By Aaron Reynolds
Going, going back, back to… Brooklyn?
The borough may be more commonly associated with hip-hop and basketball, but come October 20, Brooklyn will also claim a stake in the fruitful territory of boxing. In case you haven’t already heard the Nets are moving back to Brooklyn this fall and in the meantime their new home – the Barclays Center – is hosting a housewarming for boxing.
Golden Boy Promotions announced this week that junior welterweight titlist Danny Garcia will make his second defense, October 20, in a rematch against former belt-holder Erik Morales in the main event of a Showtime-televised card. Additionally, Brooklyn born and raised Paulie Malignaggi will make his initial welterweight title defense on the undercard against Pablo Cesar Cano. Not one, but two major cards on the East Coast come October? Wake me up and slap me silly.
Golden Boy Promotions has already inked a multiyear deal with the Brooklyn Nets new home as an opportunity to once again get fans inside the States excited about boxing. It’s a great idea and considering how negative I have been about America’s impact on boxing of late (read: http://www.thebestboxingblog.com/us-boxing-needs-a-new-superstar.html) this is really, really good news for the sport.
Golden Boy Promotions did a phenomenal job of putting together their fights for the Barclays Center. In the main card, fans will have an opportunity to root for American prodigy Danny Garcia (he’s from Philadelphia) against Mexico legend Erik Morales. Despite their age gap, the rematch has the potential to be a really good fight with their Puerto Rican and Mexican heritage fueling a popular draw.
Meanwhile, in the under card, Pablo Cesar Cano (22), of Mexico, will have difficulty swaying the crowd as hometown favorite Malignaggi (31) returns to Brooklyn for the first time since making his pro debut in July 2001. It’s another stellar matchup of a local champ facing off against a Mexican-born fighter from a culture that absolutely worship’s the sport.
It has been decades since there was a world title fighter in Brooklyn, and you really couldn’t ask for better timing. Boxing is in a state of flux, and I think the sport needs to ignore the dollar signs and return to its roots. A big time fight belongs more in a place like Brooklyn than it does in Los Angeles, Las Vegas even. Boxing has a history of creating champs that literally come from nothing and the drive and determination of its fighters represents the work ethic of a borough like Brooklyn.
I don’t know that Golden Boy Promotions decision to host some marquee events at the Barclays Center is the ultimate savior, but kids that are attending or watching the fight come October may be inspired, and ten to fifteen years from now on their way to fighting for a title, in Brooklyn, born and raised as its own.
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