Disclosure: As a fight fan and writer who happens to live a 20-minute walk from the Barclays Center, I am excited that boxing looms large in the grand plan for the new building to be as big as MSG in the United States' arena-sphere.
Golden Boy is contracted to do 12 shows at Barclays a year, from 2012 to 2014. It is a bold growth bid for the California-based company, headed up by Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer. It is bold, in my eyes, because they don't have the staffing on the East Coast that they have in Cali. But Golden Boy COO David Itskowitch told me at Gleason's Gym on Tuesday, at a workout featuring Brooklyners Paul Malignaggi and Danny Jacobs, that his company will be able to pull off the expansion. Malignaggi and Jacobs will fight on Oct. 20 at the Barclays boxing debut.
Itskowitch, who looked surprisingly peppy, considering his wife Kim gave birth to a boy, Austin, on Aug. 30, said that Golden Boy recently put on three shows that ran the same night and were televised on Showtime, Fox and TeleFutura, successfully. "I never sleep," said Itskowitch, who lives in Manhattan. "Before, it was all work. Now, it's the baby and working, a combination."
No, Itskowitch told me, bottom-lining the issue, he doesn't expect any dilution to the Golden Boy product with the addition of East Coast shows to the mix.
I prodded the COO, who has been with Golden Boy for 5-plus years, after working for local promoter Lou DiBella before that, to learn what some ramifications are for fighters taking part in the Oct. 20 premiere.
Junior welter Danny Garcia, the Philly perma-underdog who fights Erik Morales in the main event, would be a fine fit to meet Juan Manuel Marquez, like Morales a Mexican living legend and shoo-in Hall of Famer. If Morales pulls off the unlikely-but-only-a-fool-would-say-unlikely win over Garcia, a third bout between the two would make immense sense. "We'd get a trilogy," Itskowitch said. Also, a Garcia-Lucas Matthysse fight would be "ridiculous," he said, in a good way.
Bensonhurst's Malignaggi, the WBA welter titlist, is looking at a rematch with Ricky Hatton if he beats Pablo Cano in Brooklyn. But that plan is contingent on the comebacking Hatton not getting knocked off the horse. As well as a decision not to return to the less exciting but smoother path as a promoter. Hatton's upcoming bout against Viacheslav Senchenko on Nov. 24 has been deemed by the WBA a welterweight title-shot eliminator, Itskowitch said. It is likely that Malignaggi will either fight Hatton, or face a rematch with the Ukrainian Senchenko in the near future. As always, let us note that boxing is the theater of the unexpected, so while planning, it is always wise to factor in that variables could pop up at any time.
Peter Quillin meets WBO middleweight champ Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam at Barclays, and if the Manhattan quote machine wins the crown, Itskowitch said that a tussle with Sergio Martinez would be alluring. "But we don't know Martinez's plans for a rematch with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.," he cautioned.
Barclays will be able to fit about 16,000 for the first fight night. Will we see a sellout? "I don't know about a sellout, but I expect a very good crowd," Itskowitch said.