The Barclays Center in
Brooklyn still has the new arena smell to it (at least that's what I've been
told) and it hosted its first ever fight card this past weekend. And it was a
mixed bag on this Showtime-televised quadruple-header, which was to have
featured four title fights on the bill. Much of the talk leading into Saturday
centered on the status of Erik Morales, who was revealed to have failed his
pre-fight USADA drug tests. But eventually this fight went on (did you expect
any different?) and we witnessed the end (hopefully) of a Hall-of-Fame career.
Here are my random thoughts
and musings on this show...
- Devon Alexander captured the IBF welterweight
crown by decisioning Randall Bailey in an absolute snoozer of a fight. If this
12-rounder served any purpose, it was for all the college football fans who could
wrap up watching their games of choice without having to worry about missing
anything memorable on Showtime. Bailey has one thing left - the ability to sock
- but he's a badly faded fighter who simply can't pull the trigger anymore.
This bout was basically a Roth IRA for him - a nice way to pad his retirement
fund. As for Alexander, well, he's still good enough to spoil and win decisions
at 147. But just think about it; it was less than two years ago when he was put
into one of those “important fights” (which are seemingly only important to
those who believe in pound-for-pound lists) against Tim Bradley and was thought
of as a future star (but only by network executives whose sole opinions supersede
that of the fan-base that supports boxing).
Since that juncture,
Alexander made a load of money on HBO and Showtime while putting on one nondescript
performance after another. You get the sense that even his constituents in St.
Louis are a bit underwhelmed by him nowadays.
But don't worry; you'll
continue to see him on the premium cable networks even if there is no demand
for it. Why? Well, because for some reason, he's become a staple on those
platforms and his association with Al Haymon basically guarantees it.
- As competitive a fight as one can be
featuring six knockdowns of one fighter, Peter Quillin captured the WBO
middleweight crown against the resilient Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam. “Kid Chocolate”
is now a player in a very interesting division. It'll be just as interesting to
see how his career is now handled. With the association between the Barclays Center
and Golden Boy Promotions (which has an exclusive agreement with the venue),
Quillin has a place that he can fight on a regular basis.
I think down the line that a
match-up between he and WBA titlist Gennady Golovkin (who could be making his
Big Apple debut in the early part of 2013 at the Theater at Madison Square
Garden) can be a pretty big event in this part of the world.
Regardless, I get the sense
that Quillin will be in some entertaining fights. He has some offensive talent
and is just flawed enough to be touched up.
- OK, am I the only one who thought that Pablo
Cesar Cano - who came on hard the second half of the fight - did enough to beat
Paulie Malignaggi? That's what I thought. But judges Tom Miller and Nelson Vazquez
had the “Magic Man” up at the end of 12 by the identical scores of 114-113,
while Glenn Feldman had Cano up by the tally of 118-109. I think Malignaggi -
who was floored in the 11th inning - would even tell you that this
fight wasn't nearly that easy for him.
This was supposed to be a
WBA welterweight contest but Cano didn't make the 147-pound weight limit (making
him ineligible to win Malignaggi's belt). This was interesting given that he
began his career as a lightweight and was a career junior welterweight (which
was why he was largely chosen for this assignment) but for much of this
contest, he looked like the bigger, stronger fighter in there and was able to push
Malignaggi around. I think this will be a familiar theme with the native of
Brooklyn at this weight class. If you can deal with his quick jab and back him
up, he has a hard time keeping his foes off him. His lack of power is even more
pronounced in this division.
Is there any doubt that if
Ricky Hatton wins his comeback fight, we'll see a Malignaggi rematch in 2013?
- In the main event, Danny Garcia successfully
defended his WBA “super” and WBC junior welterweight titles by blowing away
Morales, who has nothing left but piss and vinegar. And the piss was beat out
of him on this night by an opponent who wasn't nearly as respectful in facing
him the second time around. Morales had a nice second career renaissance in
battling the likes of Marcos Maidana, Cano and Garcia (in their initial
contest) but right now he's at that “Joe Namath as a Los Angeles Ram/Hakeem Olajuwon
as a Toronto Raptor/Eric Dickerson as an Atlanta Falcon” stage of his career.
In other words, it's over.
Seeing him topple in
sections reminds one of an aged Joe Louis being halted by a young Rocky
Marciano. In boxing, they don't give you gold watches for your retirement. They
give you beatings.
Golden Boy took some heat
for putting on this fight but in all fairness, it was a rematch clause that was
enforced by Morales. Now, looking toward the future, Garcia may have a WBC
obligation to face “The Machine” Lucas Matthysse, who holds their “interim”
title and soundly defeated Ajose Olusegun (a fighter that neither Garcia or
Morales wanted any part of in the past year or so) but Jose Sulaiman and his
crew have a way of conveniently changing or ignoring their own rules. And you
wonder if Haymon will allow Garcia anywhere near this Argentinean force. What
Haymon wants, Golden Boy does. There is already some talk of facing Zab Judah,
who just refuses to go gently into the night with or without Main Events.
Now, it'll be interesting to
see if Judah, who had been previously ruled out by the premium cable networks, would
now be an approvable entity by Showtime now that Haymon and Golden Boy are
involved. Honestly, I don't think many observers and fans would have objected
to a Garcia-Judah clash this past weekend to christen the Barclays Center;
after all, it would've made promotional sense given that Zab is from this
borough. But now moving forward with better fights out there, this has the look
of how Top Rank is shielding Guillermo Rigondeaux from Nonito Donaire; doesn't
Then again, Golden Boy CEO Richard
Schaefer takes pride in being the anti-Arum and not “marinating” fights, giving
the fans what they want as soon as possible. OK, well, if Garcia goes in the
opposite direction and faces other Golden Boy clients, what do they tell
A lot was spoken about the
discounted tickets and freebies that were to be had for this card at the
Barclays Center (Atlantic Yards Report/ Barclays Center)
and while there was an announced crowd of over 11,000 on Saturday night, you
wonder how many of those tickets were actually sold at face value (again, the
big problem with doing this is you alienate those who bought tickets early on
in the process).
I got this email on Sunday
morning from a boxing insider (whose name will be kept secret to protect him
from any vindictiveness)...
Steve, I want to give you some information (and ammunition) in your campaign
against the ticket-comping fiasco you were tweeting about on
Friday. I know someone in the boxing industry who I wont name because I
don't want to embarrass him, but you know him too. He was so excited about big
time boxing coming to Brooklyn, he bought about ten of the $200 seats to Barclays almost as soon as they went on sale.
After the show, I met a guy in a bar who walked up to Barclay's ticket office a
couple of days before the fight and Barclay's offered him a much better $300
ringside seat for just $25!!! I asked the guy to show me the stub and I took a
picture of it... here it is, attached. As you can see it is section 1, row 9,
for just $25. And no, the guy who bought it was not an employee of Barclay's or
connected to the sport in any way other than as a fan. How do you think the guy
who spent 2 grand on worse tickets feels after seeing that? Do you think he
will be less likely or more likely to support boxing at Barclays in the future?
Mr. Insider, thank you for
this email. There's no doubt that everyone involved wanted to see a good crowd
inside the building. It just would've looked bad with unoccupied seats all over
the arena. So I can understand why this was done but in the long-term, aren't
you dis-incentivizing fans from buying tickets?
Maybe they really don't care
and it really doesn't matter. The reality is nowadays, promoters are largely
living off the largesse of the premium cable networks to provide exorbitant
license fees (in this case, Showtime put up right around $4 million) and it
doesn't matter if you sell a single ticket.
If the bout in Mexico between
Nonito Donaire and Jorge Arce does take place on December 15th, I'm
told Guillermo Rigondeaux would still be on that HBO-televised card...Middleweight
contender Matthew Macklin told me via Twitter (@mattmacklin) that he will have
an operation on his nose to sort out some breathing issues and will be out for
a spell...I'd favor “Special K” right now over Alexander...I wouldn't mind a
“Swift” Garcia-Josesito Lopez match-up one bit but remember, up till now,
Haymon has never matched two of his guys together in a fight...Had a great time
at the Montebello High homecoming get-together on Friday night. That letterman
jacket fits a bit tight now though...Based on résumé, I'd say Kansas State
makes a strong statement for being the top team in the land and Collin Klein is
my new Heisman Trophy front-runner...Is Adrian Peterson amazing or what? Didn't
he just have knee surgery about a month ago?....Miami hung in there as long as
they could versus a superior FSU squad. That loss reminded me a lot of the 1998
defeat to the ‘Noles. The ‘Canes need to get better upfront defensively and
that can only get done through recruiting...The Ravens defense got a boost from
Terrell Suggs but will they fall apart without the GOAT (Ray Lewis)?...I can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing.
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