Primetime boxing was back in New York City on Saturday, as NBC’s telecast of Premier Boxing Champions aired from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The two main events of the night featured junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia defeating Lamont Peterson and Peter Quillin defeating Andy Lee.
Garcia was the aggressor in the first half of the bout, pursuing Peterson, who tried frustrating Garcia early by staying away and avoiding many of his punches. Garcia was still able to connect with solid combinations and right hands, however, as Peterson slowly began trying to work his jab into the contest.
The momentum swung to Peterson in the final six rounds of the fight, as he slowly began to come forward rather than retreat. Landing solid shots to the body, Peterson slowed Garcia down and took control, backing Garcia into the ropes and landing a number of power shots. With the fight seemingly on the line, both fighters gave it their all in a thrilling 12th round finish that brought the Brooklyn crowd of 12,300 to its feet.
Though the final scorecards were close, many of the fans in attendance believed Peterson deserved to win. With scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 115-113, Garcia hung on, but was open for a rematch when asked in the post-fight interview.
“Yeah, we could do it again,” Garcia said. “We could do it again at 147.”
Garcia, who is ranked as one of the top 140-pound fighters in the world, will likely move to 147 pounds, the welterweight division, after fighting Peterson at a catchweight of 143 pounds Saturday night. The move up in weight will give the Philadelphia native a slew of great opponents, including Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
In the other main event of the evening, Brooklyn Native Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin fought Irish middleweight belt holder Andy Lee to a draw in a back and forth battle. The fight, originally planned to be for Lee’s WBO middleweight title, ended up being a non-title fight due to Quillin failing to make the weight limit of 160 pounds.
Knocking down Lee twice in the fight, Quillin seemed to have done enough to earn the win. ESPN’s Dan Rafael, for example, scored the bout 116-110, but the judges thought otherwise with scores of 113-112 for Lee, 113-112 for Quillin, and an even score of 113-113.
The fights marked the second NBC primetime edition of Premier Boxing Champions, boxing adviser Al Haymon’s concerted effort to put boxing back in the spotlight. Haymon has secured deals to air fights on NBC, CBS and ESPN/ABC and several other cable outlets.
For the first time ever, broadcasting greats Al Michaels, Marv Albert and Bob Costas worked the same event together. Costas narrated a video that documented boxing’s prevalent history in New York City, highlighting legends of the ring such as Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali.
Saturday’s card comes at a busy time for boxing, as the entire sports world anticipates the showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather on May 2, expected to be the most lucrative fight in the sport’s history. However, before their epic showdown, boxing returns to Madison Square Garden on April 25 when heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko fights in the United States for the first time since 2008 against undefeated U.S challenger Bryant Jennings.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 14 print edition. Email Michael Thompson at [email protected]