Brooklyn, NY – Danny Garcia remained unbeaten and kept his WBC and WBA super lightweight titles with a fourth-round knockout of Erik Morales Saturday night at the new Barclays Center.
Garcia (25-0, 16 KOs) stunned Morales (52-9, 36 KOs) with a right to the face in the waning seconds of the third round. In the following round, Morales let his guard down for a brief moment, and the Philadelphia native connected with a vicious left hook to the face.
Morales spun through the ropes and his back rested on the bottom rope. Referee Benji Esteves counted out the five-time world champion at the 1:23 mark.
After the fight, the 36-year-old Morales announced he will no longer fight in the United States, where all of his nine career losses have taken place. The Mexican could have a farewell fight in Tijuana.
Morales fought despite reportedly failing a random drug test given earlier this month by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. He reportedly tested positive for clenbuterol, a substance which can assist an athlete in rapid weight loss while improving muscle size.
Morales weighed over the 140-pound limit when he met Garcia in March. Due to being overweight, Morales was stripped of his title before the fight began, and then Garcia captured the vacant belt in a 12-round unanimous decision. Garcia followed that up with a July 14 win over Amir Khan via fourth-round TKO.
"I noticed from the first fight I showed him too much respect," Garcia said during a post-fight in-ring interview. "I thought it was going to go 12 rounds because he's a warrior, he knows how to take a good punch."
In the fight prior to the main event, Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi overcame a late knockdown and scored a split decision triumph over Pablo Cesar Cano.
Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs), a Brooklyn native, was to make the first defense of his belt, but it was deemed a non-title fight because Cano failed to make weight. Malignaggi won 114-113 on two scorecards, but lost 118-109 on the other. He was sent to the canvas following a vicious right cross to the face in the final few seconds of the 11th round.
Judging from the bruises around Cano's (25-2-1, 19 KOs) left eye, it's amazing he was able to not only finish the fight, but nearly win it. He suffered a cut over his left eye on a punch in the second round.
Also on the undercard, Brooklyn native Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin knocked down Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam six times on the way to a 12-round unanimous decision to grab the WBO middleweight title by 115-107 scores from all three judges.
Quillin (28-0, 20 KOs) actually fell behind early in the fight, but scored a pair of knockdowns in the fourth, sixth and 12th rounds to take the belt away from N'Jikam (27-1, 17 KOs).
Quillin nearly knocked his opponent through the ropes in the fourth round and connected with a left hook and left uppercut for the two knockdowns in the sixth. In the final minute of the fight, N'Jikam hit the canvas following a short left hand to the face and another left hook.
Devon Alexander took the IBF welterweight title away from Randall Bailey with a 12-round unanimous decision. Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs), who also held IBF/WBC titles at 140 pounds, won by scores of 117-109, 116-110, and 115-111.
Alexander landed a sharp right that caught Bailey near the right eye in the 10th round, but by that time, the St. Louis native was well ahead on the scorecards.
Bailey (43-8, 37 KOs) was making the first defense of his belt.
One of the loudest cheers of the night went to Brooklyn native and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, who received a standing ovation during the N'Jikam-Quillin bout.