Barclays kicks off August with Garcia, Jacobs, Malignaggi and Mora

PBC on ESPN

 

Danny Garcia vs. Paul Malignaggi

 

WBA “regular” middleweight world champion Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs, 29-1 (26), returns to the ring in his hometown of Brooklyn to take on former world junior middleweight champion Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora, 28-3-2 (9) on a Premier Boxing Champions ESPN prime time show on Saturday, Aug. 1 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. This intriguing opener will set the stage for the main event between undefeated, Philadelphia-based superstar Danny “Swift” Garcia, 30-0 (17), and Brooklyn’s own Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi, 33-6 (7).

 

Juniata Park, Philadelphia’s Garcia is making the long-anticipated jump up seven pounds north from junior welterweight to the welterweight division. After fighting two catchweight fights between the two divisions, it was long rumored that Garcia would be making the full-time move to the star-studded welterweight ranks.

 

Garcia has spent his entire career in the junior welter ranks where he holds wins over names like Amir Khan, Zab Judah and Erik Morales (twice). Despite battling Malignaggi in Paulie’s hometown of Brooklyn, Garcia has four appearances at the Barclays Center, so he’s certainly working in a familiar setting.

 

Garcia was able to make the 140-pound weight limit and retain his strength and stamina for years. However, as he approached his mid-20s, it has become harder and harder to safely make the junior welterweight limit. So it should come as a welcome relief for the popular slugger to train without the stress of the strength-sapping weight drain in the closing days before he steps on the scales.

 

The 147-pound rankings include some great options for the likes of a star such as Garcia. The division includes champions like Britain’s Kell Brook (IBF), Florida’s Keith Thurman (WBA “regular”) and, of course, pound-for-pound star Floyd Mayweather Jr. (WBC, WBA, THE RING). The division also has a litany of popular, longtime contenders like Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley, Marcos Maidana and Amir Khan, who would all do boffo biz at the gate with Garcia. The options are many for a rugged, fearless slugger like “Swift,” if he can make the transition to the welter ranks.

 

Malignaggi, now a popular (and very good) ringside announcer for the Showtime network will step out from behind the microphone to lace up the gloves once again. While the popular Brooklyn native admittedly loves his announcing gig, he apparently still has the boxing bug and, at age 34, wanted to give it one more shot before the undefeated “Father Time” comes knocking. The former world champion, based on experience and ring savvy alone, poses a decent test to kick off Garcia’s new venture at 147 pounds. Paulie is known more for his boxing and slick movement than punching power as Malignaggi has just seven KO wins in his 33-6 record. The “Magic Man” hasn’t fought since he was stopped by Shawn Porter in the fourth round of their April 2014 IBF welterweight title fight. This comeback assignment certainly isn’t looked on as an easy comeback foray for Paulie. However, he also knows, at his age and with his past big fight experience, he doesn’t have to go down the traditional “stepping stone” road (to accumulate some wins) to earn a championship-level assignment. His resume alone puts him right back into the elite mix for at least for one shot. Malignaggi’s past accomplishments have earned him this bout (and paycheck). Obviously a good result will play a big part in determining whether he continues and a tough night might confirm whether or not he is done at the elite level.

 

In recent, pre-fight interviews, both boxers eagerly anticipated the fight but were also very respectful toward one another.

 

“It’s going to be a great fight against Paulie on Aug. 1,” Garcia said. “I’m looking forward to getting in the ring again in my fifth appearance at Barclays Center and putting on a great show for the East Coast fans in attendance and the fans watching all over the world. By the end of the night, I will still be the undefeated Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia.”

 

Former world champion Malignaggi, a little more subdued in his response and prediction, said, “Although I have a ton of respect for Danny and his father [and trainer] Angel, both for what they’ve accomplished in the ring as well as the bond they share as father/son, I, like them, am a competitor through and through and, in this sport, it’s all about testing yourself against the elite. So I look forward to matching my skills against Danny’s on August 1.”

 

 

Daniel Jacobs vs. Sergio Mora

 

In the card’s warm-up slot is Danny Jacobs, who will defend his middleweight title against Sergio Mora. Jacobs, who, just a few short years ago, was battling osteosarcoma, a life-threatening form of bone cancer, is looking to make the second defense of his strap, coming off a 12-round TKO over Minnesota’s Caleb Truax in April. The Barclays Center has been a good room for Jacobs, as it was when he won the title in Aug. 2014, stopping Jarrod Fletcher in five rounds.

 

For Mora, this is his chance to resurrect his career. He is a fighter who has garnered the most attention during his professional run, winning “The Contender” television series back in 2005. His title-winning effort (beating the late Vernon Forrest over 12 rounds) was seven years ago and his time as the star of the TV screen was a decade ago. So Mora knows that, at age 34, the time is now to show the boxing industry that he still has world-class skills. “The Latin Snake” enters the bout coming off five straight wins dating back to 2013 after going 2-3-1 between 2008 and 2012.

 

Both fighters are confident going into the bout. Jacobs is looking to build on his previous win and sew up a possible unification bout in the middleweight division. As for Mora, he looks to regain the championship form that took him to the WBC title in 2008.

 

“I’m just excited to be on this great card and to be able to perform at Barclays Center is an honor,” said Jacobs. “I’m looking forward to making the best out of this opportunity and, most importantly, I want to give the Brooklyn fans a great show. I get to go to work in my own backyard.”

 

Mora is also looking forward to going into Jacobs’ backyard and showing the boxing world he isn’t done at the elite tier of boxing.

 

“I went back to the drawing board, worked hard and now I’m blessed to be a part of this great event. I don’t plan to let this opportunity get by me. On August 1, I’m coming to Brooklyn to win.”

 

As the penultimate month of summer kicks off in New York, boxing in the borough heats up at Barclays. Four of boxing’s big names are competing to head into autumn with a great win on their resume; two fighters are looking to show they are back and two fighters want to show they aren’t going anywhere.

 

 

Billy’s predictions:

 

Garcia TKO later rounds (accumulation or cuts) over Malignaggi

 

Jacobs UD 12 Mora

 

 

Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at bill.tibbs@ucnlive.com and you can follow him at twitter.com/tibbs_bill.

 

 

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