brooklyn since Aug. 5, 1931, when Maxie Rosenbloom defeated Jimmy Slattery to retain the light heavyweight world title at Ebbets Field — the home of baseball’s now defunct Brooklyn Dodgers.
Brooklyn native Paulie Malignaggi (31-4, 7 knockouts) will defend his WBA welterweight world title against hard-hitting Pablo Cesar Cano (25-1-1, 19 knockouts).
“It’s surreal,” Malignaggi said. “It’s a chance for Brooklynites to put Brooklyn on the map.”
Unbeaten Peter Quillin (27-0, 20 knockouts) takes on unbeaten Frenchman Hassan N’Dam (27-0, 17 knockouts) for N’Dam’s World Boxing Organization middleweight world title and Devon Alexander challenges Randall Bailey for Bailey’s International Boxing Federation welterweight crown.
Bailey and Alexander had been due to fight on Sept. 8, but Bailey hurt his back in training a week before the bout and it was postponed.
Even if there had been time to find a replacement foe, Alexander wanted to take on Bailey, who won the vacant belt with a dramatic 11th-round knockout of Mike Jones in June.
“I’m definitely excited to be coming to Brooklyn,” said Alexander, a former junior welterweight world champion who brings a record of 23-1 with 13 knockouts to the fight.
“I was ready weeks ago to get this fight on ... I’m definitely still ready and ready to become three-time world champion,” he said.
Bailey, who boasts a record of 23-1 with 13 knockouts, says his back is just fine now.
“It just required a lot of rest,” he said.