BROOKLYN, New York - The last world title fight in Brooklyn took place on August 5, 1931 when defending Light Heavyweight World Champion Maxie Rosenbloom outpointed Jimmy Slattery over 15 rounds at Ebbets Field. After more than 80 years, Brooklyn's world championship fight scene will be revitalized on Saturday, October 20 with the first boxing event at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The event will feature a star-studded line-up including three world championship fights and a lengthy roster of New York City's top pugilists. Photos by Damien Acevedo.
In the main event, which will be televised live on SHOWTIME, unbeaten Danny "Swift" Garcia defends his WBA Super, WBC & Ring Magazine Super Lightweight World Championships as he rematches with legendary Mexican warrior and future Hall of Famer Erik "El Terrible" Morales. In the evening's co-featured bouts also to be televised live on SHOWTIME, Brooklyn's own Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi puts his WBA Welterweight World Championship on the line against hard-hitting Pablo Cesar "El Demoledor" Cano and undefeated, number one rated WBO middleweight contender Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin of Manhattan takes on unbeaten Hassan N'Dam in a 12-round battle for N'Dam's WBO Middleweight World Championship.
The undercard is stacked with the return of a bevy of New York's best including Brooklyn's hot middleweight prospect Daniel "The Golden Child" Jacobs, former World Champion Luis Collazo, the Bronx's rising star Eddie Gomez, former world title contender Dmitriy Salita and Brooklyn prospect Boyd Melson.
The fights will mark the first event of the previously announced deal between Barclays Center and Golden Boy Promotions under which at least 12 boxing events per year will be hosted at the new sports and entertainment venue.
The inaugural night of fights at Barclays Center is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Box Latino and supported by Golden Boy Promotions sponsors Corona, DeWalt Tools and AT&T with N'Dam vs. Quillin being presented in association with Asventure Promotion. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins live at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). Preliminary fights will air live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
"This fight is going to be a tremendous night of boxing for Barclays Center, Golden Boy Promotions and all of the boxing and sports fans in and around the New York area," said Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. "To be a part of a historic night of championship boxing returning to Brooklyn with the rematch of Danny Garcia against Erik Morales, coupled with the opportunity to see some of New York's best fighters such as Paulie Malignaggi and Peter Quillin is a can't miss moment."
"Boxing has a powerful heritage in Brooklyn, especially at the old Ebbets Field, and we are proud to team with Golden Boy Promotions to bring world championship fights back to its roots in the borough," said Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. "Brooklyn has produced some of the great world championship fighters, from Mike Tyson to Riddick Bowe, to name a few, and we are excited to re-ignite the sport in the borough, while giving emerging Brooklyn fighters a chance to perform on Brooklyn's biggest stage."
"From top to bottom, this fight card is filled with exciting match-ups and world-class talent," said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports. "I am proud that Showtime will be part of this milestone event as the television partner for the first boxing event at the beautiful new Barclays Center. With three world title fights, representing the first championship fights in Brooklyn in over 80 years, and plenty of homegrown Brooklyn talent, it is sure to be an exciting and historic night of boxing."
Seen as one of boxing's emerging stars for years, Danny "Swift" Garcia (24-0, 15 KO's) arrived in 2012 when he defeated Morales via unanimous decision for the WBC Super Lightweight World Title. The 24-year-old Philadelphian of Puerto Rican descent was just getting started, as on July 14 he made an emphatic statement to the boxing world with a fourth round technical knockout victory over British superstar and former Unified Super Lightweight World Champion Amir "King" Khan. On October 20, he will not only attempt to repeat his win over Morales, but to better it by stopping the future Hall of Famer.
"I am excited to be a part of this great night for boxing and also to give the legendary Erik Morales the opportunity to try to beat me and take back the title," said Garcia. "Unfortunately for him, that's not going to happen. My career continues to grow and I am only getting better every time I step in the ring. I am going to ride these championship moments for as long as possible."
The legacy of Tijuana, Baja California's Erik "El Terrible" Morales (52-8, 36 KO's) has been set for years, thanks to his wins over boxing superstars and world champions Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao, Marco Antonio "Baby Faced Assassin" Barrera, Paulie Ayala, Kevin "The Flushing Flash" Kelley, Daniel Zaragoza and Junior Jones, along with his world titles in four weight classes. Most recently, it was his stirring return in 2010 after nearly three years away from the sport that captivated the boxing world. Now looking to add another chapter to his amazing career, Morales challenges Garcia this fall with pride on the line.
"I am very excited to be back in the ring and fighting Danny Garcia once again," said Morales. "He beat me the first time, but I know I have what it takes to avenge my loss. I am a veteran at learning from my mistakes and correcting them."
The owner of a spectacular comeback that epitomizes the fighting spirit of the Brooklyn boxer, Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KO's) was at a career crossroads after a 2010 loss to Amir Khan. After moving up to 147 pounds, the former IBF Junior Welterweight World Champion showed that he was still among boxing's elite as he won four fights in a row, capped off by a ninth round technical knockout victory over Vyacheslav Senchenko in April of 2012 that earned him the WBA Welterweight World title in Senchenko's native Ukraine. On October 20, the 31-year-old fights in Brooklyn for the first time since his professional debut in 2001 and knows he will have the support of his hometown fans.
"When I found out about the fights at the Barclays Center, I wanted nothing more than to be on this card," said Malignaggi. "This is really a dream come true for me and I am confident I will make my fans proud and come away with a win. Anyone that knows me knows that my Brooklyn roots make me the fighter that I am and that I have been throughout my career. I don't give up ever. That's Brooklyn baby."
Hailing from Tlanepantla, Mexico, 22-year-old Pablo Cesar "El Demoledor" Cano (26-1-1, 20 KO's) has been hailed as the future of Mexican boxing, but as far as he's concerned, the future is now and he's ready to bring his first world title back home. A professional since 2006, Cano impressed fight fans with his gutsy effort against Erik Morales in a short-notice title fight in September of 2011. He has not slowed down since, stopping tough talents Francisco Contreras and Fidel Munoz and, in his most recent fight in July of this year, capturing the WBA Interim Super Lightweight World Title by decisioning then undefeated Johan Perez. Next up he moves up in weight class to face Malignaggi and he has plans on making the "Magic Man" disappear.
"I will be ready to fight Paulie Malignaggi on October 20, even in his own backyard," said Cano. "The opportunity to fight for a world title is something I have wanted my whole life. I am the younger, stronger fighter and I will do everything I can in training to be victorious that night."
The current WBO Middleweight World Champion, Cameroon-born Hassan N'Dam (27-0, 17 KO's) was a 2004 Olympian who scored a win over world title contender Andy Lee during the Athens Games. The talented 28-year-old is now based in Pantin, Seine-Saint-Denis, France and has steadily risen to become one of the best middleweights in the world. A consistent victor over top European talent, N'Dam made his move on the international scene in October of 2010 when he defeated Avtandil Khurtsidze for the WBA Interim Middleweight World Title Belt. After defending it successfully against Giovanni Lorenzo in April of 2011, he captured the WBO Interim title by defeating previously unbeaten Max Bursak this past May and was recently elevated from interim to regular champion. On October 20, he makes his United States debut against the hometown favorite in Quillin, but is definitely up for the challenge.
"I am going to be ready and prepared to make my American debut in front of a large crowd on a big stage in one of the greatest cities in the world," said N'Dam. "No big city or bright lights are going to get in the way of my ability to be the best in the ring and defeat my Quillin. I am going to impress everyone on October 20."
Undefeated, number one rated WBO middleweight contender Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin (27-0, 20 KO's) has long been a lock to win a world championship. On October 20, the crafty and charismatic Manhattan resident who resided in Brooklyn for several years will get his chance. A force at 160 pounds, Quillin recently scored the biggest win of his career by dropping and soundly defeating former Undisputed Junior Middleweight World Champion Winky Wright in June. That victory was the 29-year-old's 27th without a loss, setting up the showdown with N'Dam for the title in what will be Quillin's first fight in New York since 2008.
"I am excited to be back in New York and to be part of this historic night of boxing in Brooklyn," said Quillin. "Even though I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I consider New York to be my home because this is where I live. I will make my family, friends and all of the New York fight fans in the arena that night proud to support me and call me one of their own."
A former world title challenger and top rated contender seemingly destined for world title honors, middleweight Daniel "The Golden Child" Jacobs (22-1, 19 KO's) was faced with the toughest opponent of his career in 2011 when he was diagnosed with cancer. After surgery and an arduous rehab program, "The Golden Child" is in remission and has been given the green light to continue his career. What better place for him to have his comeback fight but in his native Brooklyn? The 25-year-old is eager to get back to business and knows he has what it takes to return to the top of the middleweight division.
"I am so excited to return to the ring after all I have been through this past year and to be able to return in front of my family and friends in Brooklyn means the world to me," said Jacobs. "It's a slow road in recovery and I am just grateful to be alive and well enough to have the opportunity to continue my professional boxing career on October 20. I am looking forward to it immensely."
Brooklyn's Luis Collazo (31-5, 16 KO's) is unbeaten in 17 fights in his home state of New York and nothing would make the 31-year-old happier than to make it 18 in a row when he steps into the ring on October 20. The former WBA Welterweight World Champion has faced some of the sweet science's top world champions over the years, including Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton, Sugar Shane Mosley and Andre Berto. Collazo has won two of his last three fights and is ready for to put on a show in his homecoming fight.
"What can I say other than there is nothing like fighting in Brooklyn in front of so many people I know and who know me," said Collazo. "I am undefeated in New York State and plan to keep it that way on October 20. I am going to be ready and bring my Brooklyn best to Barclays Center that night."
The youngest member of the New York City group featured at the Barclays Center, 19-year-old Eddie Gomez (9-0, 6 KO's) is wise beyond his years in the ring, where his mix of boxing savvy, speed and power, has made him a must-see for fight fans. Unbeaten as a professional, this exciting junior middleweight is hoping to steal the show this October.
"I can't believe I am going to fight on this show with so many great champions and other great fighters from New York," said Gomez. "I am still a young professional doing whatever it takes to become a future champion and now to be able to fight so close to home is giving me the extra motivation to have a great fight and impress everyone in the arena that night."
Nicknamed "The Star of David," Dmitriy Salita (34-1-1, 18 KO's) of Brooklyn has been one of New York's most popular fighters ever since his professional debut in 2001. With a 4-0 record since the lone loss of his career in a 2009 world title fight against Amir Khan, the 30-year-old practicing Orthodox Jew is back on track and looking for a shot at friend and fellow Brooklynite Paulie Malignaggi. To get in the running, Salita has to win impressively on October 20.
"This will be one of the most defining and memorable moments of my career," said Salita. "To have the opportunity to fight on boxing's opening night at Barclays Center in front of all of the people who have supported me throughout my career and the great boxing fans we have in New York is the best gift of all."
A four-time United States Army champion and West Point graduate, Brooklyn's Boyd "Rainmaker" Melson turned pro after earning an alternate spot on the 2008 United States Olympic team, and he has since put together a 9-1 (4 KO's) record. A popular figure on the local Big Apple fight scene, the 30-year old southpaw fights for more than glory, as he is heavily involved in raising money for spinal cord injury and stem cell research.
"I love fighting in New York and people around the area know I come to fight," said Melson. "This is going to be an unbelievable night of boxing for me."
Opponents for Jacobs, Collazo, Gomez, Salita and Melson will be announced shortly