By Jason Pribila, ringside at Barclays Center: The PBC banner hung above the ring in their New York Home, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Saturday Night for a loaded fight card headlined by Santa Cruz – Frampton. Prior to the main card, the matchmakers put together an all-Brooklyn battle between favorite son Paulie Malignaggi and Gabriel Bracero.
This match-up would serve to not only whet the appetite of the fans who could not wait until 9pm EST to satisfy their boxing fix, but also for the local fight fans who had cheering interest. It was refreshing to hear a passionate fan base chanting for their favorite fighters long before the Main Event.
The bout also served as an opportunity for fight fans to see Malignaggi in the ring again. In December of 2013 he headlined and dominated fellow Brooklynite Zab Judah. After suffering back to back losses to Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia it seemed as if Malignaggi would become a full time boxing announcer.
Malignaggi continued on, and two fights later he was again in the ring defending his borough’s bragging rights.
For those who fear Malignaggi may stick around one fight too long, it was somewhat comforting that he was in the ring against Gabriel Bracero, a fighter with only 5 knockouts on his resume.
Then again, no one thought Arturo Gatti was at risk against Alfonso Gomez on the night “Thunder” said “hasta la vista”.
While the crowd too k turns rooting for their favorite fighter, the action inside the ring was repetitious.
Brocero followed Malignaggi around the ring, never effectively cutting off the ring. Malignaggi is no longer as elusive as he once was, but by using his jab, he was able to continually force Bracero to restart his attach.
Bracero would have moments when Malignaggi was a step slow, but when he did land it was only one punch at a time.
Both fighters seemed to tire down the stretch, and while Bracero landed some head shots, it was Malignaggi’s ring generalship that was preferred by the judges.
When the final bell rang, Malignaggi gave a big exhale, appearing unsure if he had done enough to get his arm raised.
The DJ did not do him any favors, as the arena speakers shouted out “21 Pilot” lyrics, “I wish I could turn back time, to the good ole days.”
While the performance did not exactly turn back time, the judges favored him unanimously by scores of: 96-94 and 98-92 twice.
The televised opener set the bar high as Philadelphia lightweight Tevin Farmer (22-4-1, 5 KO) enjoyed a career-best win by dominating Ivan Redkach (19-2-1, 15 KO) on the scorecards over ten high paced rounds.
The match-up was a classic cross-roads bout as Redkach entered the ring on a 1-1-1 skid against a fighter in Farmer who has now not lost any of his previous 15 decisions.
From the opening bell it was easy to see that this battle would be decided by whether or not Redkach’s pressure and size advantage would be too much for Farmer’s hand speed and elusiveness.
While neither fighter was able to gain a clear advantage on the scorecards early, it was clear that Farmer was not wilting under Redkach’s pressure. Instead, Farmer started to win the inside exchanges that seemed to simultaneously drain Redkach while energizing Farmer and his fans who traveled North on i-95 to cheer him on.
Farmer dominated round six and never looked back. Other than a point deduction for a borderline low blow, Farmer swept the second half of the fight. Redkach gave the point deduction back when he attempted to hit Farmer with a head-butt.
While it may have been safe to assume that he was leading comfortably, it was Farmer who took the initiative and clearly out-boxed Redkach in the middle of the ring.
The judges at ringside all scored for Farmer by a wide margin: 99-89 and 98-90 twice.
Following the fight Farmer made it clear that despite his success at lightweight he did not plan on campaigning at 135 lbs. for long.
“I want a world title,” Farmer declared. “I’m going back to 130-pounds and I feel like I’m ready for a title shot. If I need to fight an eliminator, I will. I won’t back down from any challenge.”
Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He could be reached for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. And followed on Twitter.com @PribsBoxing.