(Danny Garcia drops Erik Morales; photo credit: Tom Casino, Showtime)
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Danny Garcia (24-0) came out a little tight, a little wild as he and Erik Morales (52-8) kicked off their do-over Saturday on Showtime at the Barclays Center.
Legendary Mexican Brawler Morales looked to be in good form early, pressing the action and as game as ever.
In the 3rd round, however, Garcia landed an incredible right cross that that would have felled a lesser man. Morales staggered back to his corner, and looked shaken.
In round 4, Garcia unloaded a body twisting left hook that spun “El Terrible” 180 degrees and down on his back through the ropes, half onto the ring apron, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
Garcia improves to 25-0 and now Morales will have to decide whether to continue his Hall of Fame career.
Welterweight Paulie Malignaggi (31-4) faced off with Pablo Cesar Cano (26-1-1) in the featured undercard bout. In what appeared at first to be a likely fencing match, round 2 saw a bad cut open above Cano’s left eye.
Brooklyn’s own Malignaggi was the arbiter of that blood but looked to have lost just enough speed in a 35-fight career to make things interesting. Malignaggi flicked his boxers jab in an effort to control space, while rough and tumble Cano launched overhand right haymakers with surprising success at times.
Like bull and matador, they moved in unison for much of the fight.
By round 8 Cano’s cut was a grisly envelope of meat and the fight was turning into a tight affair. In round 11 Malignaggi took it on the chin and was dumped to the mat setting the stage for an intriguing final round. That last frame took its pattern from much of the fight, Malignaggi jabbing and holding, Cano pressing but without huge dividends paid out.
Final scores read 118-109 for Cano and 114-113 twice for Malignaggi, giving the Brooklynite the victory. The crowd erupted with notable disgust at the decision.
Chants of “USA!” erupted to kick off middleweight Peter Quillin’s bout with Frenchman Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in a battle of unbeaten 27 win fighters.
N’Dam came out with a quick impressive jab and established himself as a credible foe from the start. In round 3 he peppered Quillin along the ropes and snapped “The Chocolate Kids” head around with a beautiful right hand.
With the voice of Mike Tyson echoing in his ears from a between-rounds ringside interview that drove the crowd wild and went into fight time, Quillin seemed to conjure some of the living legend’s explosiveness, batting N’Dam around the ring for three minutes of round 4, sending the unbeaten man caterwauling into the ropes, and later to the mat several times.
A nice bounceback 5th round was undone in the 6th with the very game N’Dam going down twice more. The 7th proved to be another strong round for N’Dam moving his man to the ropes… or being led into a trap.
Quillin’s possum play ended with him getting the worse of the exchanges as the Frenchman showed grit and determination. N’Dam was simply out working and outhustling Quillin in 8 and 9. In round 10 both undefeated men fought hard and entertained, with Quillin landing bigger shots, but less frequently.
In 11 they breathed.
N’Dam seemed to be taking the 12th with his relentlessness in a bid to pull even when chants of “Peter” rumbled forth from the crowd awakening their hometown boy. He responded with an electrifying hook to drop the tenacious N’Dam. Moments later a second knockdown capped the fight just before the final bell was struck.
Quillin stayed undefeated with scores of 115-107 by all three judges. N’Dam suffered his first loss, but likely wins a host of fans who had never before heard of him.
Welterweight Dimitry Salida (34-1-1), fighting uncharacteristically in a six round bout, took a few stanzas to feel out unheralded Brandon Hoskins (16-2-1). By Round 5 action started to percolate, as Salida managed to stagger the Hannibal, Mo. journeyman. Both men connected with solid punches sensing they needed to make something happen. Trading volleys in the final round, the bout ended just as things hinted at getting volatile. Following the bell Salida was awarded a decision by scores of 60-54 and 59-55 twice.
As the bell rang, middleweight Danny Jacobs (22-1) stalked across the ring hands down, looking supremely confident to thunderous cheers from his hometown crowd. Josh Luteran (13-1) launched a quick swipe at Jacobs, immediately eliciting gasps from the crowd.
That proved to be his most impressive moment of the fight, as Jacobs peppered the Hollywood native’s body for the first minute of the round, then began to tee off at its midway point.
Moments later a crisp left hook, followed by a clean up right uppercut splayed “The Existential Outlaw,” Luteran, flat out on his back. He remained on the mat for several minutes as Jacobs was declared the winner by TKO and improved to 23-1.