You still see some elements of old-style NYC when you’re in the Village, as you walk the streets, as the summertime waft of settled garbage assaults your nostrils, but can’t defeat the pleasant aura brought about by the shining of the sun and the sight of the ladies in their summer dresses flouncing down the sidewalk.
You’ll see a snatch of graffiti, or a moldy but intriguing vintage shop, with a poster of Fat Elvis, looking bloated but sexy, still, in the smudged window.
But the signs of new New York are more prevalent as I walk to Via Della Pace, a cozy Italian eatery in the East Village, to meet and greet and question two of the guys topping the Aug. 1 boxing card at Barclays Center, because I see swankier shops, and folks in better brands of clothes and fewer nodded off eyelids attached to zombified junkies as you might have seen decades ago.
New New York…and the same goes for boxing…things change.
Barclays Center has become home to more bouts, more big cards, as disruptor in chief Al Haymon seeks to re-brand the sport. Brooklyn is a buzzy borough, and it figures that he siphons some of that buzz which can attach to his fights, such as the Danny Garcia-Paul Malignaggi tangle which will unfold the first week of August.
Barclays boss Brett Yormark, tucking into a grilled chicken salad with balsalmic dressing, and tossing back an espresso, was there, along with Malignaggi, who still has fighter/analyst on his business card. At 34 he is seeking to prove he’s still got fight left in him, that his fists are his primary weapon, that his mouth is still a secondary threat. Also in attendance was middleweight titlist Danny Jacobs, ever amiable, unfailingly polite while being asked about when he might step up to fight Gennady Golovkin, though he has a stern test, in Sergio Mora, staring at him Aug. 1. The promoter of the event, Brooklyn’s Lou DiBella, was making the rounds, also repping some old and new vibes. He was on the outside looking in when Golden Boy, the old Golden Boy, snagged a deal to be the sole promoter to stage shows at Barclays, back in 2012, and he let loose with his distaste for the move in the press back then. But on Wednesday, he spoke warmly of Yormark, who he declared to be a vibrant pusher of boxing product, a committed proponent of holding a marquee card a month at his building. They are working well together, he reported.
Malignaggi, but of course, did what he does second best, talk, and he told us he’s dialed in, in training, feeling good, and confident that he can beat Garcia, in the Philly fighters’ first fight at 147. The Brooklyner told us that he is feeling good weight-wise, because he has enlisted Memo Heredia to aid in supplement advice, as well as what and when to eat. Yep, he’s 34, and he admits that part gets harder as you get older. “I feel good, I feel really good right now. We had back to back camps and we’re working really smart, more so than working hard,” he told me. He had a show set May 23, but got cut and that got scratched. A better opp presented itself, as Danny O’Connor got replaced by Danny Garcia.
“Yeah, I’m with Memo…he’s actually going to come in this weekend,” he told me. Memo was in his corner working to that May date, he said, and he’s been taking the supplements Memo has advised him to. Basically, he thinks the taking of the supplements is mostly mental, unless you’re cheating, but he’s open to listening. Paulie said he’s doing testing, via USADA, and so he’s fine with having Heredia, who has a controversial past, in the fold. “He’s an intelligent guy, I think he gets a bad rep, because of certain past things,” but he thinks Memo is on the up and up, and he’s enjoyed the advice he gets on weigh loss. He said he wonders why Heredia gets more scrutiny than, say, Victor Conte, being that have cloudy pasts.
The boxer said he’s not willing to go all in, and over-tweak his regimen. He’s brought himself to this dance and his way will be the highway he travels all the way in this journey, he said.
Jacobs took questions about his tangle with Mora, the slick, smart Cali boxer. Jacobs said that Mora is a tough out, intelligent, crafty, “a tough test for anyone.”
The hitter said that he was happy with his last outing a TKO12W over Caleb Truax, and gave himself a B plus. This time, we could see something different, which I take to mean maybe he’s going to look to set down a bit more, look to land nastier, earlier. Jacobs didn’t want to give much in the way of hints, though…
If he does get past Mora, it’s feeling like a showdown with fellow New Yorker Peter Quillin could be in the cards for the fall. That seems a natural fit for Barclays, eh..
Readers, your thoughts on both those matchups, please. Weigh in, in our Forum!
Here is the release which went out, with quotes: