By Jake Donovan
Amidst all of the drama between the weight issues prior to the first fight and leaked drug testing results earlier this week, the rematch between Danny Garcia and Erik Morales can finally move forward.
Both fighters made weight for Saturday night's headliner at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. though not without some initial dispute and continued bad blood spilled between camps. Garcia weighed , while Morales - who missed weight prior to their first meet - came in at 139.2 lb., although he had to weigh in twice.
The result of the first attempt was never announced, though a back-and-forth between Morales and a member of the state commission suggested a scale result not to the fighter's liking. Morales immediately weighed in a second time, coming in under the divisional limit.
A heated staredown saw Garcia scream expletives at Morales while getting in his face. The two had to be separated, though Garcia was genuinely outraged as he was ordered to stand down.
Garcia makes the second defense of the alphabet belt he snatched from Morales earlier this year. The bout is also his first as a unified titlist, having won a belt from Amir Khan in his dramatic come-from-behind knockout this past July.
Morales fights for the first time since mailing it in during his fight with Garcia in March. The legendary boxer became the first ever in Mexico's rich boxing history to win a title in four separate weight classes with his 10th round stoppage of Pablo Cano (who faces Paul Malignaggi on the undercard Saturday evening).
However, his reign as a 140 lb. titlist was one-and-done. Morales came in heavy for his lone attempted defense and never bothered to shed the extra poundage. The violation cost him the title at the scales and then officially in the ring when Garcia won a decision in a rather bland fight.
There was no demand for a second go, but Morales exercised the rematch clause from the original fight contract which leads to Saturday night's affair.
The bout was in jeopardy when reports leaked of USADA finding "irregularities" in Morales' test samples during random drug testing. One of three 'A' samples came back positive, but the bout will go on as scheduled (for now) pending the result of Morales' B' sample, which is expected to arrive in New York for examination on Friday afternoon.
Morales denied such charges, insisting it was an unfounded rumor despite the show's lead promoter Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions going on record as to state cryptic details of the result.The WBC has supported Morales' claim, going one step further in insisting that its own drug test prior to the fight is the only official result it will honor.
The New York State Athletic Commission has opted to walk sideways on the issue.
Assuming the fight goes on as scheduled, it tops a televised quadruple-header on Showtime, which is accompanied by three more alphabet title fights.
The supporting bouts provided plenty of its own sideshow-like drama during Friday's weigh-in. Randall Bailey and Devon Alexander carried their feud through the media onto the stage, as the camps had to be separated.
At least both fighters made weight for a fight that will serve as Bailey's first welterweight title defense. The same cannot be said for the card's other welterweight title showdown.
Cano came in at 148.4 lb, 1.4 lb over the division limit - a startling result considering he is a career 140 lb. fighter. Malignaggi had no problems making weight, coming well under at 146.2 lb for the first defense of the belt he won earlier this year on the road in Ukraine.
Cano has one hour to shed the extra weight. Failure to do so will result in a forfeiture of a percentage of his purse and then a decision to be made by the Malignaggi camp and the NYSAC as to whether or not to proceed with the bout.
Danny Garcia 139.8 lb v. Erik Morales 139.2 lb - 12 rds for Garcia's unified 140 lb. titles
Paul Malignaggi 146.2 lb v. Pablo Cano 148.4 lb*- 12 rds for Malignaggi's 147 lb. title
* Cano has one hour to lose 1.4 lb
Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam 159 lb. v. Peter Quillin 159.2 lb - 12 rds for N'Dam N'Jikam's 160 lb. title
Randall Bailey 147 lb v. Devon Alexander 146.8 lb - 12 rds for Bailey's 147 lb. title
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: