I'm looking forward to boxing being back in Brooklyn, at Barclays Center, on Aug. 9, but I'm not guns 'a blazin' about the card as it stands now, I must admit. I'm never bummed at the prospect of seeing Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson and Danny Jacobs live...but on paper, their foes don't scream "the best fighting the best."
As usual, when faced with this reaction, I am hopeful that my instinct is erroneous, and the bouts play out in a dramatic fashion. And I will admit, it isn't the rare instance when the makers of the matches are proven to know what they are doing, and the bouts turn out to be better than they appear on paper. Hey, maybe Edgar Santana knows his window to contend is closing and he springs the mad upset. Maybe Fletcher possesses skills and electricity which I haven't picked up on YouTubes. Maybe Salka pulls a Mauricio Herrera and outboxes Garcia. One never knows, until one knows...
UPDATED TUESDAY NIGHT: I reached out to Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza, to give him an opportunity to give some insight on this top of the card. He told me he wanted a Danny Garcia-Lamont Peterson fight, but "couldn't get it." Asked to elaborate, he said it wasn't a money issue, but that promoter Golden Boy couldn't make it happen now. He likened it to how HBO and company couldn't make a Sergey Kovalev-Adonis Stevenson bout without first having to craft interims for each. I noted how that pairing would have been met kindly by fans. "Including by me," he responded.
He said also that he thinks Salka is "slightly better than Gabriel Bracero" because of his wins over Rigo Alvarez, Canelos' bro, despite the judges saying otherwise, and then 18-0 Alexei Collado, in his last outing. Espinoza deems the 35-year-old Santana, a winner of three straight, a "live dog."
And what of Fletcher? "Of the three opponents, Fletcher seems like the biggest question mark," he said.
I checked in with fighter/Showtime analyst Paul Malignaggi to get his assessment. The vet said that usually, summertime cards aren't blockbusters and are often landing strips for lesser known fighters to shine. "I don't think anyone expected last years' July 26 Showtime card to be a blockbuster on paper and it turned out to be possibly the best card of a very solid year on the network."
"I don't expect anyone to show up just to lay down and give the bigger name fighters an easy title defense," he continued.
He called Santana "a solid technical fighter" with some pop. "He can punch, I know, I have sparred him." He also said that Garcia has shown himself to be susceptible to crafty boxers who can stick to a gameplan, and Salka maybe could do that. "He was robbed blind against Canelos' brother and I'm glad to see him rewarded for the performance instead of being robbed and hidden under the rug like so many robbed fighters wind up."
And as for Jacobs' foe, Paulie said he hasn't scouted Fletcher much, but that fight is "a step in the right direction up the ladder" for the Brooklyn boxer. "He's young and improving both physically and mentally."
All in all, Malignaggi says that it is sometimes good for lesser fighters to get a shot, as he did against Miguel Cotto in 2006, as Chris Algieri just did against Ruslan Provodnikov. "Sometimes it's not bad to give lesser known fighters a shot if they have the ability to compete."
Measured stuff from the vet; we shall see how it plays out, right friends?
Here is the release which was sent out for the Golden Boy promotion, portions of which will run on Showtime.
DANNY GARCIA, LAMONT PETERSON AND DANIEL JACOBS TO HEADLINE GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS’ RETURN TO BROOKLYN’S BARCLAYS CENTERSATURDAY, AUGUST 9 LIVE ON SHOWTIME®
TICKETS GO ON SALE FRIDAY, JUNE 27 AT NOON ET
BROOKLYN (June 24, 2014) – Golden Boy Promotions is back at Barclays Center onSaturday, August 9, with a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® tripleheader featuring the sport’s brightest young stars in pivotal world title fights. Boxing on Brooklyn’s biggest stage will be Unified Junior Welterweight World Champion Danny “Swift” Garcia who will meet“Lightning” Rod Salka, IBF 140-Pound Titleholder Lamont Peterson who will face New York’s Edgar “El Chamaco” Santana and Brooklyn’s own Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs will challenge Australia’s Jarrod “Left Jab” Fletcher for the vacant WBA World Middleweight Championship.
“This is my third fight at Barclays Center, and it feels like a second home to me,” said Garcia, the undefeated Philadelphia native. “I’ll be ready for Rod Salka, and I’m going to give my Brooklyn fans another great show.”
“This is the biggest stage I have fought on in my career, but that doesn’t intimidate me,” said Salka. “Danny Garcia is beatable, and I’m going to show the world how it’s done. My experience has prepared me for this, and I will be ready on August 9.”
“I’m really excited about this fight and about making a statement to the boxing world that I’m the true junior welterweight world champion,” said Peterson. “I know Danny will be watching me, and I’ll be watching him. After August 9, there will be only one fight to make at 140 pounds.”
“I want to thank Lamont Peterson and his team for giving me this opportunity. This has been a long time coming for me and I’m just so excited and thankful to finally be getting a crack at the world championship,” said Santana. “This is an absolute pleasure for me to get this opportunity, especially since the fight is taking place right here in my hometown of New York. I haven’t fought here in a couple of years and I expect to have a ton of people there to support me come August 9.”
“This whole comeback has been a dream so far, and what better way to keep it going than with a world title fight in my borough?” said Jacobs, who battled back from a bout with cancer to earn a shot at the WBA championship. “This is the fight I’ve been waiting for and no one will keep me from that belt.”
“I know that the hometown crowd will be in Jacob's corner, but that's fine,” said Fletcher. “My goal like Daniel's is to win the WBA Middleweight title – and regardless of where the fight is taking place, I intend on having my hand raised and hearing the ring announcer say ‘AND THE NEW WBA Middleweight World Champion Jarrod "Left Jab" Fletcher...!’”
“We are thrilled to be able to bring such a stacked card; this should help answer any and all questions about the future of Golden Boy Promotions – it is brighter than ever,” said Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. “Barclays Center and the Brooklyn fans have been great supporters of Golden Boy boxing, and we can't wait to bring them another great show on August 9.”
“SHOWTIME continues to deliver the deepest fight cards in boxing,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “Three world title fights featuring young, dynamic, American champions at the electrifying Barclays Center in Brooklyn is a recipe for great sports television and the standard for SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.”
“You know it’s going to be a great night of boxing when Danny Garcia and Brooklyn’s own Danny Jacobs are on the fight card at Barclays Center,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Barclays Center. “Both of these boxers have captivated audiences in their previous fights at Barclays Center and we are delighted that they are returning to Brooklyn’s most celebrated ring. Golden Boy is once again delivering great boxing to Barclays Center.”
Now in his third year as a world champion, Danny “Swift” Garcia (28-0, 16 KOs) has already made five successful title defenses. He’s defeated Amir Khan, Erik Morales, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse and Mauricio Herrera. Still just 26-years-old, Garcia’s fan base is growing with each bout, which isn’t a surprise given his fan-friendly style and willingness to fight all challengers.
Unbeaten in four of his last five fights, with the only loss coming via controversial decision to Ricardo Alvarez last December, Bunola, Pennsylvania's “Lightning” Rod Salka (19-3, 3 KOs) is a skilled boxer who doesn't mind battling it out in the trenches if necessary, making his upcoming bout with Garcia one fight fans won't want to miss. A professional since 2007, the 31-year-old Salka just handed highly touted Alexei Collado his first loss on April 18, and he expects to shock the boxing world once more on August 9.
Washington, D.C.’s Lamont Peterson (32-2-1, 16 KOs) is a gifted boxer-puncher with much heart and talent. Like Garcia, the 30-year-old Peterson is another longtime champion. He has held a version of the 140-pound crown since 2011, defeating the likes of Amir Khan and Kendall Holt. Peterson is coming off an impressive 12-round unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten Dierry Jean in January.
Unbeaten in eight of his last nine bouts, including his last three straight fights, New York City’sEdgar “El Chamaco” Santana (29-4, 20 KOs) was long considered one of the city’s top prospects, and now the current NABA champion will get his long-awaited shot at a world championship. Owner of wins over Josesito Lopez, Grover Wiley and Luis Hernandez, the 35-year-old Santana always comes to fight, and he will be bringing it from rounds one through 12 onAugust 9.
Perhaps the most inspirational figure in boxing today, Brooklyn’s Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs(27-1, 24 KOs) seemed to be a lock for world title honors before cancer threatened his life and kept him out of the ring for 19 months. But when he returned, he picked up where he left off, securing five straight wins, all by knockout. On August 9, boxing’s most amazing comeback story could get a new chapter if Jacobs can win a world title at home.
Fighting out of Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia, 30-year-old Jarrod “Left Jab” Fletcher (18-1, 10 KOs) is a former star amateur who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as the Australian team captain. Turning pro in 2009, Fletcher has won all but one of his 19 pro bouts. Currently on a six-fight winning streak, Fletcher is in the best form of his career as he approaches his first world title shot.
The event is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and is sponsored by Corona and AT&T. Tickets priced at $250, $125, $75, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes and service charges go on sale Friday, June 27 at noon ET and are available for purchase at www.barclayscenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations, by calling 800-745-3000 and at the American Express Box Office. For group tickets, please call 800-GROUP-BK.
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