Friday, October 19, 2012
Brooklyn rich in champions
By Dan Rafael
There will be four world titles on the line on Saturday night (Showtime, 8 ET/PT) when the new Barclays Center in
Brooklyn, N.Y., hosts its first boxing show. The title fights will be the first world title bouts to take place in the borough since 1931.
New York fighters dot the card, including welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi -- who is from Brooklyn -- in a defense against Mexico's Pablo Cesar Cano.
Malignaggi is just one of many fighters from talent-rich Brooklyn who went on to win world titles. With a Brooklyn theme this weekend as big-time boxing returns, here's a look at a few of its most notable champions from the past 25 years:
• Mike Tyson: Easily, Brooklyn's most famous champ. He became the youngest heavyweight champ in 1986 and is closely identified by where he grew up -- in the tough Brownsville section.
• Riddick Bowe: Tyson isn't the only former heavyweight champ from Brownsville. Bowe won the undisputed title in 1992 in the first fight of his epic trilogy with Evander Holyfield.
• Zab Judah: After his fights, Judah is often heard telling his interviewers, "Brooklyn in the house." He is the former undisputed welterweight champ and a three-time junior welterweight titlist -- with a mandatory shot on tap for another junior welterweight belt.
• Junior Jones: Jones was in a lot of exciting fights. He won a bantamweight title in 1993. He handed Marco Antonio Barrera his first loss -- and his second loss -- and won a junior featherweight title.
• Mark Breland: Breland won a welterweight gold medal at the 1984 Olympics and is one of the best amateurs in American history. He also twice won welterweight titles in the pros, in 1987 and 1989.
• Michael Moorer: The former heavyweight champ grew up in Pennsylvania and is known for fighting out of Emanuel Steward's Kronk Gym in Detroit, but he was born in Brooklyn. He was the first southpaw heavyweight champ, winning the title in 1994 by upsetting Evander Holyfield.
• Shannon Briggs: Briggs is yet another former heavyweight champ from Brownsville. He claimed the lineal title against George Foreman in 1997 and won an alphabet belt in 2006 against Sergey Liakhovich.