Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
On June 25th Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman and Shawn ‘Showtime’ Porter took center stage at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and took part in a fight that many consider to be a serious contender for Fight of the Year.
Now, one month removed from that epic welterweight showdown, yet another Showtime Championship Boxing fight card at the Barclays Center is drawing serious national attention and excitement from boxing fans worldwide.
Headlining Saturday night’s festivities, which kick off live on Showtime beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT in Brooklyn, will be Los Angeles-based WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (32-0-1), against burgeoning Irish superstar Carl Frampton (22-0).
Frampton is also the current WBA super-bantamweight title holder and is fighting at 126 pounds for the first time professionally. This will be Santa Cruz’s second title defense and it will only be Frampton’s second fight in the United States.
“I can’t let him come over to the U.S. and get this win,” Santa Cruz told reporters at a media workout in Los Angeles last Tuesday. “We’re going to go out there and see if he can bring the best out of me. I’m going to be one-hundred percent ready.”
“He’s a very skilled fighter,” Santa Cruz said of Frampton. “He has great power and I think it’s going to be an exciting fight. These are the kind of guys I want to fight. It gives me even more motivation to get in the gym and train hard.”
Before Santa Cruz and Frampton square off, another popular Los Angeles-based fighter and former champion, the undefeated Mikey Garcia (33-0), will jump back into the ring for the first time in two-and-a-half years for a highly-anticipated bout with Elio Rojas (24-2).
“I don’t believe there will be ring rust because I was never really outside of the ring,” Garcia told reporters regarding his layoff. “I’ve been in the gym the whole time, sparring and training. I would spar 10 or 12 rounds, just to do it. Not because I had a fight, but just to keep me active. I know it seems like a long time, but I don’t really see it. I feel like I was gone six months.”
Fighting in advance of the main card on Showtime Extreme will be two-time world champion Paulie Malignaggi (35-7) taking on fellow Brooklynite Gabriel Bracero (24-2).
Malignaggi, interestingly enough, will suit up for his bout with Bracero and then perform his usual duties as a boxing analyst for Showtime for the main card… assuming he emerges in good health from his bout.
“If things go a little bit, um, not good, then they understand that maybe I won’t work,” Malignaggi told Newsday’s Neil Best. “I’ll be out.”
Opening up the card on Showtime Extreme will be a lightweight bout between Ivan Redkach and Tevin Farmer, which will begin on the network at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for any of his other three teams.