By Marc Livitz: The oft used Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York has already played host to a number of boxing events in its short history. In terms of local significance and the potential for a good, old fashioned turf war, no previously held events in the arena can hold itself up to the upcoming “Bensonhurst versus Brownsville” showdown between Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi and Zab “Super” Judah. The highly anticipated bout is scheduled for Saturday, December 7 and in addition to the sure fireworks surrounding the main event, the evening’s undercard should get some highly warranted anticipation as well. Namely, the IBF title showdown between Devon Alexander “The Great” (25-1, 14 KO’s) and undefeated Shawn “Showtime” Porter (22-0-1, 14 KO’s) as well as the clash for the vacant WBA light middleweight title which will match the hard-charging Erislandy Lara (18-1-2, 12 KO’s) and former champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout (26-1, 14 KO’s).
Devon Alexander holds an impressive record as a professional fighter. The St. Louis, Missouri combatant’s lone loss came in January of 2011, when multiple head clashes with current welterweight champion Timothy Bradley caused a halt to the contest in the tenth round. Prior to and since that time, Alexander has notable wins over such names as Junior Witter, Andriy Kotelnik, Lucas Matthysse and Marcos Maidana. His upcoming matchup with Akron, Ohio boxer Porter will certainly present a test.
Austin “No Doubt” Trout is certainly no stranger to high profile contests and none may have been bigger in terms of crowd presence than his bout last April with Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The championship showdown brought nearly 40,000 spectators to the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Although the Las Cruces, New Mexico fighter found himself vastly outnumbered in the fan category by Old Mexico supporters, Trout still put on a good show.
He tasted not only the first defeat of his twenty seven bout career, but also his first trip to the canvas. A straight right delivered by Canelo Alvarez sent Trout’s knees into a wobble and a subsequent buckle just inside the seventh round. Despite the knockdown, Austin fought valiantly throughout the evening and even the most ardent Alvarez fan could not heartedly agree with the questionable scorecards. Many of those in press row (this writer included) saw either a draw or a narrow win for either man, but certainly not a laughable 118-109 or even a 116-111 tally submitted by two of the respective judges.
His Cuban opponent‘s sole defeat was to former middleweight champion Paul Williams in a bout that many used to cry a very loud foul.
This past June, a back and forth slugfest with Mexican Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo was one to remember. Erislandy Lara survived two knockdowns in the contest and eventually caused Angulo to surprisingly turn his back and quit. No one could blame “El Perro”. His left eye orbit suddenly appeared grotesquely disfigured and fortunately for him, there was no permanent damage.
The four bout card from Brooklyn will be televised on the Showtime network on December 7 (8PM ET/5PM PT).
Devon Alexander, Shawn Porter, Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara were among those who participated in an international media conference call this afternoon. Selected highlights are listed below.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer: “We’re anticipating the largest crowd yet at the Barclays Center. The “Battle for Brooklyn” as it’s called has had a great response from the public. Lara and Austin Trout are among the top fighters in the 154 pound weight class. This division is loaded with a lot of names.”
Opening Statements, Erislandy Lara: “I’m working very hard in the gym and everything is going great. I’m just waiting for the day of the fight and I’m ready to move forward.”
Opening Statements, Austin Trout: “I’m happy to be right back into the position to fight the best again. Someone like Erislandy Lara is a great fighter and so this is an opportunity to fight the best and beat the best.”
Austin Trout on fight strategy and Lara: “I won’t say just how I’ll win, but he is very sharp and technical. He has a lot of fights as an amateur. His footwork, speed and precision are great, but he lacks the heart and will. We’re going to expose that with our determination.”
Erislandy Lara’s assessment of Trout: “Austin Trout is an OK fighter, but there’s nothing special about him. I’ll show him in the ring just who has heart. I think his best is behind him and he’s on his way out.”
Richard Schaefer on future matchups at Super Welterweight: “There’s Carlos Molina as well as Canelo Alvarez. Maybe Floyd (Mayweather), but I don’t see him fighting at 154 unless it’s an undisputed type of title matchup. I can definitely see a potential fight down the road with Canelo.”
Trout on a Rematch with Canelo Alvarez: “I’m not worried about Canelo. I’m focused on Lara. My focus is on beating him.”
Lara on his own Future: “I’m not thinking beyond this fight. First, I’ll beast Austin Trout and that will open up more doors. I’m just thinking about this fight and busting up Austin Trout’s mouth.”
“No Doubt” Trout on returning to the ring: “I’m super excited. I really wanted to fight sooner than this. I had to wait for December, though. All the anxiety has built up and so I’m going to take it out on this guy. Someone has to do it. I’m just glad to be able to get right back in it.”
On his bout with Canelo: “He fought the fight of his life against me. I’d give myself a “7” or “8”. He made us both look bad against Floyd (Mayweather on September 14). I could have done a better job. It’s all motivation to me. It’s not always the best fighting the best. I’ll take all comers. The golden rule states that the person who makes the gold is the one who makes the rules.”
His view on Lara’s bout with Alfredo Angulo: “He had to fight Angulo hard. He’s a fighter, so he fought some but he also ran a lot. Have you ever seen me run in a fight? I box, but I don’t run. That war rocked him and he didn’t want any part of it. He just knew that he had to survive. He’s the Usain Bolt of boxing. Whether I like him or I don’t, it doesn’t mean that I won’t try to take his head off.”
Erislandy labeling Trout a “runner” and his replies: “He’s always been a runner in his fights. It’s not the same as standing far away and fighting. I was dropped in my fight with (Alfredo) Angulo, but that was a different fighter. He caught me with perfect punches. I got up, finished the fight and I won.”
Trout on the benefits of a win over Lara: “Beating him would get me up to the top in the 154 pound division. I had a setback in April, but my job is to take care of this cat and get back up to the pound for pound rankings.”
Erislandy Lara’s fight plan: “I’ll be calm and do my job. I’m confident that doing my job will bring me the victory.”
Opening Statements, Shawn Porter: “Training camp has been going good. When I’m not studying Devon, I’m in the gym. I’ve been doing all the things that a professional athlete should. I’m staying busy and on top of my game.”
Opening Statements, IBF Welterweight Champion Devon Alexander: “This is an awesome fight. We know he’ll be ready, but it won’t be enough. Camp has been good and I’m in tremendous shape. I’m training to go twelve hard rounds. If I don’t have to, then that’s great, too. It doesn’t matter because no one is beating me.”
Alexander on Canceled Fights: “Of course I want the big names so I can get the big wins. The bouts with Amir Khan and Kell Brook both fell through. If they don’t want to get in the ring with me, then what can I do? Shawn Porter will be the next victim. “
“I’m an old school fighter and I’ll fight anyone. There were plenty of rumors out there, so I can’t call on any of them why the (Amir) Khan fight didn’t happen. I think they saw me as a big risk and too much for him. I was set to fight him in December, but he pulled out.”
On Shawn Porter: “I’ve seen him fight. I knew him as an amateur and we fought once before at the Ohio State Fair. I was about nine years old, but I beat him then and it will happen again on December 7. I’ll be ready for whatever he brings. My coach is a master strategist.”
Shawn Porter’s Reply: “I remember going three one-minute rounds and just throwing pillows at each other. We’ll see on December 7 what happens.”
On the chance to fight Alexander: “I saw that Amir Khan pulled out and I knew that it had to be me next. There was a lot of excitement for me. Mentally, physically and spiritually - I’ll be ready for whatever he brings.”
Experience gained sparring with Manny Pacquiao: “I trained with Manny for his fights with Miguel Cotto and then again for Shane Mosley. I got some experience but it taught me a lot about southpaws with fast feet. Manny is arguably one of the best of our time and I went toe-to-toe with him and I backed him up. I’m excited and I will be ready for it.”
Devon “The Great” on fighting style: “I’m getting better with every fight. When I moved up to 147, I got better. There’s no one style for me. This will be one of my signature fights. Shawn Porter is supposed to come to fight. It won’t be enough. It doesn’t matter about his time with Pacquiao. I’m not a sparring partner. “
On His Hand Injury: “My hand is good and well rested. I did lots of therapy and it feels fine. My left hand will be thrown like a rocket on December 7.”
Shawn Porter: “He’s a world champion. He says my skills are limited and so that gives me confidence that he doesn’t know who he’s up against. It makes me think that I’ll train even harder. He’s a good boxer and I won’t try to box him early in the fight. I have to match his quickness and speed. I know that I’m more powerful.”
Devon’s Answer: “A lot of fighters said that. They said that I had no power. You saw what happened to them. You’ll see. He has a game plan but it’s not the right one. “
“I have matured as a fighter. The things that I didn’t do earlier are things that I’m doing now. I’m at the peak of my career and I’m fully focused. When I am prepared, I am unbeatable.”
Porter’s Excitement to Fight for a World Title: “This is a great opportunity. This is all I’ve wanted and what I’ve worked for. I can’t wait to get in the ring and do what I do. My goal is to become a champion. The ultimate goal is about to be accomplished. I’ll do whatever it takes to win. I could knock him down or take it the full twelve rounds. I’m hell bent on winning to think of anything else.”