CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
Champions Collide: Garcia-Peterson, Lee-Quillin at Barclays
Undefeated unified WBC/WBA junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs) returns to the Barclays Center for the fourth time in his career to challenge IBF 140-pound champion, Lamont Peterson (33-2-1. 17 KOs) to a non-title, catch-weight fight. The two will meet on Saturday, April 11, as part of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions series to be televised on NBC Sports beginning at 8:30 PM.
“It’s an honor to be fighting back in Brooklyn where I’ve experienced some of the best moments of my career,” said Garcia. “Fans have been asking for this fight for so long and on April 11 I’m planning on giving them the show they’ve been waiting for. Doing it live on NBC will make it even sweeter.”
In his last appearance at the Barclays Center in August, Garcia posted a highlight-reel knockout of overmatched Rod Salka in another non-title fight. Garcia was simply too big, too fast, and powerful for the severely overmatched Salka, who crumbled to Garcia’s famous left-hook in the third round.
Garcia will have his hands full when he fights Peterson, another world champion in the junior welterweight division. Peterson, although he is a world champion, was written off after Lucas Matthysse punished him in three brutal rounds in a 2013 non-title fight. Since then Peterson has successfully defended his belt twice, but hasn’t had a significant victory since he upset Amir Khan to capture the once unified WBA/IBF 140-pound titles in December 2011.
Peterson must relish the chance to unseat one of boxing’s rising champions in Garcia, who has impressive wins against Matthysse, Khan, Zab Judah, and a pair of wins against future Hall of Famer Erik Morales.
“This is an amazing opportunity for me fighting in Brooklyn and on national TV in front of millions of people,” said Peterson. “I’m going to go out there and give the performance of a lifetime. Danny Garcia better not underestimate me, because my time is now.”
In the co-featured main event: former WBO middleweight champion ‘Kid Chocolate’ Peter Quillin will fight for a world championship he never lost in the ring. Following the birth of his daughter last year, Quillin vacated the WBO 160-pound title and a $1 million-dollar payday to defend his title in what would have been an easy fight against Matt Korobov.
Instead, Irish Andy Lee (34-2, 24 KOs) knocked out Korobov to claim the vacant title and is scheduled to make his first title defense against Quillin (31-0, 22 KOs). Both fighters are popular fixtures on the New York fight scene. Lee has always performed well in New York, while Quillin has fought professionally in New York on twenty occasions. Quillin became a world champion at the Barclays Center (October 2012) and made his first title defense there as well (April 2013).
“To be able to fight at home in Brooklyn and win a title on such a big stage is a dream come true,” said Quillin. “I’m honored and excited to be a part of something that is great for my career, but also for the sport of boxing as a whole. I know that I’m going to win on April 11, become champion once again, and then I’m going after anyone and everyone at 160 pounds.”
No one expected Quillin to vacate his world title, and the boxing world was very shocked to see Lee win his first world title to end 2014. Lee, one of the hardest punchers in the middleweight division, isn’t prepared to relinquish his dream of being a world champion simply because Quillin wants his title back.
“I’m looking forward to returning to New York and defending my title against Quillin,” said Lee. “I’m at the peak of my powers now. I cannot see myself losing to anyone. I want to be recognized as the best middleweight in the world and beating Quillin will go some way to proving that.”
In June 2012, Lee’s only world title opportunity was a disappointing knockout loss to Julio Cesar Chavez for the WBC middleweight title. Since then, Lee has won his last six fights in impressive fashion.
Tickets for this event are priced at $300, $200, $100, and $50 and are available through barclayscenter.com, or www.ticketmaster.com. To charge by phone, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. For group tickets, please call 800-GROUP-BK.