By Jason Gonzalez
Brooklyn, NY --- After a six-month drought, boxing finally returned to ‘Gotham City’
Considering that the Barclay Center played host to the last contest in New York, between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz, it’s only fitting that the boxing calendar resume in the place where we last left off.
Since the legalization of mixed martial arts in New York, boxing promoters are now required to provide medical coverage worth at least one million dollars to cover all head injuries. With that being said, boxing enthusiasts can say farewell to local club shows in the ‘Big Apple’. In this scenario, it took the backing of major television network such as Showtime, along with someone with the deep pockets of say a Floyd Mayweather to cover the insurance premium. And 18 million dollars later, all was taken care of.
In the main event, super middleweights Badou Jack and James DeGale fought to a majority draw in their WBC/IBF unification bout. The scorecards read 114-112 for DeGale, which was overruled by scores of 113-113 twice. In the contest both Jack and DeGale traded knockdowns. A crowd of 10,128 witnessed both men hold on to their titles. The general ringside consensus was that Jack slightly edged out his southpaw counterpart from the U.K. by a couple of points. For Jack this was his second consecutive draw, with the other coming against Lucian Bute. It was a fight in which most experts agreed that Jack deserved the nod.
"He was doing a lot of running," Jack said, whose ledger now reads as 20-1-3, (12). "He was throwing a lot of shit at my guard. I thought I won the fight. I finished stronger. His knockdown was a flash knockdown. I won the fight."
Of course DeGale saw it the other way. He felt that he should have gotten the victory.
"It was sensational," said Lou DiBella, the co-promoter of the card. "Those were two men, two real friggin’ men. That’s what it’s supposed to be. DeGale’s balls in the last round is a monument to who he is. I thought Jack was down, and he needed to climb back into the fight, and he did. Lot of close rounds.
Great night for boxing."
It was just that close, had DeGale managed to conclude the evening on his feet, he would have won a unanimous decision. To his credit he achieved early success by dropping Jack in the first.
In the fifth round referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. was accidentally hit in the face with a Jack left hand, while in the process of separating Jack and DeGale. Not to worry, Mercante Jr. was fine. In the eighth round Jack knocked DeGale’s tooth out. By the championship rounds, DeGale’s face was a disaster. He was bleeding from his eye and mouth.
"I had to dig down deep and try to knock him out and finish strong," Jack said. "I definitely finished strong. If it wasn’t for the flash knockdown, it’s a different result. I was never hurt on the knockdown. My feet got tangled a little bit, but I need to watch it again.
“I had him before the knockdown even happened. I knocked his tooth out. He couldn’t keep his mouthpiece in after that. It’s the third time now I’ve had a draw I didn’t agree with. I’m the so-called home fighter and it still happened. Next time I have to knock him out. That’s it,” added Jack.
DeGale wasn’t available for comments, he didn’t attend the post-fight press conference. DeGale was required by the New York athletic commission to go to the hospital to undergo medical observation.
A rematch between both combatants is inevitable. However, it may have to take place at light heavyweight. Jack’s promoter Floyd Mayweather chimed in with his thoughts.
"Badou Jack has got too big for 168 pounds. We had plans after this fight to move up to light heavyweight.”
A draw seemed fair, and was a far cry from a robbery.
In the co-feature bout of the evening Gervonta “Tank” Davis delivered a star making performance, in which he stopped the previously undefeated Jose Pedraza [22-1, (12)] of Puerto Rico, in the 7th round of a spectacular bout. With the victory, Davis captured the IBF super featherweight title [130 pounds], while improving to 17-0, (16).
"I had a lot of experience from the amateur ranks, but I learned how to keep my composure," Davis said. "Floyd told me to stay calm, and I studied Floyd Mayweather videos when he was ’Pretty Boy.’ My uppercut was my best shot, and it was landing all night. It felt really good to fight the way I did. I could take it and dish it out. I was backing up a little bit, and then I went back to the body. Dig, dig, dig."
Puerto Rican Amanda Serrano of Brooklyn defeated Yazmin Rivas by unanimous decision to retain her WBO junior featherweight title in the first nationally televised English-language women’s world title bout in air in the United States in over 9 years.
The scorecards read 99-91, 98-92, 97-93 for Serrano.
"We wanted the knockout, but I was ready for 10 rounds," Serrano said. "People who think I’m just a brawler saw that I’m a great boxer today."