[Update: Danny Garcia defeats Paulie Malignaggi in the ninth round with a TKO]
BROOKLYN - The Premier Boxing Champions main event on ESPN features a showdown between two East Coast boxers when Danny Garcia (30-0) of Philadelphia takes on veteran Paulie Malignaggi (33-6) of Brooklyn on Saturday night at Barclays Center in a non-title welterweight bout. The fight offers Garcia an opportunity to make a name for himself at 147 pounds, while Malignaggi can re-establish himself as a force in the division after two losses in his last three fights with an upset win.
Garcia is coming off a somewhat controversial win in April over Lamont Peterson, who some believe deserved the decision victory. Garcia also has wins over Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse and two wins over Erik Morales. The 27-year-old has a powerful left hook and is a growing force in the division.
Malignaggi is considered a solid boxer, who is in need of a marquee victory after losses to two major names: Shawn Porter and Adrien Broner. The loss to Broner in June 2013 came in a split decision, but Malignaggi followed the loss with a victory over fellow Brooklyn star Zab Judah.
Before Garcia and Malignaggi tangle in the main event, middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs (30-1) of Brooklyn defeated Sergio Mora (28-4-2) of Los Angeles in a second-round technical knockout. In one of the best rounds of the year, both Jacobs and Mora scored knockdowns in the first round. In the second round, Mora was forced down by Jacobs, and Mora could no longer continue because of either an ankle or knee injury.
Mora claimed the fight should have been ruled a no contest. On replays, Jacobs didn't appear to connect with a right hand when he surged at Mora, who was against the ropes.
"I want a rematch," said Mora after the fight.
Jacobs immediately replied that there will be no rematch.
Here is a round-by-round look at the fight that is scheduled for 12 rounds between Garcia and Malignaggi. Arthur Mercante Jr. is the referee.
Opening minute was both boxers feeling each other out. Garcia landed a good job, and a good right hand that connected well on PM in the second minute. Garcia got off a good left power punch at the bell.
A very active opening 15 seconds, with both boxers throwing wild punches. PM showed some movement by weaving in and out, but not really landing a punch of consequence. In the second minute, Garcia showed a bit more aggression. PM got in a good body blow, but not much after that. Garcia barely won this round.
Garcia 10-9 (Garcia 20-18)
Garcia landed a decent left as PM showed some vulnerability. In the second minute, Garcia kept the pressure on PM, with PM bleeding from the right eye. PM staying in this fight, but so far it's not an exciting bout. Garcia winning but didn't land a signature power punch in this round.
Garcia 10-9 (Garcia 30-27)
The first two minutes were once again uneventful. Garcia provided a decent punch that caught PM off guard, but it didn't seem to hurt the Brooklyn boxer. In the final seconds, there was a decent exchange between the two fighters, but neither fighter was bothered. Garcia is getting by, simply because PM has not thrown many serious punches.
Garcia 10-9 (Garcia 40-36)
PM tied up Garcia, and the ref has warned Garcia about pulling down PM. There were no power punches of consequence in this round, as well. PM barely wins this round, but it was extremely close.
Malignaggi 10-9 (Garcia 49-46)
PM went down in the first minute, but it was not scored a knockdown. PM doing a good job of dodging punches, but he has failed to hurt Garcia. There was a flurry from Garcia at about the 15-second mark, though there was no chance of putting down PM.
Garcia 10-9 (Garcia 59-54)
Some action in the opening minute, with both boxers landing a solid punch at different points. Garcia was again just a bit more aggressive. PM has had some decent jabs, but they have accumulated. Garcia had a good left and then a bit of flurry near the bell. There was a fight in the crowd earlier, that was more exciting than this fight.
Garcia 10-9 (Garcia 69-63)
A much better round. After PM provided some pressure in the early moments, Garcia responded with a couple of good punches later in the opening minute. Garcia provided an excellent body shot, and then applied some offense with some strong rights. PM had a good right, but Garcia showed us something with a lot of good combinations.
Garcia 10-9 (Garcia 79-72)
Lots of good rights from Garcia, and PM stumbled in the final minute. Mercante decided to step in and call it a fight as Garcia began to punish PM with overhand rights and combos in the last 50 seconds of the round. Probably the right decision, as PM showed little effort to throw punches and was bleeding heavily. PM was hurt, and there was simply too much blood under the right eye. Mercante made sure to not allow PM to take more punishment.
After the fight, Garcia took Malignaggi around the ring and lifted his arm to receive cheers from the Brooklyn crowd in a classy move. It seems likely that this was Malignaggi's last fight.
Garcia wins in a TKO. Garcia was clearly the aggressor, while Malignaggi provided few power punches for the entire fight.
IB Times Scorecard
Garcia entered the ninth round leading, 79-72
Bobby Ilich contributed to this report.