The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY has been open less than a year, but it has already showcased some of the brightest stars in boxing. Fight fans in the New York/New Jersey area have been hoping to have more fights in this area for years.
In the mid to late 80’s the boxing scene was hot on the East coast as Mike Tyson would have some of his most impressive fights in Atlantic City such as his knockouts against Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks.
However in the 1990’s,Tyson and other boxing superstars such as Oscar De La Hoya would fight almost exclusively in Las Vegas. This pattern would continue in the 2000’s as boxing’s biggest stars such as Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao would have their biggest fights in Las Vegas. The only time the East Coast would have a huge boxing event would be when Felix Trinidad or Miguel Cotto would fight in Madison Square Garden, or Arturo Gatti would fight in Atlantic City.
When the Barclays Center opened in the fall of 2012, fight fans were hoping for the return of the big fights with some of the biggest names in boxing. Not too long after the Barclays Center opened, they would get their wish. On October 20th 2012, Golden Boy Productions would put together the first boxing card in the new arena. The event would showcase rising stars in Danny Garcia and Devon Alexander. Alexander would defeat Randall Bailey by a unanimous decision to win the IBF Welterweight title, and Garcia would knockout future Hall of Famer Erik Morales in the 4th round to retain his WBC and WBA junior Welterweight titles. Garcia knocked out Morales with a devastating left hook that was one of the best knockouts in 2012.
The event was a huge success and soon after more boxing events would be scheduled in the months to follow.
On March 9th 2013 boxing would come back to the Barclays Center and this time the main event was between IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Tavoris Cloud and future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins.
Hopkins would go on to defeat Cloud by a unanimous decision and in the process break his own record by becoming the oldest man to win a title at the age of 48. It also should be noted that this was possibly the last major fight that Don King will ever be involved in. The legendary promoter has become less relevant in boxing since the emergence of Golden Boy Promotions.
Cloud is King’s last major fighter and with Cloud losing, we may never witness King in the boxing limelight again. Hopkins reiterated this fact at his post-fight press conference stating who would have thought he would be the one to retire Don King. The feud between Hopkins and King goes back years when King was Hopkins’ promoter.
So far this year the best fight at the Barclays Center happened on April 27th when Danny Garcia defended his titles against Brooklyn Native Zab “Super” Judah. It was an action packed brutal fight that saw both fighters sustain cuts. Garcia controlled the early part of the fight, and later knocking Judah down in the 8th round. Judah would fight valiantly for the last four rounds and even stunned Garcia a few times. Garcia would hold on and win a unanimous decision, and after the fight the two men embraced as a sign of respect.
The most anticipated fight taking place at the Barclays Center will happen on June 23rd as another Brooklyn native Paulie Malignaggi (32-4 7 KOs) will take center stage as he defends his WBA Welterweight title against fast rising star Adrien “The Problem” Broner (26-0 22KOs). Broner is moving up two weight classes to challenge Malignaggi, and is being groomed to become boxing’s next superstar. Broner is already mentioned as one of the best fighters pound for pound in the sport. The buildup to this fight has been huge as both fighters and their camps have been engaging in verbal exchanges for weeks. Malignaggi and Broner are two of the best trash talkers in the business, and if the fight can live up to the talk everyone will be in for a treat.
With all of these great fights featuring some of boxing’s best stars it’s without a doubt that the boxing scene in the East Coast is at its highest peak in decades. Look for the Barclays to put on more exciting bouts between boxing’s best later this fall and for years to come. Who knows maybe in a few years will be calling the Barclays Center the new mecca of boxing.