The parade of 154-pound champions and Saturday night was the beginning of a boxing season in New York and the PBC did their part showcasing three title bouts that were broadcast on Showtime Boxing from the Barclays Center. There is more to come in the coming months including a heavyweight title defense for Deontay Wilder at Barclays in three weeks.
Then it turns to Daniel Jacobs and the middleweight title picture at the Nassau Coliseum a week later, and three shows at Madison Square Garden in the span of a month highlighted with Top Rank showcasing Vasily Lomachenko the junior lightweight champion against super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Golden Boy Promotions a week before showcases the last fight of Miguel Cotto the four-time division champion.
In between, another show at the Garden, November 25th with Main Events in the big room with Sergey Kovalev and his quest to regain a light heavyweight championship.
Yes, this is boxing season in New York and televised on Showtime, HBO, and the success of Top Rank promoted shows on ESPN that will broadcast the Lomachenko fight, a card that is sold out and needs no hype.
Little did we know, before the insurance bill for fighters was resolved, that boxing would be so busy in New York. The promoters and networks put their heads together and resolved a million dollar bond issue that further caused those to believe that the sport was dead in the city where champions have been born and raised to prominence.
So there they were at Barclays Center Saturday night, the best fighters in the 154-pound division. Erislandy Lara defended the WBA title over previously undefeated Terrell Gausha, WBC champion Jermell Charlo got the quick KO over Erickson Lubin with a right uppercut to the chin in the first round.
And the IBF Junior Middleweight Champion Jarrett Hurd, also considered at 154, stopped former champion Austin Trout in the 10th round. The significance of three champions in a competitive division is showcasing the major champions and setting up the challenge that hopefully will unify the titles.
But this is boxing, and getting the one and only unified champion has become the revolving door that is known as boxing politics. Regardless, New York based Lou DiBella, the promoter, is working with the PBC to provide that exposure for boxing fans and it was an afterthought many months ago when boxing was shut down in New York State.
Wilder, the WBC heavyweight champion has been advocating for this unification process. He gets that chance in a return bout at Barclays on November 4th against Bermane Stiverne, an alternative opponent because Luis Ortiz failed a drug test.
Yes, there is always something that has to go wrong in the sport, but Wilder is not one of the flaws. He returns to New York and anticipates this fight being the first step in the unification process.
“I can finally get him out of the way, so I’ll be a free man,” said Wilder about his upcoming fight with Stiverne.”
And for those 154-pound champions, they got a little bit closer to their mission. Hurd was calling out the champions. “I am ready to unify,” he said. “2018 is the year of unification.” Boxing is not dead in New York and the season has just started.
“As good as it gets,” said DiBella. And for the boxing fans in New York, it was delivered.
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