In their last appearances in Brooklyn, unified junior welterweight Danny Garcia and light welterweight Lamont Peterson disappointed fans by beating underwhelming opponents.
On Saturday night, Peterson and Garcia finally had their anticipated fight and did not disappoint.
Garcia beat Peterson by majority decision night at the Barclays Center in a non-title fight.
Garcia (30-0) remained unbeaten by getting scores of 115-113 from Kevin Morgan and Steve Weisfeld. Don Ackerman ruled the fight was a draw with a 114-114 score.
"That was a war," Garcia said. "That's what fans want to see. He stuck to his game plan and moved a lot. He did a good job and I did a good job."
Garcia won eight rounds on Morgan's scorecard and seven on Weisfeld's. Ackerman had Garcia winning six of the first seven rounds before awarding the final five rounds to Peterson.
"I don't know what that judge was thinking when he saw a draw," said Angel Garcia, the fighter's trainer and father.
In their last appearances in the building on Aug. 9, Garcia easily had a second-round knockout over Rod Salka while Peterson (33-3-1) went 10 rounds with Edgar Santana before the fight was stopped. Both sides had expressed the hope that they would fight each other sometime last year or this year.
That fight was announced on Jan. 14 as part of NBC's prime-time boxing series, but about a month ago, Garcia said that he did not have sufficient time to make the mandatory 140-pound weight. That resulted in Garcia's fourth fight in this building also being his second straight non-title fight since winning majority decision over Mauricio Herrera in Puerto Rico in March 2014.
Even if there was not a title on the line, Garcia had the backing of most of the crowd, who watched him come on strong with right hands and combinations in the early rounds.
In the fourth round, he smirked at Peterson as if saying, "Come on hit me." By the middle rounds, Garcia resumed hitting Peterson with a series of hard shots while the crowd chanted his name.
Peterson finally showed some aggressiveness in the eighth that forced Garcia near the ropes. In the ninth, the action took place in the middle of the ring and Garcia landed a hard left uppercut early on. At one point, Peterson made a motion of a windup, withstood a few hard rights before finishing the ninth aggressively.
In the 10th, Peterson danced around the ring and Garcia mockingly took a few steps but was still unable to get any traction with his punches. In the 11th, Garcia appeared to push Peterson to the canvas with his right glove and then absorbed several body shots. By the end of the round both fighters were wildly running around the edge of the ring.
"My game plan all along, (was) slow it down make him miss, see where I can take my chances and capitalize," Peterson said.
The fight ended with both fighters still swinging wildly drawing "oohs and aahs" from the crowd. Garcia used a series of uppercuts but Peterson countered with some of his own. In the final minute, both continued swinging wildly and the fight ended with the fans giving the fighters a standing ovation from the largest boxing crowd in the 2 1/2-year history of the building.
Both sides said they wouldn't mind a rematch but Peterson also knew how difficult getting this fight was.
"I'll fight him again if that's what he wants," Peterson said. "It was hard enough getting him in the ring the first time but I don't expect it. But I'll gladly fight him again."
In the other televised non-title fight, middleweight Peter Quillin (31-0-1) returned to the ring for the first time in nearly a year and fought Ireland's Andy Lee (34-2-1) to a draw. It was a non-title fight because Quillin failed to meet the 160-pound weight limit at Friday's weigh-in
Judge Guido Cavalleri awarded the fight to Lee with a 113-112 score, judge Eric Marlinski gave it to Quillin by the same score and judge Glenn Feldman's 113-113 ruling led to the draw.
"There's a reason why judges are judges," Quillin said. "They see it their way. There's a first time for everything and I'm thankful that despite getting dropped I got back up." Quillin took nearly a year off due to the death of his uncle and birth of his child. In his return, he started strong, knocking Lee to the canvas in the first with a hard right hook and dropping him in the third round with a hard left hand shot across the back of his head.
"It was a tough fight I got dropped at the beginning," Lee said. "I would definitely fight him again, hopefully in Ireland. He has an Irish last name. Maybe he can find ancestors there. It was a great fight."
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