Boxing fans got nearly an five hour block of fights last night on Showtime with Golden Boy’s quadruple-header from the Barclays Center. Did it deliver? In a word, yes. Nearly all the fights were entertaining with an assortment of drama, knockdowns and a sad but devastating, highlight-reel knockout in the main event. Let’s get right to it.
DANNY GARCIA TKO4 ERIK MORALES: Even with the shame of the steroid controversy, I don’t think any fan that’s followed this sport at least the last 10 years or more wasn’t saddened by this knockout. On Twitter, I likened it to how Rocky Marciano ended Joe Louis’ career by knocking him through the ropes. Every solid punch shook Morales badly; the body shots shuddered his entire body. In the fourth, Garcia landed a pinpoint right cross that Morales’ equilibrium never recovered from. The same counter left hook that floored Amir Khan nearly had Morales doing a 360 before he crashed through the bottom rope. The only saving grace here is that his corner rightly jumped in to protect him. We’re all begging for Morales to retire, but he only went as far as saying this was his last fight in America. The old warrior wants to say a proper goodbye in Mexico, which we can only hope will be against a guy at the absolute lowest level. I can understand Morales not wanting his career ended with a positive steroid bust, taunts from Team Garcia and a possible KO of the Year loss, but the idea of him taking any more punches makes me cringe.
PAULIE MALIGNAGGI SD12 PABLO CESAR CANO: Did Christmas come early for the Magic Man? It’s telling that even in his Brooklyn hometown, the reaction was very mixed when he got the decision. For the record, I had the fight very close until the knockdown, and Cano definitely took the 12th as well. I felt a draw was fair, but Paulie taking it by a point on two cards (114-113) isn’t a robbery. Early on Paulie looked great; the left jab was sharp and the right opened a long, jagged cut over the left eye that looked to be a potential fight-ender. But by the third, Cano started finding a home for right hands and his thudding hooks to the body had Paulie laboring by the late rounds.
How you scored this fight really comes down to your preference. If you like boxers/stylists, you were probably taken by Paulie’s ring generalship and workrate. If power and aggression is your thing, you’ll side with Cano, who clearly landed the harder shots in nearly all the rounds (which accounts for that very wide, sole score of 118-109 for Cano). Depending on how Hatton looks, I wouldn’t mind Malignaggi’s proposition that they fight again next year. Malignaggi is looking to cash out and it’s one of best options at welterweight as far as a winnable, big fight. But if that fight doesn’t come off, Cano deserves a rematch.
PETER QUILLIN UD12 HASSAN N’DAM: This is the most entertaining six-knockdown fight I’ve ever seen. First off, N’Dam has a huge heart. Those left hooks Quillin landed were frightening and it seemed after every knockdown the fight was one solid shot from being over. But every time, N’Dam not only fired back, but he came forward and had Quillin at times in retreat. I had picked Quillin to score a KO simply because I thought N’Dam was too reckless and Quillin’s better technique would catch him. I was right about the latter, but N’Dam showed no quit whatsoever. It’s worth noting that the majority of observers had N’Dam winning all the rounds he wasn’t knocked down in. But, that means little when you’re talking three 10-7 rounds. So now that Quillin has the WBO middleweight title, where does he go from here? The two name fighters in the WBO rankings are Marco Antonio Rubio and Dmitry Pirog. I’d love the latter, but considering what Pirog did to Al Haymon’s last young middleweight (Danny Jacobs), I don’t see that one happening. Rubio is always a solid test so I could see that happening. Quillin also mentioned Matthew Macklin’s name in our interview, and Macklin definitely deserves a title shot after his performance against Joachim Alcine on the Martinez-Chavez Jr. undercard.
DEVON ALEXANDER UD12 RANDALL BAILEY: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! This fight wasn’t a good way to start the card. In fact, this should have been on Showtime Extreme instead of Danny Jacobs vs. Josh Luteran. I put more of the blame on Bailey, who failed to really uncork that right hand outside of two solid shots in the fifth. Sure, Alexander’s strategy of movement and turning him played a part, but the 38 year old Bailey showed no urgency throughout the fight. Now that Alexander has the IBF welterweight title, what’s his next move? Since Malignaggi has sights on Hatton, Alexander taking on the winner of Robert Guerrero vs. Andre Berto next month is an option, or even Kell Brook, who had a dominating KO win this weekend. One thing’s for sure is that we do not need to see another Alexander fight like this.
DANNY JACOBS TKO1 JOSH LUTERAN: Welcome back, Danny! His story is inspirational no matter where he ends up in his career. Like he said with his on-air interview, he has a greater appreciation of life and maturity that can only come from facing down death. Jacobs needs a lot more rounds under him, so about this time next year is when we’ll start to see where Jacobs fits in with the middleweight division.